Driving for the Workforce 18 Holden squad the 2015 sequence champion completed final season a good 10th within the factors, his greatest race outcomes a pair of fourths in Darwin.
Nevertheless he was pipped in an enthralling battle with new teammate Scott Pye, who completed the season ninth, simply 20 factors forward of Winterbottom.
Whereas Pye was buoyed by spectacular race tempo, notably within the second half of the season, Winterbottom’s type trended the opposite approach.
He struggled for single-digit outcomes from Townsville onwards, eighth locations finishes at The Bend and Bathurst the uncommon highlights.
Mark Winterbottom, Workforce 18 Holden
Photograph by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics
In keeping with Winterbottom the problem was set-up, his automobile not reacting in the identical approach because the others within the Triple Eight/Workforce 18 knowledge share pool.
That tipped him off to a possible difficulty with the chassis, nonetheless, with the staff caught on the highway because of the pandemic, it wasn’t doable to correctly examine the problem.
It wasn’t till post-season that the crew have been in a position to return to base and strip down the automobile, which revealed cracks within the chassis.
“I bought again after the time away and stated ‘strip my automobile, there’s one thing incorrect with it’,” Winterbottom advised the Beneath the Bonnet podcast.
“We have been actually aggressive the primary 4 rounds of final yr, however then the set-ups and every little thing turned pear-shaped. We may by no means copy a Triple Eight automobile or [Pye’s] automobile after that. So I knew one thing was incorrect.
“It was extra about pulling the automobile aside, discovering issues, and once we discovered them, fixing them and shifting on with it. There have been a number of little issues there and some little extras we may placed on the automobile for this yr to make it the identical as [Pye’s] automobile.
“It is simply the way it was final yr; whenever you’re on the highway it’s extremely onerous to develop or restore of repair or enhance automobiles.
“I knew, rolling out on the take a look at day [in 2021], what we had could be significantly better.”
The chassis repair and upgrades has helped Winterbottom to a promising begin to the brand new season, with 11th his worst outcome from the 5 races thus far.
That is given him a helpful early break over teammate Pye, who’s simply 14th within the standings, nonetheless Winterbottom swears he isn’t focussed on on the intra-team battle.
“To be trustworthy I do not give attention to [Pye] in any respect,” he added.
“I feel you have bought the give attention to the bloke that is profitable. We will have a look at [Shane] van Gisbergen’s knowledge, so for the time being if he can win, I am making an attempt to beat him. If we beat him we win the race.
“I do not get into the staff/driver rivalry an excessive amount of. I do know if you happen to’ve bought the tools, the outcomes will handle themselves.
“So it is not a lot motivation, we’re motivated anyway. For those who’re not motivated you’d hand over. Scott did properly final yr, however in no way is he my motivating issue. I’ve bought sufficient starvation myself.”