Few teams made as many significant gains in 2020, with Winterbottom also fighting for several podiums. Such was his consistency, that he managed to finish 10th overall despite finishing a race no higher than fourth.
Critically, there's one key issue that the team needs to overcome before either driver can challenge for consistent race wins: it needs to fix its qualifying pace.
"Since we lured him away from the factory Ford squad at the end of 2018 he has become an integral part of building the team and brand of Team 18," Schwerkolt said upon Winterbottom's signing.
"With Gen3 coming on in 2022, his input will be invaluable and having continuity within the team and our drivers will be critical in the changing phase of the sport.
"It's a long journey to become a genuine contender in this championship, you need the best people around you and having Frosty with the same vision as me is so important."
When applying that to Winterbottom's 2015 title breakthrough, Schwerkolt's comments regarding patience and "vision" ring true.
Winterbottom's maiden championship came in his 10th season with Tickford Racing, which he joined under its Ford Performance Racing guise before winning the series under the Prodrive moniker.
His most recent victories, at Barbagallo and Pukekohe in 2016, came in a title defence which fell by the wayside amid a dominant season by Triple Eight.
In fact, Winterbottom's two wins were the only victories by a Ford driver that season.
Career win No. 37, in Perth, saw Winterbottom hold on to a brilliant Sunday victory despite racing to the end on one fewer pit stop than his rivals. It came after he binned a set of tyres to a severe brake lockup on Saturday.
His other win of the season, and his most recent to date, came in a Pukekohe thriller which saw the then-Ford hero lead every lap.
Career win No. 38 came after pole man Shane van Gisbergen suffered a poor getaway, with Winterbottom cruising into an early lead.
As he built a comfortable lead, the battle for second was heating up between Triple Eight team-mates van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup.
The latter dove to the inside at Turn 8, and Whincup and van Gisbergen both rotated, opening the door for Winterbottom to drive into the distance unchallenged.
A 10-second victory margin proved Winterbottom, while he would fail to defend his title, still had a lot to offer.