Winterbottom predicts wide open Supercars season

Mark Winterbottom is predicting a wide open year of Supercars racing, as the 2015 series champion looks to topple the dominant Triple Eight and DJR Team Penske squads.

Winterbottom predicts wide open Supercars season
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
 Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
 Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
 Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford
 Mark Winterbottom, Prodrive Racing Australia Ford

While last season was effectively fought out between Triple Eight and DJRTP from top to bottom, signs of a resurgence from Winterbottom's Tickford Racing crew in the back half of the year have given hopes of a wide open title battle this time around.

Those hopes are boosted by Tickford's bumper four-car driver line-up, which now includes star signing Richie Stanaway along with mega talent Chaz Mostert and one of the 2017's biggest improvers, Cam Waters.

Tickford isn't the only team with the potential make waves at the front of the field either.

With the introduction of the new ZB Commodore for the Holden teams, the ongoing improvement of the Erebus Motorsport squad led by Dave Reynolds, and the potential for a form turnaround at the newly-restructured Walkinshaw Andretti United outfit, Winterbottom reckons there's a fascinating season on the horizon.

"The new Commodore definitely looks stronger, so that fifth to 10th bracket could shrink to first to 10th," he told Motorsport.com.

"It's going to be an interesting year.

"Last year Penske and Triple Eight dominated, and we sort of got amongst them mid-to-late in the season... which was good.

"It could be three, it could be four, five, six teams going at it. That's the unknown, and that's the exciting thing about our sport. You have your benchmarks, and that's been Triple Eight over the last decade, but there's always people that step up and surprise you. Last year that was Penske, and Erebus is starting to perform as well.

"There are so many different options that can surprise you. Your Triple Eights will be there, but who fills the rest of the Top 10? It could be a cracking year."

Having already opened up on his desire to bounce back from his first winless season in over a decade, particularly in the final year of his current Tickford contract, Winterbottom says he's confident he can rediscover his front-running form.

He says the key is carrying over the same chassis he finished last year in, having only really started to make it consistently work for him at the back end of the season.

"I have the same chassis, which is good. That was our drama last year, a few little gremlins we had," he said.

"So to have what we finished with is nice, because I know there are no dramas with it. All of the little dramas we had at the start of the year are all ironed out.

"I can't wait [for the season to start]. We finished strongly, we finished with good momentum. I kind of didn't want last season to stop.

"I'm pretty pumped; I think the tyre will suit us a bit better as well. There are a few things changing that make me feel a bit more comfortable going into the season."

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