Team 18 has announced that it has signed a two-year contract extension with Mark Winterbottom.
The new deal means that the 2013 Bathurst 1000 winner and 2015 Supercars champion will remain with the Melbourne-based squad until the end of the 2022 Supercars season.
After a long-standing stint as a factory Ford driver, Winterbottom signed with the Charlie-Schwerkolt owned squad in 2019, taking the wheel of the #18 IRWIN Racing entry.
After placing 13th in his maiden year with the squad, Winterbottom sits ninth with three top fives, 13 top 10s and a best qualifying effort of third heading into the final event of the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at Mount Panorama this weekend.
Winterbottom, 39, will continue in the #18 Commodore together with Scott Pye as his team mate in the 2021 season, who joined the Mount Waverley-based outfit in the DEWALT Racing Holden Commodore as Team 18 expanded to two cars in 2020.
The new deal will mean that Winterbottom will help spearhead the team through the introduction of the Gen3 technical regulations, set to kick off in 2022.
Winterbottom and co-driver James Golding will hit the track today for two practice sessions and qualifying for the 2020 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
driver, #20 IRWIN Racing Holden ZB Commodore
“It’s great to confirm that I have re-signed with Charlie and Team 18 for the next two years,” said Winterbottom.
“There was never a doubt that I was going to stay. It’s a really close knit team, and the bonds we have created during these COVID times, being on the road together, has brought everyone really close. You can sense that we are on the edge of creating something very special.
“Charlie and I definitely share the same vision for the direction of where we need to go. He has developed a really strong culture in the team and he is always open to new ideas from myself and all of our staff.
“The improvements that we have made in a short space of time is very encouraging. Charlie has shown his commitment to the sport by increasing to two cars this year, and you can see how much that has helped. Both our cars are in the top 10 in the championship, and we go into the Bathurst 1000 this weekend as a genuine chance to pull off a big result.
“It’s great that I’m secure in the team as we head into the new Gen3 regulations too. That will become a huge focus for us and I’m keen to ensure that Team 18 launches into that era at the front of the field. Anytime Supercars bring in new regulations, we see a big mix up in results. That is a great challenge, so I can’t wait to see what the cars are like and take advantage of it.”
Team owner, Team 18 – IRWIN Racing & DEWALT Racing
“I’m thrilled to sign Frosty for another two years, since we lured him away from the factory Ford squad at the end of 2018 he has become an integral part of building the team and brand of Team 18,” said Schwerkolt.
“He’s amazing with sponsors, everyone at IRWIN Tools, Bunnings and all of our partners absolutely love dealing with him and and he’s an incredible ambassador for their brands.
“It was a no-brainer to put pen to paper on this signing. He’s the real deal and he shares my vision for the team as we continue to build the relationship with the sponsors and the performance side of the team.
“Frosty’s knowledge of the sport and the respect he has in pit lane has certainly helped to build the best team around us, getting (engineer) Phil Keed and some of the other recruitments we’ve made have really been attributed to his knowledge and assistance.
“With Gen3 coming on in 2022, his input will be invaluable and having continuity within the team and our drivers will be critical in the changing phase of the sport.
“It’s a long journey to become a genuine contender in this championship, you need the best people around you and having Frosty with the same vision as me is so important.”