Winterbottom, Pye simulate on-track battle

02 Mar 2023
'Racing in a pack is going to be very interesting'
2 mins by James Pavey

Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye used Team 18’s final pre-season test to complete a race battle simulation ahead of the Thrifty Newcastle 500.

Next weekend’s Thrifty Newcastle 500 will be the first ever races of the new Gen3 era.

A reduction in downforce is expected to produce closer racing as drivers can run closer to each other.

Close encounters have been seen along the way in testing; notably, both Red Bull Ampol Racing Camaro chased each other at Queensland Raceway.

On Tuesday, Shane van Gisbergen and Will Davison swapped places on track at the same circuit.

Team 18’s drivers did the same on Wednesday as the team readies for the first races with the new technical package.

“All-in-all we had a really good day and we’ve got a good feeling heading into Newcastle,” said Pye, who also enjoyed a green tyre run.

“We had a couple of gremlins early but we got on top of those pretty quickly and then played with the set-up throughout the day.

“I think racing in a pack is going to be very interesting and extremely challenging.


"I got up close and had a battle with Frosty on track today and enjoyed the experience of something totally different.

“Today has been a good day, a lot tested and we finished exactly where we want to be heading into Newcastle."

Winterbottom reiterated that the team's three quick-fire tests helped uncover set-up windows.

"It’s been good to be in the car so much. We’ve had three outings in the space of two weeks," Winterbottom said.

“We had a couple little gremlins to start the day but once we got going we ran trouble free and had a really good day.

“We learned a lot, we made some big changes, we didn’t run many laps but a lot of good changes and every change we did the car reacted to.

“I feel quick, we’ve got some items on the toolbox of what we need to do but I’m ready to go for Newcastle.”

The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship will commence at the Thrifty Newcastle 500 on March 10-12.

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

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