Mark Winterbottom will drive the Number 18 Holden Commodore as Team 18 operates as IRWIN Racing in the 2019 Supercars Championship.
Winterbottom has made the move to join Charlie Schwerkolt’s single-car IRWIN Racing outfit for 2019 after announcing he would part ways with Tickford Racing after 13 years earlier this month.
The 37-year-old brings with him a variety of impressive accolades to Team 18, including a 2013 Bathurst Win, 2015 Supercars Season Championship and over 30 wins and 100 podiums to his name.
“I’m really excited, it was a big call to go to Team 18 but now I’ve met the team and Sponsors and seen what’s coming it’s really exciting. I think it’s going to be a good year and when it all comes out about the staff and sponsor everyone will understand why I’ve made the move and it’ll make more sense,” Winterbottom said of moving to Schwerkolt’s outfit.
Winterbottom is looking forward to having a smaller crew with one goal and is prepared to take on any challenges that come with running in a single-car outfit.
“A small team is refreshing; to have the whole team working together for one goal and all working together. Every person has to deliver to get the result and that’s myself, the engineers, everyone.
“I’m sure there will be some difficulties like pit stops and data sharing but in saying that with the weaknesses comes the strengths and having 10 to 12 crew with one goal and having a little family going racing is going to be a great approach.”
Winterbottom’s move to Team 18 means he will be behind the wheel of a Holden Commodore for the first time in his shining career.
“I haven’t thought about the badge to be honest.” Winterbottom said.
“I’ve looked at the opportunity not the brand of car and haven’t quite come to terms with that at the moment but from the inside they all look the same and I think the opportunity that Charlie and Team 18 offered was too good to turn down.
“The Holden will be different but at the same time if we are winning races I’ll be happy to do it in whatever equipment we have.”
Newly announced 2019 Major Sponsor IRWIN Tools previously spent 7 years in the Supercars Championship before leaving the category in 2013.
Team Owner Charlie Schwerkolt is ecstatic to see the iconic brand return to Australia’s largest touring car racing category with Team 18.
“It’s really great to bring the IRWIN name back into Supercars, it’s such an iconic brand, it was in the sport for many years and it still is around the world in sports like Nascar. To bring them back into the sport under the Stanley Black and Decker Group is really exciting,” Schwerkolt said of the return.
The international powerhouse has elected to return to Australia’s highest level of Motorsport to promote their Hand Tools & Power Tool Accessories that are now available in Bunnings Warehouse’s around the country.
Schwerkolt has also confirmed there are more announcements to come around the Team’s 2019 plans in the following weeks.
“To have Mark drive with us in 2019 is really big, he brings a whole range of experience and accolades to Team 18,” Schwerkolt said.
“We’ve got some new engineering and partnerships forming which will take us to a new level in 2019.
“We have more to announce in coming weeks but I can’t wait to reveal the car next year.”