When Winton rolls around it’s time for some good old fashion style racing, a little bit of country and making sure you’ve packed the thermals.
A bonfire while belting out classic songs is preferable and no doubt the crowds have it all figured out, but for us it’s about getting rugged up and navigating the worrisome Winton track.
Our history with Winton is quite simple – it doesn’t seem to be the place our drivers can grab a win, or at least not just yet.
Podiums – yes and don’t think for a second that we can just disregard breaking the dry spell, but we all know it’s just not the same as a win.
As we continue to glare at the stats the facts remain the same; it’s been 14 races since Jamie ‘J-Dub’ Whincup’s last pole at Winton AND he hasn’t won a race at Winton since 2012.
But J-Dub thinks we just need to keep our fingers crossed (maybe toes, arms, legs and eyeballs too?).
“We made a massive step up from Phillip Island to Perth so the key to this weekend is to keep the momentum as we certainly don’t want to drop back into the wilderness,” he said.
“It’s about having a good car rolling out of the truck on Saturday morning with a 40-minute practice session.”
With a co-driver session also scheduled before Race 1, maybe a certain ‘someone’ touching the car with give J-Dub some good juju.
“Lowndsey reckons he tunes the car up for me in the two laps he does so fingers crossed he can work his magic.”
The focus remains on etching our way back to the top, rather than talking about the competition, who seem to favour the tight-knit Winton track.
“Any win at the moment is extremely difficult with the current level of competition but if we can be as competitive as Perth, we will rate that as a win,” said J-Dub.
Meanwhile, Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen’s two podium finishes in 2018 raises the team’s spirit level, ever so slightly (maybe?).
SVG now has three from three consecutive podium race finishes at Winton but he doesn’t get too far ahead of himself with thoughts about another two podium finishes this weekend.
“We just have to keep the momentum going, keep scoring points and make no mistakes.
“We got good form coming out of Perth, so we need to continue scoring top five, keep the points accumulating and achieving anything better is an added bonus,” he said.
That added bonus however, may not just be the podium finishes or the chilly, cold and wintry Winton weather.
Located about 220 km north of Melbourne it really does make you wonder, what is it about Winton that keeps us going back for more.
“It’s a round that has a huge fan base of old school Motorsport fans that want to camp, sit on the hill with the eskis and watch the cars go around the track.
“It’s an important round for us to keep the category available to the different variety of fans,” said J-Dub.
SVG agrees, pointing out the traveling fans make the round special with their unique camping atmosphere.
“It’s a track that’s been on the calendar for many years and hopefully it stays there as we can’t forget events like Winton,” he said.
So, get bundled up, grab your chilly bin and watch some racing as you never know what awaits around the next corner (or round in this case).
Winton will begin warming up from Friday, May 24 and we have all the live race updates throughout the weekend on Twitter.
Jamie’s Predictions for Winton:
Fastest lap time on the track – 01:19.50
Who’s the one to watch in Winton – Richie Stanaway
Biggest Challenge in Winton – Keeping your socks dry.
Three words to describe Winton – Tight and twisty.
Favourite moment in Winton – Coming from 20th to win Race 1 in 2007.
Shane’s Predictions for Winton:
Fastest lap time on the track – 01:32.00
Who’s the one to watch in Winton – Victorian Teams
Biggest Challenge in Winton – Pulling sixth gear.
Three words to describe Winton – Middle of nowhere.
Favourite moment in Winton – One-two-three kiwi podium finish in 2018