Prodrive Racing (Australia) believes the upcoming Darwin Triple Crown will play an important part in the team’s season, setting a direction for the remaining events following a recent test day at Winton Motor Raceway.
Mark Winterbottom has described the event as a ‘kick-starter’, providing a mid-season boost at a track that holds plenty of positives for the team at an event which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.
The team’s recent learning’s will be put to the test in Darwin with drivers hopeful of improvements in a number of areas.
On a roll of recent form, Cameron Waters is confident that a podium is within his reach in the Top End with consistency a continued focus for the 22-year-old.
Chaz Mostert will once again fight for the top step of the podium after enjoying a break from the world of Supercars. Competing in and winning a production car race last weekend, Mostert believes he is well prepared ahead of the challenging conditions he will face in Darwin.
Jason Bright has returned to Mark Winterbottom’s 2015 Championship-winning chassis for the Darwin event, one of his favourite on the calendar. Running in the chassis on the test day, Bright says his confidence continues to increase the more he spends valuable time in the driver’s seat.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
“Darwin is great. It’s been the kick-starter for us quite a few times in the past and historically has been quite good for us. Hopefully we can go up there, have a good weekend and get back on track a bit. It’s a good event to go to as well. It’s one I often take the family to and spend a bit of extra time up there if we can because it’s just such an awesome place. I’m keen to get back and see what we can put together after the test day.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
“Tests are really important. We don’t get many of them through the year so we really have to make the most of them. They’re long, hard days but it’s really beneficial for us to go there and try some things that we don’t get to try on a race weekend. I’ve had plenty of fourths lately and I’m getting that consistency so that’s really good but I’m so hungry for that first podium. Hopefully from the things we’ve tried at the test day we can make the car that little bit better and get our hands on a trophy. It’s good to go to Darwin because it’s nice and hot but it’s really hot in the car. It’s hard for us as drivers but it’s a really fun place. The track’s got a little bit of everything, a massive long straight and some really tight corners. It’ll be really close up there but if we can get the car working well we’ll have a shot.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
“It’ll be good to get back into it. I had a good weekend at Winton in the Focus RS production car, taking the overall win so I’m keen to get back into the Supercar now. The test day was really good for us as well. I think we’ve found a few little things so I’m really just keen to get up north. It’s an awesome event. It’s hot, the people are awesome, the crowds are always great and the atmosphere is even better. The track itself is really fun to race on but it’s tough for us out there with temperatures in the car getting up to 55 degrees or hotter. We got a podium there last year and I think if we can line everything up again we’ll have a good shot at standing up there again this year.”
Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
“I love going up there. It brings back fond memories of my first round win and as well as my first pole. I always look forward to going to Darwin and I’m hopeful that we can repeat what we did back then. It’s the 20th anniversary of the event and I’ve been there for all of them except for the year that I raced in America. It’s a great event and certainly one that I think every driver looks forward to. It usually puts on some good racing. Our test day was beneficial. It was good to just compare a few different setups that we’ve been through this year and get a feel for the car.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“The test day was very important for us and thankfully there were a lot of positives to take from it. Surface-wise Winton and Darwin are quite similar but temperature-wise they’re polar opposites. We believe we have made improvements but we have to remember that the two main teams that we’re competing against also had their test days over the break so there are no guarantees. As a team Darwin is always a good event to go to, the atmosphere is always fantastic so hopefully we can put on a good performance for our fans.”
EVENT NAME: Darwin Triple Crown
DATE: 16 – 18 June
LOCATION: Darwin, Northern Territory
EVENT NUMBER: 6 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 45-min practice; Saturday – 1 x 45 min practice, 1 x 15 min qualifying, 1 x 42-lap race, Sunday –1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x top-ten shootout, 1 x 70-lap race
CIRCUIT: Hidden Valley Raceway
LENGTH: 2.9-kilometres (anti-clockwise)
DESCRIPTION: Hidden Valley is a team favourite with multiple race wins recorded here over the years for PRA. The layout has the longest straight in the series, taking up 1.1 of the circuit’s 2.9 km length. The actual circuit is not considered overly difficult for the drivers, but the tropical heat – even in mid-winter, makes this without a doubt one of the toughest races on the calendar. The venue has produced some excellent races in the past and the Northern Territory fans are always out in force for this major event.
TRACK RECORD: 1m06.02s – Jamie Whincup, qualifying lap record (2016)
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Jason Bright (2006), Mark Winterbottom (2013, 2014), Chaz Mostert (2015)