The 2023 Repco Supercars Championship roared into life today as the Thrifty Newcastle 500 kicked off on the streets of Newcastle with Team 18 well positioned after over two hours of practice running.

The team worked through their program in each session which included a host of setup changes and race simulations to prepare for the two 250km races on Saturday and Sunday.

Hino Team 18 driver Scott Pye finished 18th, sixth and eighth in the three sessions, showing strong pace in both race and qualifying trim.

DEWALT Racing Team 18 driver Mark Winterbottom placed 10th, seventh and 18th today and was competitive throughout each session as the team threw a number of setup changes on both cars.

Both drivers reported traffic as an issue during their flying laps but are feeling positive of the team’s chances ahead of the first race of the year tomorrow.

Team 18 returns to action tomorrow for Qualifying at 11:15am a Top 10 Shootout at 12:35pm and Race 1 of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship at 3:20pm, live on Channel 7 and Fox Sports.


Scott Pye, driver #20 Hino Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

Practice 1: 18th (1:13.4281)
Practice 2: 6th (1:12.0478)
Practice 3: 8th (1:11.7761)

“Really good day for us but a challenging one. 

“Coming to a place where the nature of the circuit here at Newcastle is very difficult in a new car, but I couldn’t stop grinning. This place is one of the craziest tracks we go to on the calendar and in this new car its so much fun.

“I think it’s going to be challenging in the race, a lot of opportunity to make very small mistakes with high consequences out there so I’m looking forward to the challenge.

“Today was a very good day in terms of the testing we got done. We did some longer runs and then outright pace at the end. Unfortunately we got traffic on my run but I’m still happy with P8 and I’m excited for tomorrow. It’s a long season ahead and we’re off to a good start.”

Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 DEWALT Racing Team 18 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 

Practice 1: 10th (1:12.9934)
Practice 2: 7th (1:12.1164)
Practice 3: 18th (1:12.0750)

“We survived the first day which is good. The car was very good at stages and not good at others, so we just have to piece it together now and come up with a plan for the races. 

“I didn’t get a good run on green tyres with traffic, I don’t think we were quick enough at the end, but at the start of the final session we had top three pace, so I think we’ll just reverse what we did and go back to what we started with in that one and we’ll be very quick.

They’re a lot of fun to drive around here and I’m looking forward to getting back out there tomorrow.”