Cameron Waters believes Tickford Racing can set themselves up as 2020 title contenders if they can maintain their frontrunning form at this weekend’s Coates Hire Newcastle 500.
The Ford squad have had little to cheer about in their first two visits to the street circuit, taking just four of a possible 16 top 10 race finishes and never placing inside the top five.
This is a different Tickford outfit though: one which is contending for silverware at each and every round, including taking a double podium in the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 earlier this month.
While Mustang rival Scott McLaughlin has already sealed the title, all four of its drivers – Chaz Mostert, Waters, Will Davison and Lee Holdsworth – are in the championship’s top nine.
The Newcastle finale is the last hurdle to check their true progress.
“Newcastle will be all about just finishing, which is something that has not been great for my car lately,” Waters told Supercars.com, having seen his PIRTEK Enduro Cup pace marred by incidents.
“And also in saying that, Newcastle hasn’t been the best track for Tickford since we’ve been going there so hopefully we can roll out and be strong.
“I think if we can nail Newcastle, then it probably proves that our package is good week in, week out and it probably puts us in pretty good stead for next year.”
Waters is on for a career-best seventh in the championship but could rise to sixth – or realistically drop as low as 10th – pending results this weekend; however it’s next year that has the Mildura native excited.
“I’m pumped for 2020. I think we have found a lot this year in our package,” Waters said.
“We obviously rolled out a lot stronger with what we did in the off-season. There was probably a little bit of understanding that as well through the year and I think from Pukekohe on it’s been very consistent as well.
“That’s what you need to have to be able to go for race wins week in, week out.
“For us as a team, we still have got a step to take but we’re not very far away.
“We have just got to keep chipping away and understanding what our cars are doing well and what they’re not.
“I think if we can make that next step, we’ll be in the hunt next year.”
Tickford last won the championship in 2015 with Mark Winterbottom.
Newcastle practice begins on Friday before a 250km race on each of Saturday and Sunday.