13 SEP 2017
Six degrees of (Sandown) separation
Prodrive Racing (Australia) has the classic mix of youth and experience for this year's Supercars Enduro Cup where its four-car challenge commences this weekend with the Sandown 500. The team have won the race twice previously and all three winning drivers are part of the team's line-up this year. Two-time winner Mark Winterbottom won his first ever Supercars race alongside Jason Bright in the 2006 edition of the race, while his 2015 race-winning partner, Steve Owen teams up with Chaz Mostert who was runner-up in the team's 1-2 finish two years ago. Mostert's co-driver from that race is his now team-mate Cameron Waters who partners with rising Kiwi star Richie Stanaway who impressed on his debut in last year's wet conditions. Rookie driver and reigning Super2 Champion Garry Jacobson makes his main series debut alongside Bright who will be starting his 566th race, while Dean Canto returns alongside Winterbottom for his 10th endurance campaign with the team in what will be his 11th Sandown 500.
Persistent rain forced the team to cancel three attempts to test before Sandown but a combined total of 1532 race starts for its drivers, coupled with some rapid rookies in its line-up have the team confident of a strong Enduro Cup campaign.
Mark Winterbottom – co-driving with Dean Canto: #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
"I am excited to get to Sandown this weekend. Of course, it's great to have Deano back as well. Last year was tough for us there, so we're looking to put that behind us, and having won there two years ago, I'm just as hungry to get back to the top step of the podium. The boys have worked incredibly hard to get us set for this race, and given our pace at Sydney we're determined to be up front all weekend."
Cameron Waters – co-driving with Richie Stanaway: #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
"I'm really pumped to be going to Sandown, and it's awesome to have Richie with me. It was actually really good for him to do the Eastern Creek race meeting in Super2, seeing as though our tests got cancelled the past couple weeks. He's got a fair few miles under his belt now, which is really good, and I think we're a really good shot coming into Sandown."
Chaz Mostert – co-driving with Steve Owen: #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
"For me, it's just continuing the partnership Steve and I had from last year. Steve drove really great last year so it's exciting to have him back in the car this year. We've teamed back up with (my engineer) Adam DeBorre – we didn't work with him last year, but he's bringing a whole new philosophy to the car this year, and we've got this slick looking retro car to boot. Hopefully Steve really likes the car this year. We had a lot of work to do from last year, so fingers crossed we can be a factor in the race this year."
Jason Bright – co-driving with Garry Jacobson: #56 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford
"I'm looking forward to it. It's quite different to the rest of the year, heading into the Enduro season. We've had good race pace this year, so I think that'll put us in good shape for the Enduros. I'm looking forward to getting back with Prodrive at Sandown, we got a win last time we were there in 2006, so hopefully history can repeat. I'm excited to work with Garry, he's been doing a great job for the team in Super2. He's very familiar with everyone here and the cars. I feel like he slotted in well with the test day that we did earlier in the year, pace was good, so he should do well for us, too."
Tim Edwards – Team Principal:
"We are not ones for sporting clichés but we have assembled our strongest ever four-car line-up for the endurance races and we've got six really experienced guys who are joined by a couple of rapid young drivers so we really do have a great chance at success. Our season was inconsistent early but we've stabilised and heading into the pointy end of the year we are far more comfortable with our technical package and what we've got in the pipeline. Of course we need to be fast, but the Enduro Cup is about racing smart, strategising well and using your experience as a group so we are confident we'll be challenging in the weeks and months ahead."
DUNLOP SUPER2 SERIES
Prodrive Racing (Australia) duo Garry Jacobson and Josh Kean enter their penultimate round of the season at Sandown looking to secure their best results of the season in the team's home town. With the pair both electing not to contest the non-championship event at Bathurst, they believe Sandown presents a chance to better their strong results last time out in Sydney where Jacobson finished just off the round podium and Kean put in a storming drive into the top 10 from the rear of the field.
Garry Jacobson - #1 MEGA Fuels PRA Ford:
"We're definitely excited to get to Sandown this weekend, and with me getting to run with Jason in the Supercars category I might be the most excited guy on the team. As for the Super2's, we had a strong showing there last year which gives us a lot of confidence, and it was good to get back on the podium a couple times at Sydney last month. We should have a great car this weekend. We just need to capitalise on what we did well at SMP, and we'll hope to be fighting for race wins."
Josh Kean - #5 Wynns Racing PRA Ford:
"I'm looking forward to it, actually. I don't mind the Sandown track, it's a pretty cool track, and it's based in Melbourne so it's pretty good for all of us here at the team. I think we found a few little things coming off Sydney in that last race, so hopefully we can push forward on those and just focus on trying to be real consistent this weekend, that's the main priority, and see if we can knuckle down more of what we need out of the car. It's nothing too major, just trying to do the best job we can, and make it all come together."