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Caruso to partner Winterbottom at Bathurst

Team 18 has locked in its Bathurst 1000 line-up, with new signing Michael Caruso joining Mark Winterbottom for the Great Race.

Mark Winterbottom, Charlie Schwerkolt Racing Holden

Caruso made an off-season switch to the Holden squad off the back of two enduro campaigns for Tickford Racing, name alongside James Golding in the four-driver Bathurst line-up.

The exact pairings, however, were initially left open.

They've now been confirmed on the eve of the pre-season test, with Caruso joining Winterbottom in the #18 entry, while Golding switches to Scott Pye's car.

Both co-drivers are expected to cut laps in their respective cars at Winton tomorrow.

Caruso and Winterbottom will be one of the most experienced pairings in the field, having made 33 Bathurst starts between them.

"I’m really excited to team up with Frosty in the #18 Irwin Racing car at Bathurst this year,” said Caruso.

“We’ve been competitors since we raced karts as kids, but we have never actually teamed up for anything so I’m looking forward to seeing how he operates within the team.

“I’m very much aware of his abilities as a Supercars champion and he’s won Bathurst as well, so it’s exciting to team up with someone who knows how to get the job done up there.

“Tomorrow’s test at Winton is going to be a great opportunity to get a feel for the car, meet people in the team and work together for the first time and work on all the little processes that are crucial to the end result.

“Before then I’ll just be looking at getting as much seat time as possible between test days and ride days so when we get to the Bathurst 1000 we’re fully prepared to put our best foot forward.”

Golding, who finished eighth at Bathurst with Winterbottom last year, said he's looking forward to a new challenge with two-time Bathurst podium finisher Pye.

“It’s awesome to team up with Scotty in the DeWalt Racing Commodore at the Bathurst 1000 this year,” said Golding.

“We had a strong run with Frosty last year and I’m pumped to continue on in the Team 18 stable.

“Scott’s an experienced campaigner at the Mountain and as a two-time runner-up he has a strong track record up there.

"If I put my best foot forward and deliver for the team, it gives me the best opportunity to keep my name in frame for a main game return in 2022."

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