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Winterbottom, Reynolds swap cars at Winton

MARK Winterbottom and David Reynolds swapped cars at today’s Winton pre-season test as part of Team 18’s mission to get a better handle on its Gen3 Camaros.

Charlie Schwerkolt’s outfit won a race last year, via Winterbottom at Hidden Valley, but otherwise struggled.

The first on-track step towards a better 2024 began with a “solid, mechanical test plan” which saw recruit Reynolds turn his maiden laps in a Chevrolet Supercar and Winterbottom join forces with new engineer Som Sharma.

“We’re not really looking at lap times too much, it’s very much about feeling and feedback and philosophies,” explained team principal Adrian Burgess.

The former Supercars head of motorsport is making no secret of his ambitions at Team 18.

“We’re all competitive people, we all want to be winning races,” said Burgess.

Adrian Burgess chats with Craig Hasted. Pic: Ross Gibb

“As a group, you have got to learn to walk before you try to run, but we’re not here to flog around at the back, we’re here to be competitive.

“I’d call running in the top 10 competitive, but once you’re in the top 10 you want to be in the top six, and then you want to be on the podium.

“We’ve all tasted success before, we’re all motivated to work together and improve as a group and we want to win races. There’s no point pretending we don’t – of course we do. We shouldn’t be here if we don’t.

“But is that achievable in the short term? We’ll keep working.

“They won a race last year, but do they know why they won a race last year? If they did, they probably would have recreated it at a few other tracks.

“So we have got to have generally a better understanding of the car, what makes it work, what doesn’t make it work, and that’s the task at the moment.”

David Reynolds’s #20 Tradie Beer Camaro. Pic: Ross Gibb

Important to that process was the chance to have Winterbottom drive the Tradie Beer #20 and Reynolds steer the DeWalt #18.

“It’s not something the team has done before but I think it’s important,” Burgess explained.

“If you’re trying to understand if you have got an issue with one car or the other, it’s good for both drivers to be able to drive each other’s cars.

“A lot of teams do it a lot of the time. It’s certainly not something these guys were doing last year but for sure it has added some value and given us some more knowledge.

“It’s good for the engineers, it’s good for the drivers.

“We think we’re making some good progress relative to the car last year and the performance last year, but what happens here today is not about lap time, it’s about gaining knowledge and gaining confidence.”

Team 18’s next track outing will be at Mount Panorama for Round 1 of the 2024 Repco Supercars Championship on February 23-25.

Mark Winterbottom. Pic: Ross Gibb
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