Prodrive racer Cameron Waters arrived in Supercars as best prepared as any rookie in the modern era.
After four seasons in the Dunlop Series including the 2015 title, two Pirtek Enduro Cup campaigns, two previous Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 wildcard entries and three main series starts replacing the injured Chaz Mostert, much was expected of Waters in 2016.
But in a season where he finished 19th in the final standing but secured two fourth place finishes including Bathurst with the reigning champion Prodrive team, Waters expects to take the lessons from 2016 and challenge established teammates Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert.
“If I can be around or in front of them, I’ll be happy with that,” Waters told Supercars.com. “Hopefully our cars are competitive and we can be up the front and inside the top-5 and top-10 consistently through the year.
“I took note of a few areas, especially in the car, I needed to fix. I’ve addressed some of them over the off-season, and I’ll keep building on that this season.”
The Mildura product admits his rookie campaign was harder than he anticipated after he impressed in his final two Dunlop Series campaigns.
“There was heaps of things I learned over the year. How competitive it is, you can’t make any mistakes and if you are a little bit off you’re really nowhere in the order,” he added.
“It took me a little while to work out how competitive it was and it really made me lift to the next level. Towards the end of the year I started to work it out a little bit more and was a bit more consistent and I was closer to Chaz and Mark (Winterbottom) as well which is good.”
Waters also remains hopeful the change in Dunlop tyres for 2016 will play to his advantage.
“For someone who has limited experience on those tyres, it’s good to change it and bring the guys who have had years of running on it back to me a little bit.”
While a number of his Supercars colleagues competed in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on Sunday, Waters will be using a different form of motorsport in his preparation for the season-opening Clipsal 500.
“I’ll probably do a speedway event or two and probably take the shifter kart out a lot to get my fitness up because Adelaide is so hot when you get there,” he concluded.