Prodrive Racing Australia team principal Tim Edwards believes Chaz Mostert came of age during the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Mostert led the way for the Ford squad during the campaign, taking three wins and remaining in title contention until the Coates Hire Newcastle 500.
In addition to finishing fifth in the drivers’ championship, he also won Prodrive’s maiden PIRTEK Enduro Cup with Steve Owen.
The 25-year-old was reunited with Adam De Borre - the pair having won Bathurst together in 2014 during De Borre’s previous Prodrive stint - but Edwards believes that was only part of the equation.
A visibly fitter Mostert fronted for the 2017 season, having gone winless on his way to seventh in ’16 as he returned from serious injuries sustained in a qualifying crash at Bathurst the previous October.
“With Chaz, you’ve only got to look at him physically,” Edwards told Supercars.com.
“I think the Chaz of 2017, he’s really come of age.
“Obviously having that relationship back with Adam as his engineer was part of the Chaz we see today, but also the effort that he's also put in behind the scenes.
“He's fitter and more mentally focused and happier in himself than he’s ever been.
“The engineer was just one element of that improvement we saw in Chaz this year.”
Alongside his Supercars commitments, Mostert established a relationship with BMW this year following his star turn in February’s Bathurst 12 Hour in a privately-entered M6 GT3.
That led to Mostert getting a call-up for races in Asia, including a run to fifth in the FIA GT World Cup in Macau and a partial Asian Le Mans program.
From two races in the slender GT class in the ALMS, Mostert and his team-mates have a victory and a second place, with the next round in Thailand in mid-January.
Between his Prodrive and BMW campaigns, Mostert contested five events in seven weekends across the end of the season.
Edwards says he’s “absolutely” happy for Mostert to branch out into sportscars with the German manufacturer.
“I’ve always been supportive of all my drivers doing other things and you’ve seen Frosty [Mark Winterbottom] do Brazilian Touring Cars, Cam [Waters] driving speedway cars and stuff like that," he said.
“For me, having your bum in a car, seat time is seat time. And, yes, the cars are different but seat time is seat time.
“And in Chaz’s case he just loves racing cars. You see him race a production [Ford] Focus at Bathurst and Winton and places like that, he just loves racing cars.
“When he's not doing that, he's in a go-kart. So you’ve got to understand the nature of the person you’re dealing with.
“He wants to do it, so I’m supportive of him doing it.”