PRA FIGHT FOR DUAL CHAMPIONSHIP
PRODRIVE RACING – SYDNEY 500 PREVIEW
Prodrive Racing (Australia)'s Mark Winterbottom is hoping to achieve his very first V8 Supercars championship in front of a home crowd this weekend at the Coates Hire Sydney 500. The current championship leader sits 179 points ahead of Craig Lowndes, meaning he needs to finish 14th or higher in every race to take home the championship trophy if Lowndes wins every race. Winterbottom will be looking to continue his consistent form in Sydney after not finishing outside the top 10 at Phillip Island. Car 5 co-driver Steve Owen will step into car 6 for the weekend, as replacement driver Cameron Waters focuses on his Dunlop Series commitments. Owen is confident of his role at the tricky street circuit, having competed there throughout his career. David Reynolds will relish his final opportunity to race the #55 Bottle-O Racing Falcon at the Sydney 500 and will look to stand on the podium once again before departing the team green squad. Kiwi Chris Pither will perform double duties this weekend, stepping into car 111 once again after impressing the Super Black Racing team at Phillip Island.
Mark Winterbottom - #5 Pepsi Max PRA Ford:
"It's good to go to the last round. It's been a long season and obviously the battle is on to try and wrap this thing up. There were 25 drivers but now it's down to two so it's exciting to go home, just 15 minutes from where I grew up and make my own history to win the first championship. The battle that is ahead is going to be awesome. I'm just really looking forward to it. Hopefully it's an enjoyable weekend and we know what we've got to do to win it so we'll be focused on trying to make sure that number one goes on our car which is the ultimate goal. There are lots of friends and family coming, there's a lot going on so I'm looking forward to the challenge."
Steve Owen - #6 Pepsi Max PRA Ford:
"It's great to be getting back in the car at Sydney. Even though I'll have a different crew and engineer to what I had earlier in the year as Frosty's co-driver they'll set the car up pretty close to what it's been like all year for me. It'll be great to race alongside Mark rather than hand the car over to him but that just means I have a completely different job to do. It'll be good to go onto the track and run my own race. Sydney is a challenging and unforgiving track but it'll be good to go back there and have a crack."
David Reynolds - #55 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
"I'm looking forward to finishing the year off on a high. It's been a very long year but a very successful year. It's going to be sad to see the back end of it but there's still the possibility that I could end up second. Obviously I can't win because the points gap is too large but I'm looking forward to it. I really enjoy that track, it's a very tough track, it's very mentally draining but it rewards a bit of bravery so I'm excited to get back there."
Chris Pither - #111 Super Black PRA Ford:
"It's fantastic to be racing in the Super Black Racing FG X again. I had a great time at Phillip Island but still thought I could get more out of it so to have that opportunity again is great. It'll be a big weekend for me but I'm looking forward to learning as much as I can and working with the team again."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"It all comes down to this. We'll be fighting for two championships this weekend and hopefully we can come home with them both. The reality is that we enter the weekend leading both series which puts us in a good position. We just have to keep our eyes forward and focus on one race at a time. The race itself presents quite a few challenges but we have enjoyed success at the street circuits that we have been to this year so we're in a good position."
Prodrive Racing (Australia)'s Dunlop Series campaign comes to an end at the Sydney 500 after almost two months between races. Cameron Waters will be vying for his maiden Dunlop Series championship where he currently leads V8 Supercars veteran Paul Dumbrell by 149 points. The championship battle will play out over the two, 17 lap races across the weekend while Cam will aim to take home the trophy after the first; with 150 points will be up for grabs in each. While most drivers have taken a break over the last two months, Cam hopes to use his recent main-game experience to aid his fight for the championship.
Cameron Waters - #5 ENZED PRA Ford:
"Going into Sydney I'll be hoping to wrap the championship up. I'm 149 points in front so if I can beat PD (Paul Dumbrell) in race one on Saturday I'll wrap it up which is the plan. If I come second I'll take those points and try again the next day. It really depends on where I qualify and our pace as well. Hopefully we can wrap up the championship. It'd be amazing to get it and tick another box in my career. I was pretty quick there last year. Hopefully we can build on that and hopefully I can use a bit of my experience from the last few events in the main series at Sydney. I've just got to go there and see how I go."
EVENT NAME: Coates Hire Sydney 500
DATE: 4 – 6 December, 2015
LOCATION: Sydney Olympic Park
EVENT NUMBER: 14 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 3 x 30-minute practice; Saturday – 1 x 30-min practice, 2 x 10 minute qualifying, 2 x 37-lap races; Sunday – 1 x 20-min qualifying 1 x Top 10 Shootout, 1 x 74-lap race
CIRCUIT: Sydney Olympic Park Street Circuit
DESCRIPTION: Set around the streets of the Olympic Park precinct the track is tough and challenging in many ways. A mixture of high and low-speed sections, divided by bumps, kerbs and camber changes give this all the hallmarks of a typical street circuit. Uniquely, the paddock area is inside a building alongside the pit lane complex.
TRACK RECORD: 1m28.38s – Craig Lowndes, 2011
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st (x2) Mark Winterbottom (2011), Will Davison (2012)
PRODRIVE RACING AUSTRALIA – COATES HIRE SYDNEY 500
Prodrive Racing (Australia) has finished Friday's practice at the Coates Hire Sydney 500 confident of finding further speed despite three of four cars sustaining minor exterior damage. Championship leader Mark Winterbottom, along with Chris Pither, was the only PRA car not to run a set of green tyres throughout the day but is pleased with his speed compared to teammate David Reynolds. Winterbottom kicked off the crew's day of repairs, making side-on contact with the tyre wall at turn one causing him to finish opening practice early. While the car did not sustain any mechanical damage, he was still able to hold a 10th place finish from earlier in the session. Steve Owen was given his first taste of green tyres in 12 months in today's final practice session but says there is still work to be done after finishing 22nd, 23rd and 18th in each session. The Bottle-O Racing Team's David Reynolds was the fastest of the PRA fold, completing his practice sessions in third, third and fourth for the day. Dave also had a brush with the wall in the final practice session but once again no mechanical damage was sustained. Kiwi Chris Pither suffered the worst damage in the final practice session, with damage to the front of his car after coming together with a tyre bundle at turn seven.
Mark Winterbottom - #5 Pepsi Max PRA Ford: 11th – 1m28.37s
"It wasn’t too bad today but we didn’t put any green tyres on so we’ll see what it does when we do. A few little issues, just wobbling around a little bit in some spots and this track is a massive commitment. You’ve really got to have a good car behind you. Hopefully we’ll tune her up and put new tyres on and go again tomorrow."
Steve Owen - #6 Pepsi Max PRA Ford: 18th - 1m28.85s
"The biggest issue is remembering to sign six instead of five on the posters! Everything else is pretty good. I had my first run on green tyres for 12 months, but I’m glad we did that in practice because I didn’t do a very good job. The car’s reasonable and not that far off Frosty at the moment, so we’ll try and tune her up tonight and come back tomorrow and see where we end up."
David Reynolds - #55 The Bottle-O PRA Ford: 4th – 1m27.90s
"Today wasn’t too bad. We rolled out and had a pretty good car straight away, but it’s just a terrifying track sometimes. You try so hard and you two-wheel into the fence like I did in the last session. That’s the most damage I’ve done all year. I scratched the side of it and it was pretty big. It scared me, but I’ll be right tomorrow."
Chris Pither - #111 Super Black PRA Ford: 24th – 1m29.89s
"It definitely wasn't ideal finishing the final practice session the way we did but I'm thrilled to have at least another two practice sessions under my belt in the car, particularly at this track. We were making improvements up until then so we'll work on it overnight and hopefully roll out good as new for tomorrow and keep making improvements."
Prodrive Racing (Australia)'s Cameron Waters has continued his front-running form in the Dunlop Series in practice at the Sydney 500, finishing at the top of the tables in each session. While the first practice session was red flagged due to a crash on track, Waters was able to make the most of his time, recording a 1:31.207 in the first before cutting that down to a 1:29.03 in the final session. Saturday consists of qualifying for race one and the first 17 lap race in the afternoon.
Cameron Waters - #5 ENZED PRA Ford: 1st – 1m29.03s
"I'm pretty happy with how everything went today. It's been a while since I've been in that car but it was good to return to that car and cut some laps. I was happy to cut a bit of time off my lap time in the final practice. We're looking alright for tomorrow but we'll tune it up and hopefully we can put it on pole for tomorrow's race."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"This track is notorious for biting you hard and we got nipped a few times today. Thankfully the damage was mostly to the panels on the cars so we've given the sticker guy quite a bit of work. Overall we have been pretty consistent and there is still room for improvement. We've got another practice session to go tomorrow before we qualify so we'll get everything straight and hopefully remain consistent."