Pepsi Max Crew FPR drivers Mark Winterbottom and Will Davison both chalk up milestones at this weekend’s Winton 360, ‘Frosty’ celebrating 300 starts and Davison 250.
Winterbottom has been the top points scorer at the last two events, despite not scoring a win, and has managed to climb from as low as 21st in the Championship after the first event, the Clipsal 500.
Winterbottom now runs fourth, 31 points behind Davison in the hunt for the Championship. Red Bull Racing Australia's Jamie Whincup leads.
Davison, who finished second in the Championship in 2010, can see the Championship in sight as he heads into this weekend and then the PIRTEK Enduro Cup.
“I’ve got a bit of a sniff of a realistic championship challenge so I’m feeling like we are in with a good shot,” Davison said.
“There won’t be a runaway winner so knowing that we can win on our day gives me confidence along with our recent form.
“We’ve done some big mileage with the new car at Winton but I am expecting a tough weekend as it is a tricky track to get right.
“This weekend is a fresh sheet of paper so we hope everything learnt in testing translates and that we can capitalise ahead of the enduros. If we head there well within striking distance it is game on.”
Winterbottom is yet to clinch a win at the team’s test track, while Davison recorded one in 2008.
“Every milestone is certainly worth celebrating and 300 races is a big one and means I’ve been in the sport for a while,” Winterbottom said.
“I’ve always had a fast car there but results have never fallen our way, though it would be perfect for that to change on such a milestone weekend.
“There is a lot of pride involved in winning on your home track and if we can do that it will be the perfect lead into the Endurance Cup.”
Earlier, he spoke to AAP about the challenge of mastering Winton Raceway.
"Winton is a bit of a dangerous round because it is so hard to get right. You can go there and it's massively hooked-up and fast, and you can go there other times and scratch your head. You don't know till Friday when you roll out, put your tyres on and have your first taste of it."
Also pushing for his first win – in the series – is The Bottle-O FPR’s David Reynolds.
Having scored two ARMOR ALL Pole Position in Darwin, Reynolds has shown form in 2013 but is yet to convert that to a victory in a V8 Supercar.
“We’ve had pretty good pace over the last few events and I think we are really starting to understand our new mechanical package much better,” Reynolds said.
“The tyre issues we had last time out hindered our progress but we weren’t the only ones. Winton is as close as I get to a home race as the track is so close to Albury, so it is nice to catch up with family and get some local support.
“I have done countless laps there and understand the track extremely well but have always had mixed results so will be looking to change that this weekend.”
Fourth FPR stablemate, Team JELD-WEN’s Alex Davison, was one of a number of drivers who suffered tyre failures at the last event at Queensland Raceway.
Davison had been hopeful of scoring a positive result – but now turns his sights to the Winton 360.
“We are really looking forward to racing at our test track this weekend,” he said.
“We’ve been pulling some form together of late and our qualifying pace has really improved and generally when that happens it makes the races much easier.
“We were a bit unlucky at Queensland Raceway in the final race with a puncture when we were on for a top-five or even a podium. There is some good momentum going and we are now running regularly near the front so we are looking good.”
The Winton 360 begins tomorrow at the Victorian circuit; tickets are still available.