Team 18 drivers Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom showed impressive race pace and determination during a thrilling Race 16 at the NTI Townsville 500 to finish sixth and 11th respectively.

Despite encountering early setbacks, their raw speed led to a stunning recovery after the team found itself in 22nd and 24th position eight laps into the race.

The race kicked off with an unfortunate incident on the opening lap at Turn 7, as Pye received a forceful hit from behind, causing his Hino Camaro to spin and fall seconds behind the back of the pack. 

Winterbottom, on the other hand, had a promising start in the DEWALT Camaro, making significant progress by gaining four spots early on from his 21st starting spot. However, on Lap 8, he encountered contact with Percat at Turn 1, which dropped him to 24th place and required a 15 second penalty to be served in his first pit stop.

With 80 laps remaining, both drivers, along with their determined crew, refused to give up and quickly set their sights on making up lost ground.

Pye’s impressive recovery was characterised by his strong overtaking skills, passing a staggering 19 cars on track and making additional gains during the pit stop cycle, Pye charged back to an seventh position by the end of the pit stop cycle. 

A safety car intervention on Lap 70 presented an opportunity for Pye to further advance his position as he seized sixth place off Fullwood on the restart. Although he dropped behind Van Gisbergen and Mostert, who were on a three-stop strategy, Pye continued to march forward as he overtook Heimgartner with just six laps remaining, ultimately crossing the finish line sixth.

Winterbottom too exhibited remarkable race pace and climbed up from 19th place after the pit stop cycle to secure a solid 11th place finish.

The exceptional race recovery fuelled the team’s confidence heading into the final 250km race on Sunday, however acknowledged qualifying will be a key focus overnight to ensure a stronger starting position in Race 17.

Team 18 returns to action on Sunday for Qualifying at 10:00am, before the Top 10 Shootout at 12:00pm and Race 17 at 2:40pm. All the action can be viewed live on Channel 7, Fox Sports and Kayo. Check your local guides for further details.


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

Qualifying: 13th (1:13.8539)

Race 16: 6th (Fastest lap: 1:15.8935)

“It was a wild race. We got unlucky with someone spinning me out on the first lap. They threw the rear quarter off the car and turned me around and sent me back for last and a few seconds off the back of the next car. It also meant the first stint we had damaged tyres from the spin.

“The second and third stint really got us back in the race. We passed three cars during the stops and the rest of the 19 were all done on track.

“I’m really proud of the crew. They gave me an absolute rocket today and I had a fun time passing everyone.

“It was a cool feeling to have so much speed and to have speed like that without a tyre advantage as well, to just have genuine car speed again was a good feeling and to be able to maximise it. 

“We go into tomorrow with a straight car and one we know we can fine tune and hopefully make a little bit better, but we know anyway it’s very competitive.”

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

Qualifying: 21st (1:14.2213)

Race 16: 11th (Fastest lap: 1:15.9671)

“Today was a tough day. We just didn’t get it right in qualifying, so we found ourselves in the pack. But then our race place was surprisingly a lot stronger and we passed cars, got tangled up with Nick [Percat] there and served my penalty and that was 15 seconds.

“So we were last plus a 15 second penalty, looking doom and gloom and then drove back through and passed quite a few cars again, then got caught up with [David] Reynolds and dropped a few, and then passed a few cars again. 

“It was a good day to salvage some points because without the penalty we were up there, but you just have to keep fighting and it was a great fight back for us.

“We’ve got to qualify better. Our race pace is probably top five but we’ve got to qualify better and if we can do that, then we don’t have to pass those 19 cars that we were trying to do today.”