Winterbottom’s plea to incoming Supercars owners

Mark Winterbottom. Picture: Dewi Jones

Champion driver Mark Winterbottom has a simple request of the soon-to-be new owners of Supercars: make use of the country’s best categories to deliver more blockbuster events.

This year’s Repco Bathurst 1000 will provide a new sort of spectacle, with the Supercars Championship to be supported for the first time by Supercheap Auto TCR Australia, which has traditionally been viewed as the enemy.

But with the Australian Racing Group – which owns S5000, TCR and other popular categories – part of the consortium buying Supercars, the option of running in conjunction appears far more feasible in the future.

That excites Winterbottom, with fans to get better bang for their buck.

“I think Bathurst coming up is a good showcard of what we could do – not being threatened by other categories but actually having big cards on weekends,” Winterbottom told Speedcafe.com.

“The ticket price is expensive, there’s no hiding behind it, but if you’re paying for something and getting all the best categories from the country there, I think it’s fantastic.

“I’m looking forward to Bathurst, just to see how it rolls out.

“Even as a driver, back in the day you were across everything… you really probably spectated a lot more back 10 years ago than what we do now.

“And I don’t know if that’s formats or support categories or whatever it is, but I find now when someone says ‘did you watch that race’, you go ‘oh I didn’t see it’.

“So I’m looking forward to Bathurst; I’ll watch TCR, I’ll watch [Team 18 co-driver Michael] Caruso in that category, S5000 I’ll watch [James] Golding and those guys, you kind of have an interest in all the different categories.

“And even when I’m not at the track and they’re on TV, I’m finding myself watching TCR and those sorts of categories. So if they’re all there, I think the value of the ticket, that’s big.

“And then if the media start promoting these super events and you get more crowds and more people watching the TV, well then that’s a win because it’s entertaining.”

Regardless of the ownership factor, the transaction for which is in the final stages as Archer Capital and Supercars’ teams sell their stakes to TLA Worldwide/TGI Sport/ARG, Winterbottom said the championship shouldn’t fear TCR.

“Don’t be scared of the competition; embrace it, run with it,” urged the 2015 title winner.

“I’m never threatened by anything ever in life, whether it’s other drivers or whatever it is, and definitely not by other categories.

“If you can really increase the show, it’s only going to make our sport more valuable anyway, so I look forward to seeing what happens there.”

Perched seventh in the 2021 standings, Winterbottom is under contract for next year at Team 18.

The 2021 Bathurst 1000 festival will be held across six days: November 30 to December 5.

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