Mark Winterbottom is an Australian racing driver who reached the peak of the Australian motorsport in 2015 by winning the V8 Supercars Championship with Prodrive Racing Australia. Two years earlier, Winterbottom triumphed at Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama, together with Steven Richards.
Winterbottom made Supercars Championship debut in 2003, winning 38 races since then. In 2003, he was a champion in the V8 Supercar development series.
Mark started in karting and motorbikes racing
Frosty, what 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.
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.
Switching to Formula Ford in 2001
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.
Champion in the 2003 Konica V8 Supercar Series
The next step in Mark’s career was racing in the V8 development series, sponsored by Konica. The year of 2003 was very good for him as he scored five round victories, driving a Ford Falcon for Stone Brothers Racing. He won the championship title and showed that heps ready for a progress to the V8 Supercars Championship.
He made a debut in the main Australian racing competition in 2003, driving for Stone Brothers Racing in endurance rounds at Sandown and Mount Panorama. In his Bathurst 1000 debut, he was sharing a car with Mark Noske, not finishing the race.
2004 - first full season in the 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.
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 Mark
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.
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.
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.
Two wins in 2016, no wins in 2017 and 2018
As a defending champion, Mark had a tough season in 2016 at the wheel of the #1 Ford FG X Falcon. He scored just two wins, finishing sixth in the points. He took the same position at the end of the 2017 season, not winning a race during the entire season.
He stayed with Ford again in 2018 when the team has been renamed to Tickford Racing. He was on a podium just once, finishing 12th in the points. Such an underperformance initiated a change and Winterbottom joined Charlie Schwerkolt Racing to drive the #18 Holden in the 2019 Supercars season.
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.
Video: Mark Winterbottom lifestyle interview