Prodrive Racing Australia boss Tim Edwards has praised the hard yards put in by young gun Cameron Waters in the off-season following his impressive showing at the Clipsal 500.
Waters emerged as one of the standout drivers from the weekend after delivering arguably his most complete performance since stepping up to the main game last year.
The 22-year-old converted top 10 qualifying berths into a career best equalling fourth in Saturday’s race followed by an eighth in Sunday’s final leg.
His impressive drives follow an intense off-season that saw the Mildura driver head to the UK to work with a driver coach to improve his race craft.
Team boss Edwards believes the move is paying dividends having witnessed a far more mature approach from the 2015 Dunlop Series winner.
“He has put in the hard yards and he has done a lot to improve himself,” said Edwards.
“We have worked with him on that by making sure he has the right people around him.
“It has been a shared responsibility to improve him and that is what he needed.
“He had 30 laps under pressure on Saturday but he managed to close the gap to the two in front, he drove really well. It was really smart and mature driving.
“He will earn respect from the other drivers driving like that.
“If they think they can pick on you, they will. You’ve got to establish yourself and say ‘I’ve got elbows too’.
“The whole weekend he ticked all the boxes. He did a solid job.”
Waters admitted his Clipsal 500 performances had exceeded his expectations with the Victorian hoping his form will continue for the remainder of the year.
The Monster Energy Racing driver has also benefitted from a change in engineer with Brad Wischusen moving to the #6 car in the off-season.
“It was an awesome weekend, it’s exactly what I wanted to achieve this year, and for the opening round obviously,” Waters told Speedcafe.com.
“I think it was above expectations. I thought I was probably easily going to be in the (top) 10 but to grab fourth, that was unreal.
“For me, last year just wasn’t very consistent, I was hot and cold and this is probably my first weekend where I’ve been consistent across a whole weekend and inside the top 10.
“I hope I go to the Australian Grand Prix and Tasmania and do exactly the same thing.
“I just want consistent weekends and always be inside the top 10.
“I think we can do that across the year. My relationship with Brad (Wischusen, engineer) is only going to grow and I think we can get this Ford a bit further up the front.”
Waters will return to the wheel when the Supercars Championship heads to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix for the non-championship meeting from March 23-26.