Prodrive Racing (Australia) will celebrate not one but two milestones at the upcoming Townsville 400 with the event marking the team’s 200th round in addition to veteran Jason Bright’s 250th Supercars round.
The team has claimed 62 race wins, 64 pole positions and 182 podiums in its first 199 rounds and is aiming to add to that tally during its milestone weekend.
Despite the significant achievement, Bright insists Townsville will be just like any other race weekend as he continues to aim for the top 10 in the MEGA Fuels entry.
With four pole positions and three race wins previously claimed in Townsville, Mark Winterbottom will look to add to his already impressive record in northern Queensland. Acknowledging the hard work that has been done between events, Winterbottom has expressed confidence in the PRA team, sure that if they are able to put together a strong car and strategy, a return to the podium is achievable.
Cameron Waters believes tyre life will be the key to strong results in Townsville with two, 70-lap races across the weekend.
Drivers will once again face hot, testing conditions at the street circuit with Chaz Mostert confident that the change in format has come at the right time. Mostert has taken advantage of an additional week off, holidaying in Townsville with family and his race crew before the team takes to the track for practice on Friday.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
“Townsville is a different sort of track. We’re back into street circuit form and a stop start type of car instead of a fast, flowing track. You’ve just got to stay confident. Back yourself, back the team and go forward. From a form guide point of view, Darwin doesn’t replicate results in Townsville so we’ve just got to keep going. We’ve got good people. We’ve just got to try and make some new bits, set a new direction and a new sort of track will also hopefully gives us results. In 2015 we had the double win on Saturday and Sunday. Last year we were on the podium and got a pole so it’s been a good track for us but you need the car to be underneath you to get the results and I think we can do that.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
“Townsville is a lot different obviously with the kerbs and you’re asking the car to do a few different things compared to what you did at Darwin. The format is two long hard races so we’ll need the tyre life up there and it is pretty hard on the body as well. The track isn’t super long and you don’t really get a break so it’s tough. For me, Townsville is a really cool track. I’ve always gone okay there so I’m pretty pumped to get up there.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
“I’ll be going up to Townsville a few days early with some of my crew and my family which is always a really fun trip. It’s a great way to relax and have a bit of fun before things get serious on the track. These guys all work so hard so it’s good to do this sort of thing. Townsville will probably be pretty tough. Darwin wasn’t one to remember for us but I know we can turn it around. Our de-brief after Darwin was really productive so we’ve definitely taken a lot from it. The two tracks are completely different and Townsville is always a lot of fun so I can’t wait to get there and reset on the season a little bit.”
Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford:
“It’s kind of crazy that my 250th event and the team’s 200th event have landed on the same weekend. I can’t believe I am at 250. I’ve had a lot of fun over the years and there have been a lot of great memories. I’m glad I’m still racing, having a lot of fun doing what I love and it’s great to be back at PRA again to share the team’s milestone. This won’t distract from how we go about the weekend. The car we had in Darwin was actually pretty good; we just needed to qualify well so that will be the focus in Townsville.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“This team has come such a long way since the beginning and I am incredibly proud of our achievements. It is a credit to all those who have worked here over the years and have made the team what it is today. We still have a lot of hard work to do but we’re all prepared to do it. My congratulations also go to Brighty. We’re honoured to have played a part in such a successful career. Townsville is a fantastic place to travel to and one of the best events on the calendar. We believe our cars will be more suited to this track so we are eager to get back into the fight at the front.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean return to the track after a two and a half month break from Supercars racing with two, 21 lap races to take place at the Townsville 400. Garry Jacobson is hopeful a test day between rounds will bolster the team’s performance, with the reigning champion of the belief that further podium results are achievable moving forward. Josh Kean will once again focus on consistency in Townsville with additional track time at Winton between events beneficial for the South Australian.
Garry Jacobson – #1 MEGA Bulk Fuels PRA Ford:
“It’s very exciting to be heading to Townsville. It’s been a long time between races for us so it’s going to be awesome to get out there. We have had a test day between our last event at Phillip Island and Townsville and I’ve been attending the main series events too to try and take on as much information as possible and to help us improve before the next event. I really want to get on that podium again and be back on the top step and that’s what we’ll be fighting for up there this weekend.”
Josh Kean – #5 Wynns Racing PRA Ford:
“Townsville is always a super fun event. The atmosphere is awesome, the fans are great and it’s always pretty chilled. I can’t wait to get back to it. I’ve been working pretty hard between races to get in the best shape possible for this event and to put my best foot forward. It’s been good to get back to the workshop this week and work closely with my engineer Sam (Scaffidi). We know we have the speed to be in the top five or 10, we just need to make sure we stay there.”
EVENT NAME: Townsville 400
DATE: 7 – 9 July
LOCATION: Townsville, Queensland
EVENT NUMBER: 7 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 40-min practice; Saturday – 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x 70-lap race; Sunday – 1 x 20min qualifying, 1 x Top 10 Shootout, 1 x 70-lap race
CIRCUIT: Reid Park
DESCRIPTION: Reid Park is a fast and flowing street circuit in a similar style and parkland setting to Albert Park – the home of the Australian Grand Prix. The venue quickly became a driver and fan favourite when it was added to the calendar due to its layout and location close to the centre of the city. The majority of the track uses specially-constructed roads, while the remainder is made of pre-existing local streets running through parks.
TRACK RECORD: 1m12.14s – Jamie Whincup, 2016 (qualifying)
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom (2010, 2015), Will Davison (2013)