2024 Thrifty Bathurst 500, Event 01 of the Repco Supercars Championship, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. 22 Feb, 2024.


DEWALT Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and TRADIE Beer Racing’s David Reynolds are looking to take advantage of the unique challenge presented by the Melbourne SuperSprint this weekend, supporting the 2024 Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The team got off to a strong start to the season at the Bathurst 500, emerging fourth in the Teams’ Championship with Reynolds fifth in the Drivers’ Championship.

With seven wins to his name, Winterbottom is the winningest driver on the grid at Albert Park this weekend and is always a fan of Supercars’ involvement at the Australian Grand Prix.

Notably for this event the Supercars paddock has been expelled from the secondary pit lane and will be based in marquees in the paddock behind where they were located previously.

Teams have been forced to adapt their traditional approaches to race sessions, with data stations remaining in their paddock and skeleton crews heading to the pit lane to manage each car.

With only two 30-minute practice sessions leading into Qualifying, both drivers have emphasised the importance to roll out of the truck strongly with a short turnaround between sessions and without the added element of pit stops to provide an opportunity to move forwards.

The MSS Security Melbourne SuperSprint kicks off on Thursday with six sessions on track, with event rides in the morning leading into two practice sessions, two qualifying sessions and the first race of the weekend at 5:55pm AEDT.

Four sprint races will be held across the weekend, with Races 3 and 4 taking on 19 laps, and Races 5 and 6 reduced to 14 laps, with no compulsory pit stops or refuelling.

Race 3 will be held on Thursday at 5:55pm, followed by Race 4 on Friday at 2:55pm. Qualifying for Races 5 and 6 will be held on Saturday morning from 9:00am, followed by Race 5 at 5:40pm following F1 qualifying.

The fourth and final race of the weekend, Race 6, will be held at 10:25am on Sunday morning in the lead-up to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix on Sunday afternoon.

All the action from the Melbourne SuperSprint can be viewed free-to-air on Channel 10 and live on Fox Sports and Kayo.

QUOTES

Mark Winterbottom, #18 DEWALT Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

“I think Grand Prix is always good for us and for Supercars as a category to be a part of. Obviously with all the pits and everything around us changing, it’s still a really cool event and one I enjoy.

“It’s been a decent gap since Round 1 at Bathurst. We’ve made a lot of gains as a team and you don’t really get to show it until you get back on track.

“Albert Park has been good to me in the past. I think I’ve had seven wins there, so it’s been good in the past, but qualifying is key around there, so obviously from Bathurst I need to qualify better and if I can do that then we’ll have a good shot.”

David Reynolds, #20 TRADIE Beer Racing Chevrolet Camaro ZL1

“The Grand Prix is a really big event for us with huge exposure on the world stage being part of a Formula One weekend which is fantastic for Supercars.

“The track’s fun to drive, there’s always big crashes, and with no pit stops and short races there’s a huge emphasis on qualifying and it’s a championship round for us, so the points do matter for us to perform well.

“We had a really good first round at Bathurst and we’re going to go as hard as we can and try and be at the front for this weekend.

“I love going to the Grand Prix. It’s one of my favourite events of the year. I’ve won races there before, been on pole a few times and had a lot of success there. It’s a very difficult track to get your car in the window, but it feels amazing once you sort of get in the window and you can do a good lap.

“Partnering with F1 for the weekend is very odd for us, because F1’s very glitz and glamour, it’s all about the show with very expensive cars and it’s an expensive show, it’s very white-collar racing where Supercars is quite blue collar, a bit more grass roots and Australian based. It’s very cool to watch it all happen because I’m a huge F1 fan, I watch all the races, drive to survive and everything, so it’s cool to be on the same track racing, not against them, but in the same vicinity.

“The Larry Perkins Trophy is a fantastic prize and a huge, respectful award in our sport. I know Larry quite well, known the family and raced with Jack for my whole life and it would mean a lot to me to win it. I came very, very close in 2020 and 2022, but put it in the fence in the last race and that sort of ruined my chances of winning it. So, I’ve come close, but I just missed out.

“It’s the first time in a long time that we haven’t had pit stop races for the Grand Prix, which I’m kind of not looking forward to because it puts a highlight on qualifying which will set up the rest of our races. If you can qualify well, you’ll probably race well, because the laps are too short to make any difference. Where before, when we had pit stops, you could sort of have a different strategy, pit early, pit late, or throw in a bit of weather, but now it’s just back to sprint races, which goes back to what we all started with in Carrera Cup and Formula Ford.”