Winterbottom working with Triple Eight ‘a strange feeling’

Mark Winterbottom follows Triple Eight’s Craig Lowndes

Mark Winterbottom has admitted the prospect of driving a Triple Eight built Holden and working with the squad will be a strange feeling next year.

The former Tickford Racing and Ford stalwart will switch brands next season in a deal that will see the 2015 series champion race a Commodore for Team 18, which will be known as Irwin Racing.

Winterbottom’s move will see him race a Holden for the first time, while the single car Team 18 outfit will operate a much closer alliance with Triple Eight.

The 37-year-old has spent the majority of his Supercars career attempting to beat the Brisbane squad and arch rival Jamie Whincup.

An opportunity to race in Triple Eight machinery proved a catalyst in making the move to Team 18 with Whincup even applauding his former title protagonist on the move. 

“That’s probably a strange feeling,” he said on Fox Sports’ Supercars Trackside.

“I’ve tried so many years to beat them and blood, sweat, tears, hours and hours trying to beat that team.

“But look at the data; eight championships out of the last 10.

“There’s a point where you try so hard to beat them and you can’t. 

“I’m looking forward to trying to drive that car and now go against them in the same equipment.

“I feel good about that. They are good drivers, they’re a great team, the results don’t lie.”

Winterbottom expects Team 18 and Triple Eight to work closely together next season and hopes to mirror the success Tekno Autosports have had racing the equipment.  

“I believe it will be very close,” added Winterbottom, when asked about the relationship between the two teams next year. 

“I’m sure they’re going to want to see what we’re doing because like when (Shane) van Gisbergen was at Tekno, he pushed them.

“And (Jamie) Whincup to his credit in New Zealand, he said to me, ‘you’ve made the right move, you’re going to love our equipment’.

“Although we’ve been fierce rivals, we’ve got respect for each other, so it’ll be cool to race them in the same gear, work with them and ultimately still try and beat them, but just work together.

“Hopefully we’re all up there fighting for a championship and we’re part of that mix.”

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