After last year’s fairy-tale finish, Mark Winterbottom carried the number one into his 11th consecutive year with Prodrive Racing Australia. Winterbottom returned to defend his title this year but described his attempt as playing out really poorly.
Finishing sixth in the Championship, Winterbottom answered Supercars.com’s quick questions on the year as he looks to steal his title back in 2017.
1. What was your best race?
Perth on Sunday. We were short a set of tyres and we went for the two stop strategy versus everyone on the three stop strategy effectively. It was a tyre strategy race and driving to the numbers.
2. Most disappointing race?
Bathurst, to end up in the gravel with a blown brake rotor we were only at 80 percent throttle as well, so we had a lot of dramas going on and it was a really long day and to end like that was disappointing.
3. Best on-track battle?
Probably that Perth one, because although we didn’t race anyone on the track we raced them on the stopwatch. It was a real battle against everyone and yourself not just one person. Just knowing the numbers you have to drive to and racing a lot of different people on the stop watch and not door to door. It was a strange battle but one of the good ones.
4. Best off-track memory or experience?
We’ve don’t a lot this year off track. We did indoor skydiving at the Gold Coast with Castrol, that was a good one. I’d love to sky dive but I hate heights so that is probably the most fun you can get when you’re in that position.
5. Best performance by another driver?
If you pick out one race, the drive that Will did at Bathurst was not necessarily the best for the season but that was the best drive in a race for the season. I think his race at Bathurst was the stand out performance if you picked a race for the year.
6. What was your goal at the start of the season and how did that play out?
The goal was to defend the title and it played out really poorly. It didn’t go to plan that’s for sure
7. What was the team’s biggest achievement for the year?
The biggest achievement was rolling out with number one it was a proud moment and to actually see number one on the car, and although it’s a flow on effect from last year I think that’s a really proud moment
8. What was the biggest news story of the year?
There has been a few. Probably Holden leaving HRT and going to Red Bull, it’s been 25 years of being at one team so that’s big.
9. Who do you think will improve the most in 2017?
Nick Percat will be in the mix, those cars are quite good from an outside point of view and that team is good too. You expect someone like him to rock it up the order quite quickly.
10. What are you most looking forward to in 2017?
Trying to get my title back, that’s something we are looking forward to and ending in Newcastle is going to be really really cool.