Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Mark Winterbottom will line up for his 400th race start on Saturday at the Ipswich SuperSprint, a place of fond memories for ‘Frosty’ after claiming two race wins at the track in 2015.
Winterbottom believes his team’s biggest strength is the ability of the engineering group to turn the car into a competitive racer across a weekend, citing this as the reason for his consistency so far this year.
Teammate Chaz Mostert took home the third win from the event in 2015 after a clean sweep by the team, and says a 2016 win is getting closer for the Supercheap Auto Racing outfit.
Qualifying will play an important role at the Queensland track says Mostert, who’s two pole positions at the track in 2015 played a large part in his final results.
Cameron Waters is ready to fight for position at Queensland Raceway at the notoriously challenging track where he saw Dunlop Series success in 2015.
Despite its seemingly simple layout, Waters believes utilising the right setup for both fast and slow corners will play an integral part in helping him race further into the top ten.
Chris Pither hopes the challenges of Townsville are behind him as he prepares to line up at the ‘paperclip’ where he also recorded a Dunlop Series win last year.
Team co-drivers Dean Canto, Steve Owen and Jack Le Brocq will join the team in Ipswich to take part in the 30-minute additional co-driver practice on Friday.
Mark Winterbottom – #1 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
“It’s exciting, absolutely. It’s a big number, 400, but it’s been fantastic to be a part of the sport for so long. Ipswich is a challenging track and it’s another one where we had a good run last year so it’s a good one to reach the milestone at. For us we go to what is enemy territory but at the same time we’re hopeful that we can beat them on their home ground. Going to your test track doesn’t always work for you. Conditions can change and you’ve tested all these items and then you don’t get on top of it and a fresh team has new challenges. It will make for good racing at that track, it is always a tough one and I just hope we can win again because it does feel better when you can beat them on their home turf.
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
“Queensland Raceway can actually be pretty difficult even though it looks quite simple. There are only six corners and they’re so tight so if you’re a little bit off, you’re a long way back down the field. It’s a pretty good track; it’s hard to set the car up because you’ve got to set it up for fast and slow corners. I went okay there last year so I’m really excited to get there this year. If I can qualify well it will set up my races a lot more. It’s probably one area that I haven’t been that strong in at the past few events so hopefully I can get that back for QR and if I qualify well, hopefully I can get a good race result.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
“It’ll be awesome to get back to Ipswich. It’s a bit of a home track for me and I’ve spent a lot of time out that way this year at the Ipswich Kart Club and stuff so it really feels like home. It’s been a pretty good hunting ground for me over the past few years with two pole positions and a race win there last year and my first ever win too so hopefully we can keep it going and keep the podiums rolling in. We’ll try and qualify up the front again to put us in the best position possible. I’m keen to get back there and get back in the car and see what we can do.”
Chris Pither – #111 Super Black PRA Ford:
“Ipswich is a lot tougher than it looks. You’re really got to think hard about setups and how you’re going to attack the track. We’ve had a bit of work to do after Townsville but we had a good de-brief and a good run through of the track before the event and I think we’re going to be in an alright position for this one. I had a win there last year in the Dunlop Series so that’s a bit of a confidence booster heading into this weekend.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“It’s hard to know where we’ll stand at Ipswich this year but we know we’ve got strengths in certain areas to draw on. On previous tracks this year our results have differed from what we saw in 2015 purely because the other teams have challenged really well. Ipswich is the test track of the Queensland teams so they know the track inside and out but we’ll put up a decent fight. We’re after another race win and we can definitely achieve it at Ipswich if we put our heads down and race smart.”
EVENT NAME: Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprint
DATE: 22 – 24 July
LOCATION: Ipswich, Queensland
EVENT NUMBER: 8 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 60-minute practice, 1 x 30-min additional drivers practice; Saturday – 1 x 15-min practice, 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x 39-lap race; Sunday – 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x 65-lap race
CIRCUIT: Queensland Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Queensland Raceway looks the least technical of all circuits visited in the series, but is far more challenging than first appears. It rewards strong mid-corner speed and traction out of turns, despite only consisting of four right and two left corners with four straights – two short and two long, in between. The circuit is very spectator friendly, with full circuit viewing easy from virtually any location on the track. In 2013 in played host to a historic Ford 1-2-3-4 finish where Chaz Mostert claimed his maiden V8 Supercars race win.
TRACK RECORD: 1m09.059s – Will Davison (2013), Qualifying
PRA BEST RESULT: 1s – Mark Winterbottom (2008, 2015), Chaz Mostert (2015)
DRIVER CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS
1) Jamie Whincup – Triple Eight: 1545
2) Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight: 1492
3) Mark Winterbottom – Prodrive Racing: 1470
4) Craig Lowndes – Triple Eight: 1392
5) Scott McLaughlin – Garry Rogers Motorsport: 1374
11) Chaz Mostert – Prodrive Racing: 1046
18) Cameron Waters – Prodrive Racing: 844
21) Chris Pither– Super Black Racing: 634
1) Triple Eight: 3047
2) Prodrive Racing: 2329
3) HRT: 2182