Mark Winterbottom admits he’s running out of time to avoid a career Supercars low.
The 2015 series winner is running sixth in the championship and while that’s not ideal, it’s not what’s bugging him the most about this year’s campaign.
It’s the lack of podium time.
Winterbottom heads to Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend with a best effort this year of second place in the Sunday race on Phillip Island.
And that’s just not good enough.
“I want race wins,” he told Fox Sports.
“I haven’t been through a season without having a race win. That’s the priority.”
Not since joining Ford Performance Racing in 2006 has ‘Frosty’ failed to spray champagne from the top step on the dias at least once in a year.
With 10 races to go in the season, Winterbottom needs help from his engineers to make it happen.
The No.5 Falcon has struggled to avoid technical issues through the opening rounds, leaving insufficient time for fine tuning.
“I initially had braking issues,” Winterbottom said.
“All our first three or four rounds, our setups meant nothing. Because all I had was inside locking – the red light was on – scorching tyres.
“You get told it’s the tyre but then you find the brake and it’s not the tyre. It’s always something.
“When the car’s hooked up, its very very quick. When you get it wrong it spits you out very quickly.”
The emergence of DJR Team Penske and the return to form of stablemate Chaz Mostert has Winterbottom in the unheard-of position of the fourth best Falcon in the Supercars grid.
It’s not a position he’s used to but one he thinks he can improve before season’s end.
“Other guys are damn quick at the moment. The 17 with Scotty McLaughlin is very fast,” he said.
“The dream of catching him is not what you’re looking at.
“I’m not looking at the championship. I need a car that is going to do what I want it to do, week in, week out.
“That’s been the hardest thing this year. Even (co-driver) Dean Canto has been hopping out saying ‘what are you giving me?’
“We need to come up with something pretty quick, have a weekend and have a good endurance campaign.
“I know when it all clicks we’ll win races.”