Frosty Headed to Brazil

18 Feb 2014
Ford factory ace to race in Rio in Stock Car Championship opener.
3 mins by James Pavey

Factory Ford pilot Mark Winterbottom looks set to make his international racing debut in the opening round of the 2014 Brazilian Stock Car Championship in March. 

The defending Supercheap Auto Bathurst 10000 champion has been invited to join the Voxx Racing team in a co-driver race at the famous Interlagos circuit in Rio de Janeiro on March 22-23 and has been given the go ahead by his Ford Performance Racing (FPR) bosses to attend.

I am Looking forward to driving with @sjimenez10 in a one off Brazilian stock car co driver race in March at the famous interlagos circuit.

Winterbottom will be joined at the event by fellow Ford pilot David Reynolds’ PIRTEK Enduro Cup co-driver Dean Canto, who will share with Brazilian former V8 Supercars driver Max Wilson in a team Eurofarma RC Chevrolet.

Winterbottom, who finished fourth in the 2013 V8 Supercars Championship, will line up alongside Sergio Jimenez in a Peugeot 408.

Welcome @mwinterbottom ! Lets Push on the first race of @stock_car pic.twitter.com/IOY29Y5ygY

It is understood V8 Supercars Champion Jamie Whincup also received an invitation to race at Interlagos but declined because the race falls on the weekend between the Formula One Rolex Australian Grand Prix support races and the Tasmania 400.

Winterbottom will line up against a strong field of Brazilian and international drivers including former Ferrari F1 driver Rubens Barrichello, who will be racing full-time in the championship for the second consecutive year.

“The Voxx team emailed me and asked if I was interested and that was pretty cool,” Winterbottom said. “It is one of the only series I would look at doing apart from NASCAR because they are very similar to our cars. 

“It’s a pretty cool looking series. Unlike Courtney, Davison and guys like that I never raced overseas, so when you get the chance you have to take it."

Brazilian Stock Cars employ an identical chassis with Chev or Peugeot ‘bodywork’ draped over the top. Power comes from a Dodge-based V8 engine.


Winterbottom said the concept of the Interlagos race was similar to the old Gold Coast format where internationals shared driving duties with the locals. 

“There are some big names doing it so it is pretty exciting… it will also be really interesting to work with another team.

“I think it is a real credit to our Championship that Voxx extended this invitation.

“Both drivers qualify and there is also potential for the co-driver to finish the race, so I could be banging doorhandles with Dean going for the win. That would be great.” 

Winterbottom said Voxx had also recruited him to provide some development feedback as the Championship swaps control tyres brands in 2014. 

“Because it’s pretty much a one-make car you could do really well if you work well together. The new tyre means its pretty well start from scratch.” 

Winterbottom was decidedly more subdued in his thoughts about the rain-hit sydney.com test at Sydney Motorsport Park last Saturday, where he posted only 18th fastest time in the faster afternoon session in his first hit-out in a new Falcon FG II.

Like his FPR teammates Winterbottom was slowed in the morning by the wrong gearbox final drive ratio, while he and new engineer Grant McPherson also spent the day acclimatising with one another.

“It wasn’t a great day,” he conceded. “We had a list to work through but I think we managed to tick off one item out of 10.”

However, he said an ordinary test day didn’t dent his confidence for the Clipsal 500 Championship opener on February 27 to March 2.

“We finished off last year okay, so all you do is bolt in your base set-up and you have a really good car.”

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