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Why Winterbottom is upbeat about repeating Darwin win

THE annual sojourn to Darwin is when Team 18 has typically sprung to life – and 2023 was no different, as Hidden Valley proved the scene of its very first Supercars win.

But for driver Mark Winterbottom, it’s not what he and the team achieved last year that has them excited.

“We go there again full of confidence, not because we won last year but because of what we’ve learned in that 12 months between last year and now,” he said.

“You think if you do the same, you get the same result, but everyone lifts that bar and if you don’t go with it, you get left behind.

“We think we’re good enough to get a result there, but by no means are we getting last year’s set-up in the car, we’ve evolved from where we are. So we’ll see how we go.”

As is now tradition, Darwin is Supercars’ Indigenous Round, and Team 18 has once more turned to the services of Kalkadoon artist Chern’ee Sutton to pull together an inspired #18 DeWalt livery.

“Indigenous Round is one of my favourite rounds,” said Winterbottom.

“We get to unveil our great livery with DeWalt celebrating a hundred years and NAIDOC week’s theme of ‘Keep the Fire Burning’. The DeWalt Camaro looks pretty fast and pretty flash.

Pic: Supplied

“My favourite part of the car is the shield, which resembles a hundred years of DeWalt strength, reliability and durability which are all the things I need as a driver to get this race car up the front.

“Last year was great to win. Any round is great to win, but when you can run a car that’s got history and meaning and all the work that Chern’ee puts in, to get that car across the line first does mean a little bit more.

“She’s been great with what she’s done for us the last few years and it’s very special to have her do our artwork and my job is to repay the faith and put that car up the front.”

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