Winterbottom at Willowbank for New Year's drag racing

Winterbottom books a seat at Willowbank spectacular. Queensland's reigning Konica V8 Supercar series titleholder and recently appointed 2004 Orrcon Racing car driver, Mark Winterbottom is set for a methane-charged change of pace at Willowbank ...

Winterbottom books a seat at Willowbank spectacular.

Queensland's reigning Konica V8 Supercar series titleholder and recently appointed 2004 Orrcon Racing car driver, Mark Winterbottom is set for a methane-charged change of pace at Willowbank Raceway next weekend.

The 22-year old has booked a seat beside Australian drag racing's Pro Stock front-runner Tony Wedlock as part of a huge day/night, new year program that features Top Fuel and Top Alcohol professional brackets.

"There's always that underlying desire for power and speed that people involved in motorsport possess and when we offered Mark the opportunity for a drive with Tony he jumped at the chance," said Willowbank Raceway General Manager Harry Rowsell.

"As the Ford young gun settles into his new role under the direction of Mark Larkham following a highly successful year with Stone Brothers Racing, I'm sure he'll appreciate the chance to hang loose in the passengers seat during our huge new year program.

Winterbottom will shape up for his full debut season in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship series after impressing during the endurance rounds at Bathurst and Sandown earlier this year.

His Konica Championship started what was to become the most successful season for SBR after lead driver Marcos Ambrose swept all before him to claim the V8 open title.

"We wish Mark all the best for next season and hope he enjoys this rare opportunity to experience what drag racing is all about," added Rowsell.

"Who knows he might enjoy it that much that he decides on a career change some time down the track."

Winterbottom has expressed a great deal of excitement towards his debut drive at Willowbank Raceway and can't wait to learn the ropes of an entirely different form of motorsport.

"You don't really appreciate what it takes to drive any sort of car at top speed and this will definitely be a big thrill considering the sort of horsepower these things produce," said Winterbottom.

"Next year is shaping up to be a big one and while I want to record some good results this will definitely be the quickest I'll be moving during 2004."

The transition from Stone Brothers Racing to Orrcon Racing has been a smooth one for Winterbottom and he can't wait to begin this new chapter in his motor racing career.

"It's unreal to be approaching my first full season in the V8 Supercars and it's something I've always wanted to do," added Winterbottom.

"This is a new team and we're shaping up well.

"I went to the factory a couple of weeks ago to meet everyone and was involved in the teams drive day at Queensland Raceway.

"Once we've all got acquainted I think everything will start falling into place.

"We should have the new car ready for the Grand Prix season opener so it's certainly an exciting time and will only get better once we get out there and start racing."

The January 3 National Open will mark just the second time Willowbank Raceway has hosted top class competition since a $1.1 million resurfacing project was undertaken.

That initiative ensured some slick quarter mile passes were recorded during the iTEL Nationals and even quicker times can be expected next weekend.

January 3, 2004 -- Featuring Top Fuel and Top Alcohol

Other racing includes: Supercharged Outlaws, SuperComp, Competition Bike, Modified, Super Sedan, Super Street, Modified Bike, Junior Dragster, Screamin' Eagle Harley-Davidson

-bam-

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