Mark Larkham's retirement from full-time V8 Supercar competition at the end of last year opened the door for another driver to take over the lead driver role at Larkham Motor Sport, and Jason Bargwanna has inherited more than the title from his former team-mate.
Since joining Orrcon Racing at the start of 2003, Bargwanna has slotted comfortably into the line-up, and will this year carry the role as team leader in the #10 Ford BA Falcon previously campaigned by Larkham.
After carrying the number for his entire V8 career, the team owner officially handed over the well known #10 plate to Bargwanna at the unveiling of the livery to be driven by Bargwanna and new 2004 team-mate, reigning Konica champion Mark Winterbottom.
Entering his seventh year of full-time V8 Supercar competition, 31-year old Bargwanna is excited, not just about the year ahead, but also the long-term future of Larkham Motor Sport and Orrcon Racing.
"When I joined the team last year, it was a very exciting time expanding to two cars and it really hasn't slowed down from there," commented the former Bathurst champion, "The team built its first BA during last season, and has now built a second one, which should prove to be great as we can now streamline the testing and development of two identical cars. And, with Mark [Winterbottom] joining the team this year, I think it puts us in good stead for the next few years in the championship."
Larkham speaks in a similar note about his aim of developing the team as a strong force for many years to come.
"While it is a little sad to see the #10 go on to another driver, I am really pleased to for it to be 'Bargs' who will have it adorn his car," he said, "I think he will play a big role in the way Larkham Motor Sport intends to develop, and will be a great lead driver for the team."
Winterbottom comes into the big league after a stellar rookie year in the Konica Championship which netted him the title in his first year of V8 competition. Although there may be high expectations, the 22-year old is being realistic about his chances.
"There is no doubt that the V8 Championship is one of the toughest in the world, but I am glad to be a part of it," he said, "Last year, I had a great year, but this year will be a completely different ball game. I have no doubt it is going to be tough out there, but it is just another challenge in my motorsport career and I want to do the best I can every time I race."
The Orrcon team will once again carry a striking new livery on its pair of BA Falcons, as the Larkham Motor Sport operation receives official factory backing from the Ford Motor Company, along with continued support from Decorug.
The team will test for the first time in 2004 at Queensland Raceway tomorrow.