4 July, 2018

The Supercars Championship reaches its halfway point this weekend at the Townsville 400, where Tickford Racing will contest the eighth round of the 2018 season and look to capitalise on lessons learned in Darwin three weeks ago. Through seven events thus far, the season has offered many challenges, but following a midseason test and the Darwin event in June the team enters Townsville with a renewed confidence and hopes for a strong weekend in north Queensland.

Chaz Mostert (No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X) leads the team into Townsville, running ninth in the championship, still looking for his first podium of the 2018 campaign.

Mark Winterbottom (No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X) is expected to hit another milestone on Saturday, as he is expected to make his 400th start with Tickford Racing. He would be only the second driver in Supercars history to make 400 starts with the same team (Craig Lowndes the other), and would be the first to start 400 in succession, should he start Saturday’s race. “Frosty” also enters the weekend with more poles (4) than any other driver at Townsville, and second most in race wins (3).

Cameron Waters (No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Falcon FG X) will look to get rid of a string of misfortune at the Queensland circuit, where he claimed a fifth place finish in the Saturday race last year. Richie Stanaway (No. 56 RABBLE.club Ford Falcon FG X) will make his first appearance at the Townsville circuit this weekend, where he hopes a new engineering approach will reward him with improved pace across the weekend.

Following the SuperStreet format, the Townsville 400 consists of two 200-kilometre races, each 70 laps in length across Saturday and Sunday. Sunday’s grid will be set by a Top Ten Shootout, while Saturday’s starting line up will be determined via the traditional 20-minute qualifying session format.

No. 5 The Bottle-O Ford Falcon FG X
Mark Winterbottom
“We’ve had an up and down season, but one of our strengths is the kerb riding ability of the car, and obviously street tracks have a lot of that. It seems like a tough season, but Adelaide is the only other street race we’ve been to. We were very strong, very competitive, and probably could have won the race on Sunday there. Kerb ride, low grip tracks, power down off the exits, it’s about all those little things at a street track, but you want a car that brakes well, turns well, accelerates well, and is quick down the straight. We don’t get all of them, but street tracks prioritise what you can achieve, and kerb ride is probably an area where we’re quite strong, so I’m optimistic that we’ll be on for a good weekend.”

No. 6 Monster Energy Ford Falcon FG X
Cameron Waters
“I’m keen to get up to Townsville. It’s a round I really enjoy and street circuits are my favourite kind of circuit so getting back on one is good. It’ll be interesting to get up there and see where we’ve progressed with the car and whatnot. We had a good car in Darwin, and in Winton as well, but mechanical issues cover that up so hopefully we can get up to Queensland and turn this bad luck around.”

No. 55 Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FG X
Chaz Mostert
“I’m pumped to be back in North Queensland, this event always goes off with a bang and the track is one of the bigger weekends of the year, so we’re looking forward to putting on a good show. It’s been a tricky year to date for us, but it’s another event with an opportunity to turn it around. I spent a few days fishing with a couple of my crew this week, so we’re relaxed and ready to go for the weekend. Bring it on.”

No. 56 RABBLE.club Ford Falcon FG X
Richie Stanaway
“I’ve never been to Townsville, so it’s another track for me to learn. Street tracks are pretty hard to learn compared to permanent circuits, so I’ll just have to learn as quick as I can out there. Obviously this year has been really difficult for my entry so far, so we’re trying a very different engineering philosophy this weekend. We’re working a lot closer with Car 55, and going down a different avenue that we hadn’t been down before in terms of the hardware on the car. Chaz (Mostert) managed to find some positive inroads at Darwin, so we’ll see if we can help to build on that and improve our car in Townsville. I’m quite excited for it, and hopefully we’ll be further up the front and have a good round. Obviously the last few rounds we’ve been struggling quite a bit, but everyone’s been working really hard to figure out how to fix that, and hopefully all we’ve done will be validated this weekend. I’m quite optimistic, so we’ll see how we go.”

Tim Edwards, Team Principal
“We’re looking forward to getting back to Townsville. We’ve had some pretty good runs there in the past, and we caught onto some of our weaknesses in Darwin, so we hope to have those sorted from this weekend onward. Adelaide was a pretty strong weekend for us, and obviously being a street circuit Townsville has a lot of similarities, so we’re heading in positive, and we’ll see where we end up.”

The Dunlop Super2 Series returns to action, two months after the previous round at Barbagallo Raceway, for the fourth round of the 2018 season. Series rookie Thomas Randle (No. 5 Skye Sands Ford Falcon FG X) returns to Townsville, where he made his Australian Formula Ford debut in 2013. Randle looks to validate his impressive run in Perth, where he claimed his first Super2 pole and finished the round third overall.

No. 5 Skye Sands Ford Falcon FG X
Thomas Randle

“I’m very excited for Townsville. Considering how the last round went, I guess I’m still kind of pinching myself about getting my first pole and podium at a track I had never been to, but it’s nice to finally be going to a track I have previously raced on. I think the car’s going to be really good, and I’m as ready as ever, so I’m just looking forward to getting back in the car on Friday. Adelaide was our last street circuit, and I was a bit surprised at our pace. I felt like we could have been top five in quali, and I wasn’t really used to the car at that point. I’m feeling a lot more comfortable with the car now. I think the pace will be there, the guys and my engineer certainly know how to set up the car anywhere, and I love my street circuits, so I’ll be pushing hard, and hopefully we can put the Skye Sands Falcon up the front.”

EVENT NAME: Townsville 400
DATE: July 6-8
LOCATION: Townsville, Queensland
FORMAT: Friday –DS2 Practice x 2, VASC Practice x 2; Saturday – DS2 Qualifying x 1, VASC Qualifying x 1, DS2 Race x 1 (21 laps, 60 km), VASC Race x 1 (70 laps, 200 km); Sunday – DS2 Qualifying x 1, VASC Qualifying x 1, VASC Top Ten Shootout x 1, DS2 Race x 1 (21 laps, 60 km), VASC Race x 1 (70 laps, 200 km)
CIRCUIT: Reid Park, Townsville Street Circuit
LENGTH: 2.86-kilometres
DESCRIPTION: Hosting its tenth Supercars event, Townsville has become one of the biggest events on the calendar. The circuit debuted in 2009 made up of public roads combined with permanent sections running through Reid Park. Tickford Racing has found notable success at Townsville, with four race wins and six poles, the latter being the most amongst Supercars teams at the track. The team also won the Super2 rounds in 2015 and 2016 with Cameron Waters and Jack Le Brocq, respectively.
TRACK RECORD: 1m11.9908s (Scott McLaughlin, 2017)
TICKFORD RACING BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom (2010 Race 2, 2015 x 2), Will Davison (2013, Race 1)