Mark Winterbottom is an Australian racing driver and the International V8 Supercars series champion, born in Doonside on 20th of May 1981.
Mark started in karting and motorbikes racing
Frosty, which is Winterbottom's nickname, was involved in racing since his childhood, driving karting and motorbikes 50 cc events, but he also raced in a dirt Mini-Speedcar and won the New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory championship titles.
Frosty Winterbottom had a good time in karting championship
However, it was in the karting races that Winterbottom showed his racing talent, winning many national and international competitions. In 2001 he was crowned as the Australian Formula A Kart champion which was enough to secure him a move onto a higher level.
Mark switches to Formula Ford
In the same year, Winterbottom made his debut in Formula Ford and finished the season in second place, winning four races. That success pushed him to move further into the Australian Formula Ford Championship in 2002 when he once more finished that campaign like a runner-up with five race victories. Interestingly, the winner of the series that season became Jamie Whincup, Frosty’s future rival in the V8 Supercars series.
Australian Winterbottom aboard the F4 Mygale at Hidden Valley
The next step in Mark’s career was racing in development series like Konica V8 Supercars. The year of 2003 was very good for him as he scored five wins and six pole positions, driving a Ford. During 2003 he also made a debut in V8 Supercars Championship at the Sandown and Bathurst races.
First full season in V8 Supercars championship
In 2004 he moved into V8 Supercars Championship as a full-time driver, competing for Larkham Motor Sport team. Most notable results in that phase of Winterbottom’s career were fifth place at Bathurst and sixth at Sandown.
Mark Winterbottom at the 2006 BigPond 400
Winterbottom continued to move up in the ranks in 2006, joining Ford Performance Racing, behind the wheel of Ford Credit Falcon. He scored his maiden round win co-driving with Jason Bright at the Beta Electrical 500. In the middle of the 2006, Winterbottom was third in overall standings and stayed in that position until the end of the season, achieving nine Top 10 race finishes.
Ford believed in Winterbottom
The following year, many thought Mark could go further, but he was fifth in the Drivers’ champonship. He won the race in Bahrain and scored four pole positions in 2007, so Ford Performance Racing decided to keep him as a driver for another three years.
Mark Winterbottom in Ford
Always near the top
In 2008, Mark Winterbottom was again very close to win the championship title. He was the winner of seven races, but in the second half of the season, he failed to repeat the performances from the first half, so he finished as a runner-up, again behind his old rival Jamie Whincup. The following campaign was difficult for Mark as he missed consistent form from the previous racing season, which was only enough for fifth place in the end.
Third in three consecutive seasons
From 2010 to 2012, Winterbottom came in third each season. In 2010, he was the title contender until the last race. Ironically, a crash at the wet track in Sidney, in which the other two title contenders Jamie Whincup and James Courtney were involved, left Mark empty-handed. The following year, he was too far from the top of the standings in terms of number of points, while in 2012 he maintained the second position until the last round when he dropped to third. That time he claimed the ’Barry Sheene Medal’ for the best and fairest driver in the series.
Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards, the winners of 2013 Bathurst 1000
In 2013, still as a member of Ford Performance Racing, Winterbottom won Bathurst 1000, but due to poor start of the season, he finished fourth at the end of the year, taking three race wins. The following year was a bit better as he was third in the Drivers’ championship. Mark Winterbottom had an excellent start of the year, leading the championship in the mid-season with huge advantage. But, the second half of the championship went poorly and a drop in the standings was inevitable.
Crown of the career - 'Frosty' finally wins V8 title
Finally, in 2015, Winterbottom won the title driving FG X Falcon. His team changed the name to Prodrive Racing Australia after Ford reduced their support. The new car proved to be perfect for Mark who won nine races, including Sandown, so he only needed to maintain his cool in the late stage of the season. At the end, he took the title with a margin of 238 points.
Mark Winterbottom - 2015 V8 Supercars champion
Except racing in the V8 Supercup, Winterbottom was featured as a guest in the opening rounds of the Stock Car Brazil series in 2014 and 2015. Driving a Peugeot 408, he was second at Autodromo Internacional Ayrton Senna in 2015, while in the first appearance he was fourth at Interlagos.
He could have been a football player
Out of racing, Mark Wnterbottom is interested in football. As a kid he was very talented, but when he was eleven he decided to give it up and turn his focus on motor sports. Another interesting fact is that Winterbottom gave his voice to the character ’Frosty’ in the Australian version of Cars 2 movie.