Prodrive Racing Australia’s Mark ‘Frosty’ Winterbottom is the 2015 Australian Touring Car Champion after wrapping up the V8 Supercars championship at the final round in Sydney.
The Ford driver only really needed a trouble-free run on the Saturday to clinch the title, with Craig Lowndes from Red Bull Racing Australia the only other driver with a mathematical chance of championship glory.
Lowndes was 179 points behind Winterbottom ahead of the Sydney round with 300 points on offer, so anything bar a DNF (did not finish) for Winterbottom on Saturday was likely to be enough.
Sunday’s race wasn’t just a formality however, with the battle for the team’s championship going down to the wire. Red Bull Racing capitalised on a strong showing in the second half of the season to win the team’s championship for 2015.
“It’s awesome to put the Number One on the car,” Winterbottom said.
“I’ve just got to thank everyone who supported us, all the sponsors - they’ve been amazing, all the partners at home, thank you to them.”
Lowndes' second place in the championship was topped off when the popular driver won the Barry Sheene Medal for best and fairest for the fifth time at the post-season V8 Supercars Gala Awards.
“I’m pretty happy with the year, at the end of the day we gave it our best shot,” Lowndes said.
“We had our ups and downs - the tyre blowing in New Zealand (a down), then you have your Bathurst win (an up) - so we’ve had a pretty good year.”
The Gala ceremony also saw previous ATCC competitor and now team manager, Gary Rogers, become the 19th inductee into the V8 Supercars Hall Of Fame.
Rogers’ career has spanned more than five decades in the sport, and the 70-year-old has chalked up 21 race wins behind the wheel and one Bathurst 1000 victory as team manager.
For the drivers, season 2016 is already well underway with Winterbottom revealing his Car 1 Ford Falcon for next season will transfer to Bottle-O signage (pictured above) following the departure of David Reynolds from the team.