Mark Winterbottom keen to come back "as hungry as ever" in 2024
Winterbottom finished 15th overall after late season slump
It came after Team 18 star claimed an emotional victory in Darwin
Mark Winterbottom is determined to come back in 2024 “as hungry as ever” after a mixed fifth season with Team 18.
Winterbottom ended the 2023 season 15th overall, having slumped in the second half of the year following a stunning win in Darwin.
The 2015 champion scored the 20th most points across the 25 drivers in the final five rounds, with an unfortunate Bathurst DNF proving costly.
Team 18 swung the changes, with Winterbottom’s engineer Manuel Sanchez making way for Matthew Saunders.
The 2024 season is set to be Team 18’s biggest yet, with the in-form David Reynolds replacing Scott Pye, while former Supercars motorsport boss Adrian Burgess has signed on as Team Principal.
For Winterbottom, amid all the change, the key is to enjoy the off-season and pay off the team’s hard work in 2024.
“There are lots of changes happening for next year and I'll be here fighting as hard as I can,” the 42-year-old said.
"At the moment it's about going away, relaxing, and and coming back in January as hungry as ever. Team 18, we will be better.
"We will continue to strive, and the day will come where all this hard work pays off.”
Winterbottom scored just one top 10 in his final nine starts, a contrast to eight top 10s — including the Darwin win — in his first 19.
The 2013 Bathurst winner is targeting better results on the team’s “off days” given they have managed to convert to results when the pace is there.
Notably, Winterbottom gained 10 positions in the first Adelaide race, and seven spots on Sunday.
“That was a really tough weekend and a tough way to finish, but all in all you know, we've had some highs this year,” said Winterbottom, who finished 11th and 15th in Adelaide.
"Obviously winning Darwin was a mega result and something I'm really proud of.
“But we've got work to do, so on our days we're good, and on our off days we’re struggling."