The Team 18 driver was forced to race through a power steering failure on Saturday evening after the team couldn’t get fix a problem that stemmed back to qualifying.
Winterbottom being able to get through the race was only made possible by Triple Eight, which loaned out its famous ‘bus wheel’ – an oversized steering wheel that it keeps in its tool kit for power steering failures.
The comically large wheel was only fitted to the car as Winterbottom was on the grid. He went on to make the finish in 25th to at least add a few points to his tally.
While a power steering issue would usually be an easy fix, the squad’s Head of Engineering Richard Hollway said it was a unique drive key failure that was hard to diagnose.
“It’s a weird one, it’s never happened before,” he told Motorsport.com.
“Triple Eight have had signs of it but never the level of failure we had.
“Basically the power steering pump is driven off the back of the dry sump pump; there’s a shaft that runs right through the stages of the dry sump and the power steering sits at the end. It’s tricky to get to.
“We pulled the pump, that was the initial thought on where the failure was. We inspected everything, inspected the end of the shaft, then put a new pump on and again no pressure. We thought it was a rack issue so we changed the rack, still no pressure.
“We looked deeper and the drive was still developing pressure, but instead of 1200 pounds it was 200 pound. Frosty was making up the difference, which is why we needed the big steering wheel.
“It’s like an Allen key that’s been rounded off. It wasn’t getting enough traction.”
The issue is now rectified, Winterbottom qualifying 10th and 12th for today’s two races.
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