MARK Winterbottom is set to clock up his 523rd consecutive Supercars Championship race start when he lines up his #18 IRWIN Commodore on the grid for race one at Symmons Plains this weekend.
That whopping number is the most race starts in succession by any driver in the history of the Australian Touring Car Championship/Supercars Championship and is just a number of incredible records that the 2013 Bathurst 1000 winner and 2015 Supercars Champion has on his Supercars resume.
Winterbottom has competed in every Supercars Championship race from race one at Hidden Valley in Darwin in 2005 to the latest round at Sydney Motorsport Park in 2022 with no races missed due to car damage, mechanical dramas or personal illness in 17 straight years!
Rick Kelly has the second most consecutive race starts in history with 457 between 2002 (Canberra) to 2017 (Tasmania), while Shane van Gisbergen is the closest active driver to Winterbottom with 451 race starts between 2007 (Oran Park) and SMP in 2022.
Winterbottom also has the best start to finish percentage for all drivers in championship history who have started 300 or more races. He’s finished 95% of all races he has started – 533 finishes from 559 possible finishes.
Kelly (94.7%), Jamie Whincup (94.6%), van Gisbergen (94.4%) and Garth Tander (93.6%) round out the top five in that field.
Having made 43 race starts at Symmons Plains, Winterbottom will also pass Craig Lowndes and Jason Bright (each with 44 starts) for the most ATCC/Supercars race starts at the circuit in this weekend’s three-race round.
Not only has he started a near-record number of races at Symmons Plains, but Winterbottom has in fact finished all of them – an incredible 43 starts with 43 finishes between his first in 2004 and his last visit in 2021.
Only Lee Holdsworth (33 finishes from 34 starts at 97%), Will Davison (34 from 36 at 94%), van Gisbergen (31 from 34 at 91%) and James Courtney (32 from 36 at 89%) come close to that record for current drivers who have started more than 30 races at Symmons Plains.
Winterbottom is tied with Lowndes for third on the all-time pole position list in Tasmania with six (only Whincup with seven and Peter Brock with eight have more) and has also scored 11 podiums, which is the fourth most podiums by any driver at the circuit (one win, four seconds and six third places).
Winterbottom only sits behind Lowndes (12 podiums), Brock (15) and Whincup (20) for podiums at Symmons Plains.
After winning the Konica V8 Supercar Series (now Super2) in 2003 with Stone Brothers Racing, Winterbottom made his main-game debut for Larkham Motor Sport in 2004, moving to Ford Performance Racing (now Tickford Racing) in 2006 before switching to Team 18 for 2019.
Winterbottom is currently sixth on the all-time race starts list (561) and will equal Whincup this weekend for sixth on the all-time round starts list with 252.
Davison and James Courtney are the the closest active drivers to Winterbottom with 221 round starts each.
Winterbottom currently sits 13th in the championship standings, 153 points behind leader Chaz Mostert after round one at SMP.