Mark Winterbottom in action during his junior karting days

Mark Winterbottom in action during his junior karting days

The opening rounds of the 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship and Dunlop Super2 Series will be held on the Adelaide Street Circuit in South Australia this weekend.

With 48 drivers confirmed to be on the grid in the two top tiers of Australian motorsport, Karting Australia has looked at where these drivers started their careers.

Of these drivers, all of them started their careers in karting and a number of them have been racing against each other for close to 30 years.  These drivers believe that the lessons they learned during their karting days remain valuable at the top level of the sport today.

“Obviously driving a kart is different to driving a car but the racecraft, the set-up principles and the mental aspect all transfer through,” says 2016 Supercars Champion and 10-time Australian Karting Champion Mark Winterbottom.

“What’s funny is that many of the same guys you raced in karting are the ones you’re racing in Supercars and they have the same traits today as what they had back then. Positive or negative, they still bring it to Supercars now.

“(Jamie) Whincup, Will Davison, James Courtney and Michael Caruso, they’re just a few of the blokes I’ve raced against for years, so what you learn back then I still use up my sleeve now to try and beat them now.  The main differences are that you’re going about 200 km/h faster, someone else is paying the bills and more people are watching.”

2010 Supercars and dual World Karting Champion James Courtney echoed Winterbottom’s thoughts.

“Karting is where we all developed our craft, I look back on my karting days very fondly which is why I’m still involved now through my JC Kart brand,” said Courtney.

“Looking up and down pit lane these days there are so many people you know from such a young age. I remember a few years ago it was myself, Mark (Winterbottom) and (Michael) Caruso on the Supercars podium in Sydney. I’d be confident in saying that there would be a picture somewhere of us in the exact same order from a Club Day in the 1990s.”

In the Supercars Championship, the Eastern Lions Kart Club and Mildura Kart Club will both have three representatives in the 26-driver field while Western Australia’s Tiger Kart Club will have the most drivers in the Super2 field with four representatives this weekend.

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Drivers
#2 Scott Pye (Mt Gambier Karting Club)
#5 Mark Winterbottom (Sydney Kart Racing Club)
#6 Cameron Waters (Mildura Kart Club)
#7 Todd Kelly (Mildura Kart Club)
#8 Nick Percat (Go-Kart Club of SA)
#9 David Reynolds (Albury/Wodonga Kart Club)
#12 Fabian Coulthard (Kartsport Hamilton)
#14 Tim Slade (Southern Go-Kart Club)
#15 Rick Kelly (Mildura Kart Club)
#17 Scott McLaughlin (Kartsport Hamilton)
#18 Lee Holdsworth (Ipswich Kart Club)
#19 Will Davison (Eastern Lions Kart Club)
#21 Tim Blanchard (Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing Club)
#22 James Courtney (Combined Districts Kart Club)
#23 Michael Caruso (Combined Districts Kart Club)
#33 Garth Tander (Tiger Kart Club)
#34 James Moffat (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
#55 Chaz Mostert (Ipswich Kart Club)
#56 Jason Bright (Gippsland Go-Kart Club)
#62 Alex Rullo (Hurricane Kart Club)
#78 Simona de Silverstro (Swiss Karting Federation)
#88 Jamie Whincup (Eastern Lions Kart Club)
#97 Shane van Gisbergen (Kartsport Auckland)
#99 Dale Wood (Oakleigh Go-Kart Racing Club)
#888 Craig Lowndes (Eastern Lions Kart Club)

2017 Dunlop Super2 Series Drivers
#1 Garry Jacobson (Gippsland Go-Kart Club)
#4 Jack Perkins (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
#5 Joshua Kean (Southern Go-Kart Club)
#8 Andrew Jones (Albury-Wodonga Kart Club)
#14 Macauley Jones (Albury-Wodonga Kart Club)
#15 Adam Marjoram (Tiger Kart Club)
#16 Bryce Fullwood (Darwin Kart Club)
#18 Matt Chahda (Albury-Wodonga Kart Club)
#21 Jack Smith (Ipswich Kart Club)
#26 Shae Davies (Gold Coast Kart Club)
#28 Jack LeBrocq (Berwick Go-Kart Club)
#35 Todd Hazelwood (Southern Go-Kart Club)
#38 Will Brown (Toowoomba Kart Club)
#44 Richard Muscat (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
#48 Matthew Palmer (Superkarts)
#54 Nathan Morcom (Combined Districts Kart Club)
#55 Kurt Kostecki (Tiger Kart Club)
#56 Jake Kostecki (Tiger Kart Club)
#57 Brodie Kostecki (Tiger Kart Club)
#67 Anton DePasquale (Geelong Kart Club)
#88 Paul Dumbrell (Go-Kart Club of Victoria)
#98 Renee Gracie (Ipswich Kart Club)
#99 Mason Barbera (Bundaberg Kart Club)