Ford star Mark Winterbottom has described the pain of losing his Supercars crown as like a "dagger in you", but has vowed to fight back against Triple Eight domination this year.

After claiming his maiden title in 2015, Winterbottom was forced to hand over his crown to Red Bull rival Shane van Gisbergen last year as he limped home to sixth in the championship.

Winterbottom admitted it had been an "average" finish to his title defence.

As the Supercars season prepares to kick off with the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide, Winterbottom said he and his Prodrive Racing team were fiercely motivated to get their hands back on the title.


"I worked so hard for so many years to get it (the title) and we just weren't good enough last year," Winterbottom said.

"It's not ideal, but we're motivated to win it back ... it took so long to get it and didn't take long to lose it and hopefully it doesn't take long to get it back."

The stars of the Clipsal 500 show will hit town tomorrow as the build up to the opening round cranks into top gear.

Holden hero Craig Lowndes, James Courtney and reigning champion van Gisbergen are among the drivers who will arrive in Adelaide ready to do battle on the East Parklands streets.

Racing starts on Thursday, although the gruelling challenge to find this year's champion kicks off the following day with qualifying.

This year's event will revert to the pre-2014 program with 250km races being contested on Saturday and Sunday, a system that should suit Winterbottom.

Last year, more than 263,000 fans were track side for the four days of action, including 44,100 on the Thursday - the second highest opening day attendance.

Women's sport, especially AFL football, has been in the spotlight this year and history will be created when Switzerland's Simona de Silvestro makes her debut as the first fulltime female driver in the Supercar series.


De Silvestro, 14th at Bathurst last year with Renee Gracie after starting from the back row, has signed a three-year Supercar deal with Nissan.

Already in town for the motorsport carnival is Matt Mingay, the champion stunt driver who will be back behind the wheel of his custom Camaro and Mustang on the weekend for his first race since his nightmare smash in Detroit in June.

Mingay suffered horrific facial injuries in the Super Truck race, but he is finally back on the track and will put his incredible skills on show in the slalom event along Pit Straight.