Ford Performance Racing mainstay Mark Winterbottom believes that his soon-to-be team-mate Chaz Mostert has all the attributes required to become a superstar of the sport.
“He’s an incredible talent,” Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com of Mostert.
“The hardest thing in V8 Supercars is to go out in qualifying and nail it and that is what he can do.
“I can see him being a future star for sure.”
Mostert moved into the V8 Supercars Championship with FPR customer outfit Dick Johnson Racing in May, where he fulfilled the pre-event prediction of Winterbottom that he would qualify in the top 10 on debut.
Despite having missed the first six races, Mostert has since climbed to 19th in the points standings, claiming a maiden with at Ipswich in August along the way.
Winterbottom, 31, said that Mostert reminds him very much of himself at a similar stage.
“I can see Chaz where I was in 2006 when I joined the team. He’s a young bloke with potential and he’s very, very hungry and very driven.
“I have liked working with Will (Davison) and when he leaves you get a new young bloke in.
“I feel Chaz has come through the same path (as me). With no money, he’s been given an opportunity here and there and he takes it every time. We work very well together.”
Mostert’s road to V8 Supercars saw a move from karts to the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 2008 at just 16 years of age.
He took the coveted title three seasons later; the same year that he made an impressive V8 Supercars debut in the Dunlop Series at Bathurst with Miles Racing.
Starting 2011 with Miles, Mostert’s clear talent saw him ushered into an FPR entry for the final events of the season.
Proving the pace-settter for much of the 2012 Dunlop Series, the youngster lost the title after a sucession of late-season errors.
Mostert returned to win the opening round of this year’s second-tier class with MW Motorsport before being promoted into the main game.
Winterbottom, who is 10 years Mostert’s senior, has meanwhile sealed a fresh contract with FPR that will see him through to the end of the 2016 season.
He said that he has remained loyal because if it wasn’t for Ford he would not be in the sport.
“I’ve never really been on the market. I’ve always been signed up. I’ve never really been tempted to go to another team,” Winterbottom said.
“I look back to 2002 when Ford got me in the sport and I look back and I wouldn’t be in there if it wasn’t for their support.”
Winterbottom won a Ford Kartstars Scholarship in 2001, awarding him a subsidised drive in the Australian Formula Ford Championship for the following season.
Finishing second in points to Jamie Whincup, Winterbottom spent a single victorious year in the V8 Supercars Development Series in 2003 before stepping up to V8 Supercars with Larkham Motorsport and eventually FPR.
After winning Bathurst earlier this month, Winterbottom and his co-driver Steven Richards will attempt to continue their form at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 starting tomorrow.
See below for Speedcafe.com’s Gold Coast Race Guide