Over the next three months we’re going to closely examine each entry for the 2012 Kumho Tyres Winton 300. First in the sp
otlight are our reigning champions, David Raddatz and Shane Otten.
The reigning Winton 300 champions are back, and have upped the ante for 2012 by stepping out of their naturally aspirated Mazda MX5 into a more powerful turbocharged version.
Raddatz and Otten have been the form drivers in both the Wakefield and Winton 300 endurance races for several years now, and their record speaks for itself: They finished runner-up in the 2009 Wakefield 300 before winning the 2010 Wakefield 300. Last year they finished second in the Wakefield 300 and won the Winton 300 and then split up for the Wakefield 300 in March this year, with Raddatz finishing third (with Nick Cancian) and Otten finishing fourth after leading for most of his stint with a spectacular wet-weather drive in the Mazda RX7 he shared with Stephen Anslow.
Raddatz also has the honour of finishing the 2010 Wakefield 300 in both first and second position. How so? Well, the regulations for that race permitted a driver cross-entering vehicles, so Raddatz started the race in one car (partnering Shane Otten) and finished the race in another car (with Rob Hay), thus finishing on the two top steps of the podium!
In this year’s Winton 300, Raddatz and Otten face the largest and most competitive field they have come up against in their time driving together, but Raddatz is still confident that the MX5 will be the one to beat come November 11.
“We’re actually going to de-tune the engine, to make sure we can complete the race on just one fuel stop,” Raddatz said. “The aim will be to have a car that will do 1:35s all day, which will put us in the fastest group of Division 2 cars. Last year we won the race by doing 1:37s and 38s, but the competition has stepped up a notch which means we really have to make sure we’re one of the fastest Division 2 cars.”
“Being back in the Mazda MX5 will be like being back home,” Otten added. “Even though this car will have a bit more power than the naturally aspirated car, it will still handle, steer and brake the same so I’ll be very comfortable being back behind the wheel.
“The MX5s are lightweight and good under brakes which makes them very easy to drive through the slower traffic, which should help us with such a big field.”
Raddatz’s MX5 Mania outfit is renowned for producing well-engineered race cars, which have an exemplary track record for reliability. Hence, Raddatz and Otten will deservedly head to the Winton 300 as one of the favourites for outright victory.