Mark Winterbottom took everyone in the Supercars world by surprise last year when he crossed the brand divide.
Having only ever raced a Ford Supercar, including in the Dunlop Super2 Series, the man known as ‘Frosty’ traded Tickford Racing for a revamped Team 18.
Backed by IRWIN, their first campaign together produced mixed results: 13th in the championship by the end of year.
There were flashes of brilliance though, none more so than his ARMOR ALL Pole Position at Symmons Plains.
Winterbottom and team owner Charlie Schwerkolt hope to now make significant inroads for year two, at a time when the Mount Waverley team doubles in size to accommodate recruit Scott Pye.
Winterbottom first gained Ford support in 2001 when he won its Kart Stars program and progressed to Formula Ford, in the Victorian State series initially.
After finishing runner-up in the national series in 2002 he graduated to Supercars, winning the Super2 Series in a Stone Brothers Racing AU Falcon as a rookie.
In a 2004 move up to the main game with Larkham Motor Sport, Winterbottom impressed despite modest surroundings, joining the factory Ford team after two seasons and remaining a frontrunner ever since.
Aged 26 when he joined what was then known as Ford Performance Racing, he became a Blue Oval hero, taking the fight to Holden stars year after year.
Winterbottom’s first major accolade came in 2013, when he teamed up with Steven Richards to conquer the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
Two years later, he would outlast challenges from rising teammate Chaz Mostert and arch-rival Craig Lowndes to become a series champion.
Since that title, results have somewhat dried up for Winterbottom, with his last victory coming at Pukekohe in 2016 – setting the stage for a determined 2020 campaign.
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