I admire my husband, Mark is an incredibly talented athlete and a role model parent.

He doesn’t get nervous; he is confident, composed and believes in his ability. I truly admire that about him.

We have grown up together. I was 17 when we began dating and have been married for ten years. We have two beautiful boys Oliver (six) and Austin (four).

I was lucky enough to watch Mark race through the motorsport ranks of Go Karts, Formula Ford and Supercars.

In many sports it is families that sacrifice and motorsport is one of those.

Mark/Daddy is on the road up to 140 days a year, which is why we make a huge effort to go racing as a family.

It is not glamorous, it is hard work – travelling on my own with two kids, looking after them at the back of the pit area, eating from food vendors at every stop. We are just like any fan at the race track.

I also look after Mark’s nutrition requirements in the lead-in, during and post every racing event (a passion of mine), as well as our sponsor & business commitments.

I’m his ear when he needs someone to talk too.

Mark Winterbottom with wife Renee and their two kids Oliver & Austin.
Mark & Renee Winterbottom with their two kids Oliver & Austin.

I’m constantly juggling and wearing a number of hats for our family, but it is a challenge I love and I wouldn’t have it any other way. The boys and I will travel anywhere just to spend five minutes a day laughing with Mark and cheering for him at a race track.

Having our children around on race weekends definitely lifts the mood for Mark; he loves having his adoring sons by his side, children keep life’s perspective real.

He really is an amazing dad; watching him makes me want to be a better parent. He is fun, loving and capable of switching off and dedicating his full attention to them, so many parents out there know how hard that can be at times.

Sometimes it can be lonely and really difficult meeting up with other racing families. This year I have tried to bring more WAGS together; whether by having a pre race weekend dinner, walk around a track or play date for our kids.

It really makes these trips all the more enjoyable.

On the weekend I watched Mark sign a million autographs and even when I told him the session was over he stood up and quickly walked through the remainder of the line signing caps, taking photos, ensuring that no one missed out.

I watched in amazement. As we walked to the next appearance he gave every single fan his time, stopping along the way, letting them sneak a picture while waiting to go live on radio.

Nothing flustered him, he was genuinely giving back as a champion of the sport.

Then less than an hour later he jumped in his race car for the most prestigious lap of his life, his one lap of Mount Panorama in the top 10 shoot-out.

In the hours leading up he repeatedly told me he was going to have a crack, and every time he said it I got a little more nervous, but he was calm and confident.

Unfortunately, Mark had a really tough day on Sunday, crashing out with less than two laps to go, something he rarely does.

I knew he was pushing hard to stay in 5th place after a very challenging day with extremely tough wet weather conditions.

That night he was exhausted, and in true post Bathurst fashion, he fell asleep on the lounge room floor of the house we stay in.

My oldest Oliver was quite concerned about daddy, who wasn’t himself and chose to lay beside him, cuddling him in comfort.

It was truly beautiful and I knew we had to be there for that moment.

Mark Winterbottom with his wife Renee and sons Oliver and Austin, at Sydney Motorsport Park
V8 SUPERCARS – FATHERS DAY – Pictured is Mark Winterbottom with his wife Renee and sons Oliver and Austin, at Sydney Motorsport Park. Picture: Tim Hunter.

In the meantime I was running around the house packing all our belongings before the 8.5hr drive home the next day. As I mentioned, not glamorous, but a normal family.

Mark’s fans make it all worthwhile; they are so loyal and loving, and ride the roller coaster with us, highs and lows.

I enjoy talking to our fans, because really I am just a big fan like them.

It is hard to understand why fans admire our family. We are just a normal family, but I think that is exactly why they do; because we have been able to maintain a normal family life despite Mark being a famous racing car driver.

He is an equally great racing car driver and father, I couldn’t be more proud of the man I am married to.

Renee Winterbottom shares a laugh during the Watpac Townsville 400
Renee Winterbottom of Prodrive Racing Australia during the Watpac Townsville 400, at the Townsville Street Circuit, Townsville, Queensland, July 09, 2017.