Triple Eight chance key to Winterbottom move
Mark Winterbottom says the opportunity to take on Triple Eight in its own equipment made his Holden switch an attractive prospect.
The Ford veteran is a long-time rival of the Triple Eight squad, his 2015 title breaking Jamie Whincup's four-year winning streak.
In fact, Winterbottom and James Courtney are the only non-Triple Eight drivers to have won title since 2007 – and even Courtney's came in a T8-built chassis run by Dick Johnson Racing.
According to Winterbottom, the chance to finally jump the divide and race a Triple Eight car as part of his Team 18 deal is one he's looking forward to.
"I've tried so many years to beat them, blood, sweat, tears, hour and hours trying to beat that team," Winterbottom told Fox Sports.
"But look at the data; eight, nine championships out of 10, the last 10, or whatever it is. There's a point where you try so hard to beat them and you can't.
"I'm looking forward to trying to drive that car and going against them in the same equipment. I feel good about that. They are good drivers, they're a great team, the results don't lie."
Winterbottom added that he hopes he can push T8 regulars Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen in the same way that van Gisbergen pushed Whincup and Lowndes during his time in a T8 customer car run by Tekno.
I believe [the alliance] will be very close," he said. "I'm sure they are going to want to see what we're doing, like when van Gisbergen was at Tekno, he pushed them.
"Even Whincup, to his credit, in New Zealand said to me 'you've made the right move, you're going to love our equipment'. Although we've been fierce rivals, we've got respect for each other.
"It will be cool to race them in the same gear, work with them. Ultimately still trying to beat them, but just work together. Hopefully we're all up there fighting for a championship and we're part of that mix."
Elaborating on the move from Ford to Holden, Winterbottom joked that his neighbours will think his family have moved out when they see Holden road cars in the driveway.
"It feels weird [to change brands], but I want to win," he said. "The sport has got two manufacturers, and ultimately I'm joining this team because I believe I can win. And that's part of it.
"But it feels weird, no doubt. I've driven a Falcon [road car], I've driven a Territory, I've driven a Ranger, I've driven all the products. And we're going to back those two cars out and bring two Commodores in. The people in the street where we live will think there are new owners, because they've never seen a Holden in our driveway.
"It's part of the challenge shifting over, shifting brands, shifting teams."
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About this article
|Teams||Tickford Racing , Triple Eight Race Engineering , Team 18|
|Author||Andrew van Leeuwen|