IRWIN Racing driver Mark Winterbottom has been surprised on the eve of his 20th Bathurst 1000 start with a helmet paying tribute to the former Bathurst winner’s milestone start.

The helmet, designed by Trent Rogers of 6Star Custom Paint, features the map of the Mount Panorama Circuit with the title, “20th Bathurst 1000 start – 2022” as well as details of Winterbottom’s winning year in 2013 including the starting position and race time.

Winterbottom was surprised by his wife Renee and three kids, Oliver, Austin and Elliott who presented him with the helmet in the IRWIN Racing Team 18 pit garage on Thursday.

“It’s really cool, it’s an iconic stat for me with my 20th start in The Great Race this year,” said Winterbottom.

“Renee [Winterbottom] has organised a helmet for me which looks really cool, it’s got a nice addition on the back as a tribute so hopefully it brings me luck on the mountain this weekend.

“I always loved the shape of the Stilo helmet, a big thank you to them for getting the helmet as I know how hard they are to get at the moment, and Trent from 6Star does an amazing job and worked his magic, so a big thanks to everyone for making it happen.

“I can’t wait to put it on this weekend and hopefully it brings us some good luck.”

Winterbottom’s Bathurst form guide includes one win, two pole positions, two podiums and ten top ten finishes.

He will be joined Michael Caruso as his co-driver for the second successive year in The Great Race.

The Repco Bathurst 1000 kicks off today with cars hitting the track for two practice sessions, one at 11am for all drivers and another at 3:55pm for co-drivers.

All the action can be viewed live on Fox Sports and Kayo, with free-to-air coverage live on Channel 7 across the weekend, starting on Friday.