Owen ready for role in V8 Supercars title fight
Steve Owen insists he isn’t feeling the pressure of carrying Mark Winterbottom’s V8 Supercars Championship hopes into the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
The 40-year-old’s second Enduro Cup campaign alongside the Prodrive ace is likely to be his most crucial with Winterbottom entrenched in a battle to secure an elusive V8 Supercars crown.
Pressure is starting to build on the series leader after witnessing team-mate Chaz Mostert cut his advantage to 174 points heading into next month’s Sandown 500.
With 900 points available across Sandown, Bathurst and the Gold Coast, the efforts of Owen and Mostert’s co-driver Cameron Waters have the potential to decide the title.
Owen, who is set for his 17th Bathurst 1000 drive, says he’s simply relishing the opportunity to race what is currently the pace-setting car in the championship.
The Melbourne-based driver’s best Mount Panorama result to date came in 2010 when he finished second alongside Jamie Whincup.
“The car is really quick as it’s leading the championship and in a lot of ways it’s less pressure than having to push on and carry something that is not quite right, like I’ve had to do in previous years,” Owen told Speedcafe.com.
“As much as everyone reckons it is a tough gig I think it is easier than having to race those guys in a car that is not as quick.
“I’ve gone there before with competitive cars and come pretty close but this is a huge opportunity for me.”
Owen however admits that the championship equation does factor into how a co-driver approaches the big races.
“If I was in a car that’s 20th (in the championship) going into Bathurst you either win or crash the thing,” he said.
“It is not that simple when you have the championship up for grabs.
“We want to go there and get a result but we are not going to put the thing upside down in the fence to try and win if the car is not quick enough.”
Unlike many of his fellow co-drivers, the two-time Dunlop Series winner heads to Sandown with limited race mileage after sporadic outings in the Australian GT Championship and Porsche Carrera Cup.
While confident in his own ability to quickly adapt to the Prodrive Falcon FG X, he is keen to secure a return to the Dunlop Series next season to aid future enduro campaign preparations.
“I’d love to do the Dunlop Series again because the more time you spend out of the seats full-time just makes it harder and harder to jump in and race,” Owen said.
“A few of the top co-drivers have been doing the Dunlop Series and it makes a big difference.
“I’d like to try and do that again but it is fairly expensive these days so we will see how we go.”
Owen has driven Winterbottom’s car during Friday practice at multiple events this year and will have a final chance to prepare for Sandown at the squad’s Winton test next week.