Gen3 'reset' has Winterbottom chasing trophies

13 Feb 2023
593-race veteran's last podium came in early 2018
3 mins by James Pavey

An “excited” Mark Winterbottom maintains experience will play a big role when the Gen3 era begins in Newcastle.

The new cars will roll out for the first time in just four weeks at the Thrifty Newcastle 500.

The last fortnight has seen a raft of liveries revealed, with seven teams also testing their new cars.

Winterbottom’s new #18 DEWALT Chevrolet Camaro was released on the weekend.

Several veteran drivers have noted the similarities to previous-generation cars, which had far less downforce than the Gen2 cars.

That could benefit drivers like Winterbottom, who this year will record his 600th race start.

Winterbottom’s last podium came at Wanneroo Raceway in 2018 — 141 races and nearly five years ago.

Given the unknowns of Gen3, as well as Newcastle’s first races since 2019, Winterbottom is intrigued by the “reset”.

Triple Eight, PremiAir test new Gen3 cars

“Until we get it on track it’s a bit of the unknown which is exciting for us,” Winterbottom said.

"There’s no previous form, there’s no team that won the last race in that car, it’s a reset for everyone.

"I’m really excited and I think experience will play a big part here when we roll out for Round 1.

“Ultimately you want a good looking car that’s getting good looking trophies so that’s the goal for me this year.

“It’s exciting to see it in the flesh but even more excited to hit the track with anger and put it where it belongs.”

That’s not to say the younger drivers will be at a disadvantage — Broc Feeney, at 20, knows everyone will be in the same boat.

"Newcastle is going to be crazy,” the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver said.

"If you expect it to be the same as normal you're a dreamer. It will be pretty wild.

Perth 2018: Winterbottom's most recent podium


"We're all looking forward to it because we don't know what to expect.

"We've got to put a lot of work in leading up to it, and throughout the year, to make sure we try and stay at the top.”

Key to the first season of Gen3 is that all teams and drivers will have new cars. Furthermore, many teams have taken assembly of their cars in-house.

Team owner Charlie Schwerkolt recently labelled Gen3 a “reset” for Team 18, which had previously run Triple Eight customer cars.

It’s a refresher for Winterbottom, who had raced a dated Triple Eight chassis since he joined Team 18 in 2019.

Having seen the work on both Team 18 cars — Scott Pye returns in 2023 for a fourth season — Winterbottom is confident he is well-positioned to make an impact.

“The way the rules are designed and the way the car is built, a good car is still going to be a good car,” Winterbottom said.

“So if you have a good car you’ll be fast, there’s no doubt about that.

'If you have a good car you’ll be fast, there’s no doubt about that'

"The guys and girls at Team 18 have worked big hours to get both cars ready, and we haven’t rushed it which has been great.

“We’re taking our time and it’s all built in house by everyone here.

"They know the car and when you build your own car and you have this pride that goes with it and everyone here is so proud of what they’ve built.”

Gen3 testing ramps up this week, with Tickford Racing and Erebus Motorsport on track at Winton on Monday

Team 18 will test its new cars on Wednesday and Thursday, also at Winton, before next week’s all-in Sydney test.

Dick Johnson Racing, Matt Stone Racing and PremiAir Racing will test at Queensland Raceway on Tuesday, with Triple Eight postponing its second test.

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence in Newcastle on March 10-12.

Tickets are on sale on Supercars.com and Ticketek.com.

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