Team 18 can ‘get amongst it’ with move up pit lane
Saturday 24th October, 2020 - 6:00am
Charlie Schwerkolt says Team 18 can “get amongst it” in 2021 with a move up the Supercars pit lane having finished sixth in the teams’ championship this year.
This year the team grew from a one-car operation to a two-car set-up, adding Scott Pye and a host of new crew to its ranks alongside Mark Winterbottom.
Both drivers finished in the top 10 this year with ninth and 10th in the drivers’ championship respectively.
The season was highlighted by three podiums for Pye at Hidden Valley Raceway while Winterbottom was a regular top 10 finisher.
It’s a significant shift up the pit lane for the team, which was the top single-car outfit in 2019 in 11th.
With sixth in the teams’ championship, Team 18 will move ahead of the likes of Walkinshaw Andretti United, Brad Jones Racing, and Kelly Racing.
A mere seven points separated them from fifth placed Erebus Motorsport.
Speaking with Speedcafe.com, Schwerkolt making significant headway in the teams’ championship was a major achievement.
“I’m really stoked, really, really stoked,” said Schwerkolt.
“This year for a two-car team, I think we’re sixth in the championship in pit lane now order, that’s a big thing where we’re down this end. We can get up amongst it, which is a big help.
“Look, we’ve got the same equipment (as Triple Eight) and we got some smart people here and we’re really just learning how to do it properly and all that sort of stuff and fighting hard.
“Our drivers are just great. They’re class. And they’re only going to get better. I think we’re getting closer to up the front. Yeah, thrilled to bits.”
Schwerkolt said he was not surprised by the result despite this year being the team’s first as a two-car set-up,
Schwerkolt said the abilities of Pye and Winterbottom have been complemented by the likes of experienced heads Technical Director Phil Keed and Team Manager Steve Henderson.
“It’s a really good quality team of people,” Schwerkolt explained.
“It’s really, really bonded well. It doesn’t surprise me. They’re both really good drivers. There are good cars, good equipment, good people and all the ingredients are there.”
Team 18 capped off a strong season with a pair of top 10 finishes for its drivers.
Pye and co-driver Dean Fiore led the way with a sixth place finish while Winterbottom and his co-driver James Golding claimed eighth.
“All four drivers did a great job, they were really fantastic,” Schwerkolt said.
“They were all solid. We didn’t quite have the pace to the front runners up there. To finish six and eighth, for the first year of the two-car team, both cars are dead straight and bag of points, both cars into the top 10 in the championship, so I’m really, really stoked.
“The team’s been away for a hundred and something days or whatever it is, and they made huge sacrifices and they get both in the top 10. It’s for them. It really is for them and all their families, and I’m so happy for them.”