Team 18 are ready to kick off the Repco Supercars Championship this weekend with the Beaurepaires Sydney Supernight at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Sydney-born driver Mark Winterbottom heads into his 19th season in the main game and will represent IRWIN Racing for the third year running, while Scott Pye will carry new colours for the season opener in the Seiko 5 Sports Supercar.
While team personnel has carried an element of continuity into this season, this weekend marks the first outing for several new internal roles. John Moore will fill the role of Team Manager for the commencement of the season, Lead Engineer Richard Hollway works with Scott Pye for the first time in a competitive outing, while data engineers Mark Sylvester and Rory Jackermis will dedicate their efforts to Pye and Winterbottom’s entries respectively.
This weekend’s format will see two 77-lap, 300-kilometre sprint races with the grid set by a 15-minute qualifying session and a Top 10 Shootout. Teams will have access to one set of Dunlop Super Soft tyres for each race as well as the soft tyre compound, however the threat of rain may bring Dunlop’s wet tyre compound into play.
Pye heads to Sydney anticipating an exciting weekend of racing and looks forward to the atmosphere that the night racing spectacle creates for the fans.
Winterbottom sees the first round as a ‘great test’ for the team after the efforts put in by the engineers and mechanics in the off-season to prepare for our fifth event at Sydney Motorsport Park out of the last six.
This weekend’s races can be viewed live and free on the Seven Network, with Saturday’s racing on 7Mate and Sunday’s action on Channel 7. Every session will also be broadcast live on Fox Sports, with practice kicking off at 3:15pm on Friday afternoon.
Scott Pye, driver #20 Seiko 5 Sports Holden ZB Commodore
“Coming back to Sydney Motorsport Park to kick off the year under lights is really cool, it’s somewhere that we all know so well after doing so many races here last year.”
“I think it’s going to be really competitive, we have two big races, 300 kilometres, we have the super soft tyre thrown in there as well so there’s going to be a bit of risk in our strategy, who knows how long that tyre will last and how the weather might affect things.”
“I think we will see some really exciting racing and to do it under lights is something that’s always good fun from a driver’s perspective and the atmosphere under lights for the fans is like nothing else.”
Mark Winterbottom, driver #18 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“It’s good to go back to Sydney Motorsport Park, I think we spent the four weekends there last year, some rounds were really good for us but some were really bad, so it’s a good test because we’ve done so much work over the off-season.”
“You want to go back to the tracks that were hard, I don’t want to go back to Sandown or Darwin straight up, you want to go back to the hard ones so it’s a great test for us and if we do well there then we’ve proven we’ve made gains, but if we haven’t then we’ll have to keep working harder.”
Beaurepaires Sydney SuperNight, 4-6 March
Practice 1 – 3:15pm (40 minutes)
Practice 2 – 6:10pm (40 minutes)
TV Times, Fox: 1:00pm to 7:00pm AEDT
Qualifying (Race 1) – 2:45pm (15 minutes)
Top 10 Shootout – 4:30pm
Race 1 – 7:10pm (77 laps)
TV Times, Fox: 12:15pm to 9:45pm AEDT
TV Times, 7Mate: 4:30pm to 9:30pm AEDT
Qualifying (Race 2) – 10:50am (15 minutes)
Top 10 Shootout – 12:05pm
Race 2 – 2:30pm (77 laps)
TV Times, Fox: 8:00am to 6:00pm AEDT
TV Times, Channel 7: 12:00pm to 5:00pm AEDT