Nick McBride is starting to make his presence felt in the Dunlop Series after scoring his career best finish at Winton Motor Raceway over the weekend.
The Victorian, driving for Tony D’Alberto Racing in the Dunlop development series, is in his rookie year of V8 Supercars after spending the past few seasons competing in international open-wheel racing.
After making steady progress in the opening rounds of the competitive category, Winton was a breakout meeting for McBride, who finished with two top 10 results and taking eighth overall – his best results in his short stint in the class.
It was also McBride’s highest haul of points from a race weekend this year and elevated him into 16th place in the series chase. Click here for full Championship points.
“The last two rounds have turned around for us,” McBride said.
“I qualified eighth at the last round at Queensland Raceway, but didn’t really convert that into a result.
“At Winton, I had much cleaner racing and was able to pull out some good finishes.”
After qualifying on the fourth row in the TDR Ford Falcon FG, McBride picked up two positions to finish a terrific sixth in the first race.
The reverse top 10 saw McBride make a slow start, but he fought hard with the established stars, eventually taking 11th.
Combined points saw McBride start from 11th on the grid in the final race – after climbing to eighth, he is now looking firmly at building on his speed at the next round of the series, to be held at the famed Mount Panorama circuit at Bathurst, NSW in October.
“I’m still coming to grips with the V8,” McBride said. “I’ve fluffed pretty much every start I’ve had, but our pace has been getting better, so to run in the top 10 is good.”
The weekend was a great one for the team, with main series driver Tony D’Alberto qualifying on the front row for his first time in V8 Supercars and claiming fourth position in Race 26, also a career high.
“Tony has been helping me a lot, and he had a really strong race at Winton, so to have that help has been invaluable," McBride said. "These cars are pretty unique and it has taken a while to really get on top of it.
“The next race is at Bathurst, and I did the Formula 3 round at the start of the year. It was flat out across the top of the mountain there – I’d imagine it won’t be quite the same in a V8, but I’m really looking forward to it.”
Team owner Al D’Alberto praised McBride for his showing at the Winton 360.
“We were very pleased with his performance,” D’Alberto said.
“He qualified well and raced really well. For his first race attempt at Winton, he did very well. He has made steady progress and he’s showing some really good signs.
“It’s easy to forget that he’s still very new to V8 Supercars racing. It’s all looking good for the next round at Bathurst.”