Mark Winterbottom’s confidence has been boosted by a new set-up direction trialled in his final test day of 2018 at Winton, despite losing time after shedding a wheel shortly after lunchtime.
Winterbottom has endured a difficult season, with a fifth place in Saturday’s race at the OTR SuperSprint only his third top five result of the season.
Although results didn’t show it during Sunday’s longer race, the 2015 champion believes the test has confirmed the gains made at Tailem Bend as the season moves into the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
“We verified some gains, which was good,” Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com.
“Tailem Bend was so different grip level, so it’s like a gradient of grip.
“You’ve got Tailem Bend being the top, Winton being pretty good grip, and Sandown being absolutely no grip, so you try and evolve across all tracks.
“Obviously it didn’t work that well for us Sunday over there but we did have gains and I think it’ll work at Sandown so we’re kind of testing for there effectively.”
The day wasn’t without incident, with Winterbottom stopping on track when the front-right wheel came off The Bottle-O Falcon at Turn 4, leaving tyre marks down the driver’s door.
“I don’t know what happened,” Winterbottom remarked.
“I just stopped because in testing you can. If you have something happen you can pull up obviously.
“There’s no penalty for stopping on-track in practice, so you minimise the damage and stuff like that.
“It’s just what happens on test days. People don’t see it, but it happens on test days.”
Winterbottom will again be partnered by Dean Canto for the Pirtek Enduro Cup, which starts with the Rabble.Club Sandown 500 on September 14-16.