Winterbottom upbeat despite test day dramas

Mark Winterbottom

Prodrive Racing Australia driver Mark Winterbottom was left upbeat following Tuesday’s test day at Winton, despite losing time with an engine problem.

The 2015 Supercars Champion headed into the day looking to find a cure to an inconsistent season, which has netted just a single podium this season.

His progress was hampered by an engine problem midway through the day, though he maintains the day was a step forward for the team.

“It’s the story of the year. You start making good momentum and then something comes and stops you,” Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com.

“That set us back a bit but the crew, that’s the hardest I’ve ever seen them work at a test day.

“We still got a good run at the end; we did a good time at the end, and sort of put everything in at once instead of progressing the way there to get a setup.”

Despite the dramas, Winterbottom believes his team still managed to accomplish its goal heading, which was to find a better base setup for the car.

“At the moment we’re just not getting it right every time. One car gets it, the other car gets it – it’s very hit and miss in that window that we’re operating in,” he explained.

“The set-up window is super small, so that’s what we tried to do; broaden that setup window and understand the tools that we’re working with.

“All four cars tried different things and you go completely out of your setup window and try to find the next window that the car works in, and hopefully that’s a bigger operating area.”

Winterbottom’s comments follow those made by team-mates Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters at the Winton SuperSprint, where Waters suggested the team has the pace to compete with DJR Team Penske and Triple 8.

“On our day there’s no doubt that we can match their speed but it’s very tentative to conditions,” Winterbottom agreed.

“You don’t revolutionise the cars in one test day, you don’t go a second quicker or anything like that, but if you can be quick every time you go out that’s been a productive test day.

“I’m happy with what we’ve done and with all the four cars we had a pretty good day.”

“We one hundred percent improved but how much does your competition improve?

“Though you never come out of it saying you’re going to the next race and you’re going to win, you come away with good confidence. That was nice because at a race weekend we haven’t really nailed it.

“We haven’t had massive successes with the dramas at the race track, so to actually fix something and come away with a result was a good day.

“Whether that translates into champagne and trophies we’ll have to see, but it was a good day and it was a nice feeling, which we haven’t really had much of this year.”

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