Team 18 drivers Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye are pumped for the return of racing on the iconic Surfers Paradise Street Circuit this weekend for the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 on October 28-30.
Supercars will hit the streets of the Gold Coast for the penultimate round of the 2022 season off the back of a strong recovery at a challenging Bathurst 1000 which saw IRWIN Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Michael Caruso finish 15th, and Alspec Racing’s Pye and Tyler Everingham finish 16th as they nursed their cars home with damage sustained early for a solid points finish.
The Bathurst results saw Team 18 move up to sixth position in the teams championship and Winterbottom vault up to the top ten in the drivers standings.
This weekend’s Gold Coast 500 will witness the longest single-driver races in the history of the Gold Coast event, with two 250 kilometre, 85 lap races on the schedule at the high speed, concrete-lined street circuit.
The Surfers Paradise streets will host single-driver races for the first time since 2009, with the event previously a two-driver dual 300km event.
After he recently extended his contract with the team on a multi-year deal, Winterbottom will make his 50th round start in the colours of IRWIN Tools for Team 18 this weekend.
Winterbottom missed the circuit off the calendar for the last two seasons and identified qualifying is less of a factor for success at Surfers than previous years given the longer race format.
Pye is looking forward to returning to one of his favourite circuits this weekend, and expects the longer races to be physically demanding on the drivers which could bring a high attrition rate.
The Gold Coast 500 will feature a three-day format, with two 250km sprint races on the Dunlop soft tyre compound.
Cars first hit the track on Friday for Practice 1 at 12:35pm, followed by Practice 2 at 3:15pm.
Saturday’s action begins at 11:25am with Qualifying for Race 31, followed by a Top 10 Shootout at 1:05pm to set the grid for the first of two 250km, 85 lap races for the weekend kicking off at 3:45pm.
Sunday’s Qualifying commences at 9:55am, followed by the Top 10 Shootout at 11:35am and Race 32 at 2:15pm.
All the action can be viewed live on Fox Sports and Kayo, with free-to-air coverage live on the Seven Network across the weekend, spit between 7Mate on Saturday and Channel 7 on Sunday.
Mark Winterbottom, #18 IRWIN Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
“Surfers Paradise is a track I’ve missed, it’s one I really enjoy. It’s going to be a huge event, it’s always a great atmosphere up there. Queensland at that time of year is beautiful so I can’t wait to get back up there.
“The track is always very tricky to get right. It’s a big-commitment track, one that rewards that big lap. When you get it right it’s when your mirror knicks the wall and when you get it wrong it’s when your door caves in, it’s millimetre perfect but it’s always a tough place.
“Qualifying is everything because it sets up track position, but this year our race length is quite long. 85 laps, one driver, it’s going to be qualifying and then survival the two parts to the weekend.
“50 rounds with the team has gone really quick, but that’s why I love it and which is why I’m here for two more years. I think Gold Coast is a good opportunity for us to go well, people have been there since 2019 so although it’s old in some ways it’s new because we haven’t been there for three years. It’s been a good track for me in the past so I’m looking forward to it.”
Scott Pye, #20 Alspec Racing Team 18 Holden ZB Commodore
“I’m super excited to get back to the Gold Coast 500, it’s an event I’ve loved in the past and the nature of the circuit is extremely exciting. The kerbs, the walls, it’s a high-risk track that rewards commitment.
“For the fans it’s a good opportunity to see the cars back on the Gold Coast. Two massive races back-to-back and the event itself is always something unique, it’s got that street-circuit atmosphere being right on the beach there and beneath the apartments.
“Our cars are quite good on street circuits, at Townsville we were very strong so I’m excited to get back to a circuit which is similar and see what we can do, but I’m feeling very confident heading into the weekend.
“Bathurst was disappointing for us, it was a long day with damage sustained early so I’m excited to get back on track and try and bounce back and get back some of that form we had leading in to the Bathurst 1000,
“GC 500 is going to be a challenging race, 250 kilometres both days which means I’m sure there will be a high attrition rate. It’s going to be physically demanding of the drivers and having to back it up on Sunday is what makes this sport so unique.”
Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500
Surfers Paradise Street Circuit
28-30 October 2022
Local time: AEST
12:35pm – Practice 1 (30 mins)
3:15pm – Practice 2 (30 mins)
FOX: 11:30am – 4:15pm
11:25am – Qualifying, Race 31 (20 mins)
1:05pm – Top 10 Shootout
3:45pm – Race 31 (85 laps)
FOX: 9:15am – 6:30pm
7Mate: 1:00pm – 6:00pm
9:55am – Qualifying (R32) (20 mins)
11:35am – Top 10 Shootout
2:15pm – Race 32 (85 laps)
FOX: 8:00am – 5:00pm
7: 11:30am – 4:30pm