Winterbottom: 'Nothing to lose' for Team 18 on Gold Coast

24 Oct
Mark Winterbottom expects Team 18 to be "aggressive to try and get a result" after post-Bathurst changes
  • Mark Winterbottom says Team 18 has “nothing to lose” at Gold Coast

  • Team 18 cars missed out at Mount Panorama after late heartbreak

  • Team has sinced changed personnel, with Winterbottom getting a new engineer

Mark Winterbottom says Team 18 has “nothing to lose” and will be aggressive at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 after a swathe of personnel changes.

A new-look Team 18 will arrive at Surfers Paradise in the wake of Bathurst heartbreak, with both cars forced to pit late in the race after fuel miscalculations.

Winterbottom was on track to finish 11th, but wasn’t classified after pitting late and being held in pit lane. Scott Pye, meanwhile, came home 17th.

Since Bathurst, #18 race engineer Manuel Sanchez and #20 data engineer Julia McGarry have departed, with Team Manager Bruin Beasley also departing.

Matt Saunders will step in on Winterbottom’s car, with Rory Jackermis stepping in for McGarry.

winterbottom bathurst 2023

Winterbottom, who won on the Gold Coast in 2009 and 2011, is keen to add another surfboard to his trophy cabinet after a trying few weeks.

"Obviously, a few things have changed on my car. So with change comes different opportunity, I’m teaming back up with Matt Saunders to see what we can do. 

"We’ve got nothing to lose so we’re racing for the win, we’ll go aggressive to try and get a result. Hopefully it's a good weekend. 

"I’ve gone well there before and the surfboard's the best trophy other than the Bathurst and championship trophy to win. I’ve got a couple at home, so I'd love to add to it with another win up there for sure.”


It’s a similar mindset for Pye, who will race on the Surfers streets with a retro livery on his Hino-backed Camaro, paying homage to the ’Team Samurai’ prototype.

Pye has street form already in 2023, finishing seventh in the season-opener in Newcastle and sixth in Townsville, where he also set the fastest lap of the Sunday race.

Drivers pick up drivers in pre-Gold Coast hit

The South Aussie-born driver also showed off strong pace in Adelaide last year, qualifying on the front row and fighting at the front.

“I'm excited to go into two street circuits to finish the season. Adelaide last year was awesome for us,” said Pye, who has joined Triple Eight as an enduro driver from 2024.

"We obviously didn't get the result on Sunday, just with a little bit of bad luck, but we did show that we got good car speed.

"Gold Coast last year was strong too, but we ran out of fuel late in the race and had to pit, so I lost the top five there.

"It does give us good confidence to go to a couple of tracks that we were very fast at last year. 

"If we tick the one percenters and not make any mistakes, we'll be at the front, I'm sure.”

Track action at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 will commence on Friday. Tickets are on sale now.

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