Mark Winterbottom shows off new-look Irwin Racing ride

Mark Winterbottom

Mark Winterbottom will once again carry a bright blue and yellow colour scheme under the Irwin Racing moniker in 2020.

The Melbourne-based operation will this year expand to two cars for the first time, Winterbottom will be joined by fellow Supercars long-stay Scott Pye, whose livery is expected to be revealed on Tuesday evening.

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With a Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 win in 2013 and a Virgin Australia Supercars Championship title in 2015 to his name, Winterbottom is hoping to find success again in 2020.

“It’s great to reveal the new look for the Irwin Racing Commodore for the 2020 season,” said Winterbottom.

“I have learned a lot from last year that we can carry forward and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice this year.

“2019 was a very new year for me swapping over from Ford to Holden. I definitely feel a lot more comfortable now and although the team has expanded in the off-season we’ve retained a lot of the same crew and complimented them with some new people.

“The Supercars Championship is such a tough category, as every year you have to improve or be left behind.”

Expectations were high for Winterbottom heading into 2019 with a Triple Eight Race Engineering-built Holden Commodore ZB.

Two top 10 finishes at the Adelaide 500 started off a strong run, which led to a maiden pole position for the team at Symmons Plains.

The team came close to getting a podium on several occasions but fell short with two fourth place finishes its best results.

Winterbottom comes into the new season with anticipation the team can build on their performance from last year.

“Hopefully there is a good year coming up for the team with the package we have put together,” he said.

“At the start of the year everyone wants to win and that’s instinct from a driver. Inconsistency let us down last year.

“We got pole position in Tasmania last year and then we qualified 20th at Phillip Island so we need to make sure our good tracks remain strong and our troubling tracks become better.

“It’s been a busy off-season for Team 18, but we’re really confident heading into this year that we can perform better.

“Everyone has worked really hard and I want to get the Irwin Racing Commodore at the front to reward the team for their efforts.”

The team’s engineering group will once again be fronted by Phil Keed.

The team has also brought on Manuel Sanchez, formerly of Garry Rogers Motorsport, as Race Engineer, and Mark Sylvester as Data Engineer for Winterbottom.

This season marks the second year that Winterbottom has run with Irwin Racing, which is led by team owner Charlie Schwerkolt.

“We’re really excited to get it on the track for the 2020 season,” said Schwerkolt.

“It is also great to have Mark Winterbottom back with the team in 2020. He is an amazing guy and a champion driver.

“We all know how well he can drive, he’s won Bathurst, he’s won the championship, and he’s been the foundation of the rebuild of Team 18.”

The new season gets underway next week, firstly with the BP Ultimate SuperTest at The Bend Motorsport Park on February 18.

The Superloop Adelaide 500 hosts Round 1 of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship on February 20-23.

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