Team 18 drivers Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye made strong strides forward to finish in seventh and 11th respectively in Race 17 of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship at the NTI Townsville 500.

Right from the start, both drivers got off to a clean and promising start, positioning themselves well for the challenging race ahead. Winterbottom charged through the field from a starting position of 20th, ultimately finishing in a remarkable seventh place. His strong race pace proved to be a pivotal factor in the race, showcasing his ability to move up through the grid during the pit stop cycle

During Lap 36, a safety car was deployed due to debris on the circuit, resulting in both cars coming in for a double stack pit stop. Winterbottom, having already completed his first compulsory stop six laps earlier, only took on a top-up of fuel.

Meanwhile, Pye faced some challenges during the race, including a rear diffuser issue caused by a hit from behind and a tyre issue during his second stint, Pye showed his determination by clawing his way back from the to an impressive tenth position. Pye showed blistering pace on his charge, resetting the lap record at Townsville with a 1:15.1422 lap. Ultimately, he crossed the finish line in 11th place, scoring crucial points to his championship campaign.

The team’s consistent performance across the weekend propelled them to advance one position in the teams championship, now sitting at an impressive fifth place. 

Winterbottom’s progress also led him to break into the top ten in the drivers standings, while Pye made substantial gains, moving up to 13th place.

With their strong showing in Race 7, Team 18 is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming Sydney Supernight, set to take place from 28th to 30th July at Sydney Motorsport Park.


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

Qualifying: 12th (1:13.2562)

Race 17: 11th (Fastest Lap: 1:15.1422)

“Today was looking like we were in for a shot at a podium, but the middle stint after a safety car, we had a bad set of tyres, we’re still trying to work out exactly what happened, but it was terrible. We dropped well out of contention to dead last again, but when we put the next set of tyres on, everything came back to normal and I drove back through to 11th. 

“It was disappointing especially with what could have been, but also showed what speed we did have and without the little hiccup in the middle stint there, I think we were certainly a top five at worst.

“I’m a little bit frustrated at what could have been, but it’s not too bad. It gets things back on track. Car speed this weekend was phenomenal in the races, qualifying was pretty good as well. It was so extremely close, we qualified 12th today and only a few hundredths out of the top 10. 

“There were huge improvements really from my side of the garage. We’ve got a bit of work to do with heading to Sydney Motorsport Park now. It’s a very different circuit, high speed, long flowing corners, so we’ll put our heads together and see what we come up for that weekend.”

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

Qualifying: 20th (1:13.5700)

Race 17: 7th (Fastest lap: 1:15.7136)

“It was an interesting weekend here in Townsville. We passed a lot of cars, but you want to be at the front without passing anyone, so qualifying was a real battle for us in 21st and 20th.

“It was really hard to get a lap time out of it, but both days we moved forwards ten spots and 13 spots, so we had good race pace.

“Ultimately if we qualified better I think we had a good chance of a podium again, which is promising.

“It’s a tough car and really only need little things to go right to put you further up the grid. 

“All in all, we’re straight. We survived. To be seventh and 11th from 21st and 20th and to be top ten in the points, we’ll take that.”