At the end of this season, Tickford and I will be parting ways.
I know this will disappoint many of you, but I want to assure you that I will still be on the grid in 2019 and beyond.
Tickford and I have raced together for 13 years and we have achieved many of our ultimate goals; 38 race wins, 117 podiums, 36 pole positions, and not to mention a Bathurst win in ’13 and a championship win in 2015.
In that time, I’ve worked with so many amazing people and they will continue to be a big part of my life.
When I first came to the team I was the young guy, inexperienced and raw, and to this day I still have team-mates who mentored me.
Brighty (Jason Bright) and Richo (Steven Richards) openly taught me the tricks of the trade.
Winterbottom's first win came alongside Bright in 2006
Over the past few years, it’s been an honour to give back and play that role with the younger guys who have joined Tickford.
I know that Tickford are in good hands and with the current driver line-up, three young guys, full of talent, and most of all they’re top blokes.
We talk a lot about loyalty in this sport, and that is incredibly important to me.
I have been with Tickford for 13 years and I want you to know that this decision was not financially motivated.
I shook hands with the Tickford management and we’ve wished each other all the best in the future.
We will always remain respectful and grateful for the history we have created together, and the amazing times we have shared. Tickford will always hold a special place in my heart.
Winterbottom celebrating his 2015 title
Tickford and I have been so fortunate to win the support of loyal sponsors including Orrcon Steel and Castrol, which have been on my car for 14 years.
The Bottle-O, who have been with Tickford for 10 years, and personally Actron Air, Bolle and Malibu have been with me for eight years, so I thank you all.
These companies and the supporters are the people that I will always respect and appreciate.
There is no bigger compliment than a person spending their hard-earned cash on my team shirt.
Consistent, good results is something I strive for and have always prided myself on.
The last few years have been really tough; my five-year-old son can’t even remember seeing me win a race.
Winterbottom with wife Renee and sons Oliver and Austin
The last thing I want is to fade away and just turn up for a pay cheque.
I know I can still compete like I did three years ago when I won the championship. I want to get back to the front and I have the backing of many people that I respect in this sport.
I know I’m a better driver now than I probably was in my 20s and I have the experience and the passion to race and be competitive.
I always have and always will drive the car to its strengths. I go into every race thinking I can win and I’m as hungry and motivated as the first day I sat in a Supercar.
So I’m going to stay true to myself and who I am and continue to be a genuine, good person for my supporters, family and sponsors.
Regardless of which team I race for in 2019, I’m still the same person and I hope you continue to support me in the future.
I’ve always tried to be a role model within our sport. Championships are not just made on the track, but behind the scenes as well.
I love engaging with you all and giving back as much as I can, whether that be my time in person, posting out merchandise to brighten someone’s day, creating a message or creating a video just to show you support.
A lot happens behind the scenes and I’m proud of what we’ve done.
I love racing Supercars and I genuinely appreciate you all, which is why I wanted to deliver this announcement personally.
In recent weeks I’ve received many messages of support from fans, which has really humbled me.
I hope you’re happy to see me on the grid in 2019, but if not, please remember that I’m a real person with a real family, so just be respectful in your comments.
I obviously can’t say anything about where I am next year, but thanks again for your support, it’ll never go unappreciated.
My goal is to finish the last two rounds in the best way possible, we’ve still got a lot to race for.
I’d love to go out on a high and get some good results.