“We haven’t been in the car for that distance since the start of the year, let alone at a street circuit with the heat and the brutality of the kerbs, concrete walls and all those elements.
'The brutality of the kerbs, concrete walls...'
“I think it’s going to surprise a few, we’re race fit but not necessarily race fit for that distance, but I’m looking forward to it, we train hard for these events.”
The season-opener in Bathurst was a great test on drivers and teams as they grappled with fuel-drops and different strategies across a 250km, near-two-hour race.
With Townsville's concrete canyon featuring damaging kerbs and little margin for error, three-time Townsville race winner Winterbottom predicts a dramatic return to longer racing at the North Queensland circuit.
It comes after the city hosted two sprint rounds in 2020 amid a tweaked calendar.
'It always writes some sort of drama there'
“It’s rare we hit a track like this at this point of the year and not have had a lot of long races under our belt, so it’s a challenge on the car, the driver and the team, but as a driver I like the long formats,” Winterbottom continued.
“Townsville is unique, there’s street circuit elements and permanent track elements in the second sector. In 2015 I won back-to-back and it was one of the best weekends of your life, it’s been great but it’s also been hard.
“We’ve had moments where you’ve hit a kerb and components have failed or you end up in the fence, so it can be rewarding but such a brutal place, but it always writes some sort of drama there.”