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Winterbottom fired up for hometown race


Australian V8 Supercar young gun, Mark Winterbottom (25), is out to turn in a strong performance in this weekend's championship round at his hometown circuit, Oran Park.

The Ford Falcon-driving Sydneysider has raced there in karts, Formula Fords and V8 Supercars.

"This is my only home race of the season, so I’m very keen to make it a memorable one," he says.

"Oran Park is without a doubt the most demanding circuit of the season in terms of chassis set-up.

“It's a major challenge to get your car absolutely right there. This is why it is so rewarding when you can achieve a victory there, which for me was back in 2002 in a Formula Ford.

"I really like the circuit layout because of the fact that it is so challenging for every driver."

Ford's other young gun, James Courtney (26), has less Oran Park experience with just karting and some V8 ride days to his name.

Courtney had his best V8 Supercar outing of 2006 at the last round in Queensland, where he was in-line for a podium finish before engine dramas struck his Falcon.

Heading home to Sydney and especially Oran Park is something he's looking forward to.

"I pretty much grew up with Oran Park in my backyard until I was 15 when I moved overseas," says Courtney. "I know the go-kart track pretty well but that won't be much help to me this weekend.

"I do know half the circuit having done a ride day there last year but I will still be going through the learning process to a degree.

"We do plenty of homework in the lead up and with video footage and so on. Then it's just a matter of getting on track and having a go.

"After Queensland Raceway, we know that we can run at the front and mix it with those guys so I'm just really looking forward to getting out there."

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