Prodrive Racing (Australia) is preparing for a seven car assault on this weekend’s Sydney SuperSprint where it will make its final stand ahead of the Supercars endurance season.
Joining the team’s four main series entries are the Ford squads two regular Super2 entries plus an additional second-tier entry for Enduro Cup driver Richie Stanaway who is making his solo race debut.
The team won last time out with Chaz Mostert in Queensland and following a strong performance he sits fifth overall, a little more than 100 points back from third. Mostert has claimed four of the last five poles at the circuit, plus two wins from his last five races at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Mark Winterbottom grew up not far from the venue and will be using local support to score a big haul of points heading into the busy last part of the year.
Jason Bright has always been in contention at the track over his long career and a recent uplift in qualifying pace has the potential to see him extend his count of 17 top 10 finishes since 1999.
Cameron Waters is enjoying a breakout season and despite only two Supercars race starts at the venue he is eager to push well inside the top 10 of the points before being joined by Stanaway for Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast 600.
Mark Winterbottom – #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford:
“I can’t wait to get to Sydney for my home race which is always special. We’ve adopted the #55 car’s philosophy on set-up which is obviously working and our car hasn’t been as consistent. I’ve wanted to do it and I’ve finally got the green light for it. I can’t wait to see what it does. We had a good team result previously which gives me confidence and I am pretty pumped up. Feeling fit and strong and really motivated.”
Cameron Waters – #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford:
“I’ve only been there once in a Supercar which was last year and I didn’t have the best round. But we’ve obviously had a pretty good year so far and been pretty consistent so I am confident we’ll have a good weekend. The plan is to keep learning and developing the car and get a little further up the front. Staying in the top 10 all weekend is the continued aim and that is no different heading to Sydney Motorsport Park.”
Chaz Mostert – #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford:
“I am very excited to go back to SMP. I didn’t realise the stats around our previous success but the car has been pretty lit there in the past. I am excited to be coming off the win at Queensland Raceway and there is no better time to be coming on form than heading into the enduros. This weekend is one more crack before we head into the longer races and we are eager to learn some new things, dial the car in and try and keep our strong tyre life going at a very high degradation track. I am excited to see if we’ve learnt something which we can apply to the car and get another strong result. If we can come away with a podium and some champagne it will be another cracking weekend.”
Jason Bright – #56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford:
“I am looking forward to heading to Sydney Motorsport Park as it is the only track I have driven the car at previously given we tested there at the start of the year. That should help things and following on from Queensland Raceway where I felt we made good progress with car set-up. I expect to be able to roll out of the truck reasonably strong.”
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
“Sydney Motorsport Park is a critical event for us as it’s the final chance to prepare for the Enduro Cup and to keep closing the gap to the leading quartet. Winning and being more consistent last time out in Ipswich was encouraging and we feel we can bring that performance to this weekend’s two races. Our qualifying form is ever improving and we’ll be looking to put all four cars in the top 10 for the third event in succession which would be the first time in Supercars history a team has done that. That would be a nice feat, but our race pace needs to be stronger and if we can qualify up front we will be in the hunt for the podium.”
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia)’s Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean will be joined by one-off team-mate Richie Stanaway for the Sydney Motorsport Park event. Stanaway is entered into the Super2 category in preparation for the upcoming Enduro Cup where he will partner Cameron Waters. Series regulars Jacobson and Kean have endured mixed results all year and plan to use the championship’s first races at the circuit in 12 years to improve their fortunes. A test day last week assisted the pair to further develop their understanding of the 2017 package leading into the second half of the season.
Garry Jacobson – #1 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford:
“We are still in high spirits and sometimes you don’t get the luck and that’s been the situation the last couple of rounds. I think that as long as we can get through a race weekend without any hassles and luck on our side we are definitely capable of mixing it with those guys. With our speed every time we look at qualifying and our races, we are just as quick as those guys and I think my race craft as well is capable to mix it with them. I think we are still doing things right and everyone is still in high hopes about stashing a couple of more race wins.”
Josh Kean – #5 Wynns Racing PRA Ford:
“I think it should be good. The test day last week allowed us to find a few little things and help develop the car to suit me more. I’ve raced at the track in the Kumho Series a few years back which gives me a starting point and PRA cars have worked pretty well there in the main series in recent years. We need a good result especially after the start I’ve had so a positive result and a move up the field is hopefully on the cards.”
Richie Stanaway – #6 PRA Ford:
“I am new to the Super2 series and I don’t really know the other drivers, or what to expect so I will just have to focus on doing my own thing and see where I end up. The best thing about being part of this team is there are so many drivers and engineers to bounce things off. I really enjoyed being part of the group last year so it is great to be back again and this weekend is a great chance to hone my skills before the enduros. We had a great test day last week so I am looking forward to seeing what we can do.”
EVENT NAME: Sydney SuperSprint
DATE: 18 – 20 August
LOCATION: Sydney, New South Wales
EVENT NUMBER: 9 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 2 x 45-min practice; Saturday – 1 x 45-min prac, 1 x 20-min qualifying, 1 x 31-lap race; Sunday – 1 x 20-min quali, 1 x 52-lap race
CIRCUIT: Sydney Motorsport Park
DESCRIPTION: The circuit formerly known as Eastern Creek has undergone a significant transformation in recent years and is now one of Australia’s premium motorsport facilities. The high speed, flowing layout requires maximum commitment in the fast turn one, while braking stability and tyre life are required to conquer this western Sydney layout.
TRACK RECORD: 1m30.912s – Garth Tander, 2012 (race)
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom (2008), Chaz Mostert x 2 (2015)