Shock Tactics

We pull into the pits with V8 Supercar racing star, Mark Winterbottom to hear about his latest win and get some safety advice, trackside.


“I went as megawatt as I could. Little Oliver (his son) can hold his hands up now and say, daddy got another trophy,” said Mark Winterbottom, proudly after winning the opening V8 Supercars race at the Tradingpost Perth Challenge by over three seconds.

He was running second to Whincup in the opening half of the 50-lap race and then the Orrcon Steel FPR Ford zoomed to victory thanks to a set of soft tyres, a determined driver and a super pit stop from the Orrcon Steel Racing crew.

Mark is certainly on the right track to racing royalty and has had three front row starts at the famous Bathurst 1000 behind the wheel of his Ford Performance racing car in 2007, 2008 and 2010. Add to that, a string of strong wins from Sandown, Phillip Island and Bahrain to Surfers Paradise, the 2010 Hidden Valley Race and Townsville 400, as well as the Gold Coast 600, Bathurst and Sydney in 2011.

His latest victory in Perth 2012 puts Frosty (as he is affectionately known in the racing industry) equal with Todd Kelly on the all-time V8 Supercars winners list in 14th place.

“When you are young and starting out, it’s all about blood, sweat, tears and absolute determination to get there,” says Mark. He may have a cool nickname, but he has a hot job with temperatures in the car’s cab reaching over 65 degrees on a hot day. “Racing cars are built for speed, not comfort.” he grins.

“On the straight at Bathurst you can be doing speeds of up to 300kph, although going around corners between the concrete walls on either side at 240k feels even faster. Your eyes are like dinner plates!”

Does he ever get nervous?

“Sure! You get butterflies in your stomach on the start grid and then when the red light comes on and you know you have five seconds until the race start and you get a little Elvis shuffle in your leg!”

Safety Ambassador for Monroe, Mark has a safe motoring check list:

Shock absorbers brakes and tyres are essential to your motoring safety. Shock absorbers keep your wheels in contact with the road – without them your brakes and tyres simply can’t do their job. So making sure all three parts are in optimum condition will increase your safety on the roads.

“It is important to check your shock absorbers are doing their job:

If a shock absorber fails, it means stopping distances change in rainy conditions, steering is affected and on road you will have a rough ride, uncomfortable and dangerous. It is not an expensive item, just something you should be sure not to forget to replace. It is best to get your car serviced at the right place and by qualified people at Kmart Tyre & Auto Service.”

Safety Stats:

Experts recommend shock absorbers are replaced every 80,000km.

Monroe recommends shock absorbers should be inspected every 20,000km.

Stopping: At 50kmh, just one worn shock absorber can increase your stopping distance by up to 2 metres.

Steering: Worn shock absorbers can cause your tyres to lose contact with the road dramatically affecting steering.

Stability: Worn shock absorbers cause excessive sway around corners making your car less stable.

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