The Pepsi Max Crew will enter the Pirtek Endurance Cup with high hopes of continuing its front running form when the duos debut at this weekend's Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Current championship leader Mark Winterbottom is confident he can bounce back from a less-than perfect outing at Sydney Motorsport Park when he teams up with experienced co-driver Steve Owen at the international circuit.
Reigning Bathurst champ and Sandown Formula Ford lap record holder Chaz Mostert will be joined by Dunlop Series leader Cameron Waters for his 2015 campaign in a pairing that he expects to produce strong results.
Waters is no stranger to the long-distance format, having raced alongside Jack Perkins in 2014 while Owen will race alongside Frosty for a second consecutive year.
Mark Winterbottom - #5 Pepsi Max PRA Ford:
"I'm looking forward to the enduros this year. I'm teaming up with Steve (Owen) again which is great. He has a wealth of knowledge; he's done this many times before so it's great to have him in the co-driver's seat. It's been a little while since I've had a win at Sandown so it'd be great to get back on that podium on Sunday. There are a lot of variables in these endurance races but I'm pretty confident with our car and our team so it'll be good to see what we can do."
Steve Owen - #5 Pepsi Max PRA Ford:
"It's great to be back racing with Mark. We have known each other for a while and after racing in the Endurance Cup together last year we know how each other work so it's great to be back racing with him. The FG X is a great car. I put down a few laps at the test as well as in the practice sessions so I'm confident that I can jump in the car for Mark and do the job that I need to do. Sandown is a great track and is one I've been to quite a few times so I'm excited to get back there."
Chaz Mostert - #6 Pepsi Max PRA Ford:
"Pretty excited to go to Sandown this year. I've got young Cam in the co-driver's seat with me. I think we've got a really good shot to get some really good results during this endurance season. Off to Sandown first which is pretty exciting. I really enjoy that place. It's something I've always enjoyed since Formula Ford days, driving around there, just the way the track flows. It looks quite basic from an aerial view. When you get down there it's quite technical to get up the pointy end. I love that challenge going there. 500ks is a long race. There are a lot of pit stops and things that can go wrong so I really want to go out there and prove that we've got everything together as a team and do the best job we can."
Cameron Waters - #6 Pepsi Max PRA Ford:
"It'll be great to do some racing in the car with Chaz. I'm pretty comfortable in the car after the practice sessions and our test day at Winton. The setups Chaz and Adam have put together suit my driving style well so it'll be good to see what we can produce. I raced with Jack (Perkins) in the Enduro Cup last year but we're in a pretty different car this year. Sandown is a good track, it's a favourite of Chaz's so hopefully we go alright and I can keep the car up the front for him."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"The Enduro Cup is always a great part of the season. We have three great pairings this year, two of which have been relatively successful in the past and another who has seen great amounts of success separately so it'll be good to see how they go together. Sandown is an incredibly important race in the lead up to Bathurst. We haven't seen a victory there since 2006 so we'll be doing our best to get up the front and hopefully stay there. Each of the co-drivers have a big job to do but we are confident of their capabilities and hopefully there will be a great crowd there to cheer us on."
EVENT NAME: Wilson Security Sandown 500
DATE: 11 – 13 September
LOCATION: Melbourne Victoria
EVENT NUMBER: 9 of 14
FORMAT: Friday – 3 x 30-minute practice; Saturday – 1 x 40-minute practice; 1 x 20-min qualifying, 2 x 20-lap qualifying races; Sunday – 1 x 20min warm-up, 1 x 161-lap race
CIRCUIT: Sandown International Raceway
DESCRIPTION: Sandown is a fast and flowing circuit with long front and back straights peppered with tight right-angled corners. Particularly challenging is the tricky high-speed, downhill section marking the end of the back straight. The track can be treacherous in the wet and very exciting in the dry. Sandown is arguably the most historic circuit on the calendar and has a rich and storied past formed over decades of touring car and single-seater racing.
TRACK RECORD: 1m08.57s – Jamie Whincup 2014 (qualifying)
PRA BEST RESULT IN SANDOWN 500: 1st – Jason Bright/Mark Winterbottom (2006)