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Winterbottom feeling no Supercars pressure

Despite a rare winless Supercars season, off-contract Ford star Mark Winterbottom says he is feeling no pressure to perform in 2018 and secure his future.

While the likes of fellow veterans Todd Kelly and Jason Bright retired in the off-season, Winterbottom – 37 in May – is not concerned time is catching up with him after a 2017 to forget.

Winterbottom finished sixth in the championship after a disastrous start, ending the season without a win for the first time in his 12 years at his Ford factory backed heavyweight outfit rebranded Tickford Racing.

And it appeared the pressure was on for the ex-Supercars champion to turn it around this season.

The 2013 Bathurst victor is now the only remaining star in Tickford Racing’s four driver garage not to have secured their future after teammate Chaz Mostert this week re-signed for another two years.

However, Winterbottom said contract extensions were the last thing on his mind as he ramped up training on the Gold Coast on Tuesday ahead of March’s season opener in Adelaide.

“There’s no pressure. The only thing I can focus on is winning,” Winterbottom told AAP.

“If you win the team wants you and you want the team – winning is the one thing that dictates what happens.

“Pride in results outweighs any other scenarios; if you win races, the rest is easy.”

Winterbottom’s drought this year was in stark contrast to his 2015 championship season when he claimed the title with nine victories and 17 podiums.

Winterbottom has not savoured a Supercars race win since November 2016 at New Zealand circuit Pukekohe.

Yet the driver affectionately known as “Frosty” had no doubt he could reclaim his best if he picked up in 2018 where he left off in 2017.

Winterbottom had an encouraging season finish, nabbing a second placing at Pukekohe before earning pole for the final race at Newcastle.

“It was not a great year but there were glimpses of hope,” he said.

“We had a bad start and good finish.

“Usually if you are having a bad year you are counting down the days for it to end but I was hoping it could go on for another six months after our improvements.

“There’s no better feeling than winning a championship or Bathurst and once you get that taste you want more.

“The plan is to get out there and get those results and get that feeling again.”

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