2015 Supercars Champion Mark Winterbottom hit the sand in Stockton this morning, racing suit and all, with local surf life-saving kids.

With just three days until the Newcastle 500, drivers are getting keen to take a spin on the track for the first time in their Supercars.

Mark Winterbottom on Stockton Beach this morning.

Mark Winterbottom said it’s really quite exhilarating coming to a new track and particularly to Newcastle.

“I think the race is going to be fantastic, you know we’ve got one of the best backdrops, one of the best tracks, the elevation, it’s got everything that a circuit needs. It’s a championship decider, it’ll be the first ever to win on the track, and your motivation is through the roof,” said Mark.

The race has come under some scrutiny from local residents in the East End who just last night held an impromptu rally against the race. They chanted songs and chalked slogans and peace symbols on the tarmac on Scott Street.

Mark said from his perspective, the support far outweighs the nay-sayers.

“Some are concerned about environmental issues and then they go and vandalise their own city. I don’t really understand that, that’s sort of going against everything they stand for. It is what it is. We’ll race anywhere but this city I think really seeing the turn out they’ve had, the ticket sales, it’s the start of something big.”

From tomorrow teams and equipment start rolling into the CBD to set up.

The 2.6 kilometre track will be the decider for the championship with 30 points separating Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin. Scott does have some ground to make up and will have to finish several places in front of his rival to take out the 2017 Supercars title.

Mark said even though he’s not in contention for the championship, he can’t wait to get out on the track.

‘We’ll race anywhere but we come to towns that get behind it and Newcastle is so important for us, it’s such a big region, such a big following and to see kids that haven’t see our race firsthand will get that taste on the weekend for the first time and that’s what its about, they’re excited. They treat you like a rockstar but you’re just a normal person!”