As the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is currently underway with qualifying and race one of the Superloop Adelaide 500 on today (Saturday), we give our predictions on who will take the title at the end of the season.
Australian based reporter Richard Craill picks Scott McLaughlin:
“LOGIC – AND HISTORY – DICTATES that when nominating a would-be champion you should pick the form team and driver, and in that case it’s hard to go past Scott McLaughlin again in 2019. Supercars drivers tend to win their titles in clumps and it’s hard to imagine that the DJR Team Penske team aren’t going to be just as competitive this year as they were last season, new car or not. Scott is at the peak of his considerable powers and, as documented in his excellent book Road to Redemption, is mentally in the best place of his life. Assuming the team gets on top of the Mustang quickly, which they will, it’s very hard to go past the young Kiwi to go back-to-back.
Having said all that, the most exciting thing this year will be what Erebus – now Penrite Racing – can achieve. Their rise to regular contenders last year was impressive, though their biggest weakness was that while they were fast at most tracks, they fast at all of them. If they can plug those gaps this year and be competitive at every track and in every race, then it’s hard to imagine David Reynolds not being a title contender this year – and young-gun Anton de Pasquale contending for victories, too.”
Ross MacKay has a bet each way…..
“Having watched, enthralled as their battle for the top spot ebbed and flowed last year I can’t see anyone getting near our own Supercar aces Scott McLaughlin and Shane Van Gisbergen again in 2019. Asking me to pick which one will nab the top spot this year is like asking me – in front of them – to pick which one of my kids is my favourite. As every other parent reading this will know, you just can’t do that, you love each one unconditionally.
That’s said, Shane is returning with the same team/car/engineer package, whereas Scott is going to have to get to grips with an all-new aero signature with his ‘nu ‘Stang. The sheer size of the rear wing tells me the Muzzie must have bugger-all natural downforce from the new body shape so that doesn’t bode well.
The only Aussies I see posing a serious title threat would again be Jamie Whincup and/or Davie Reynolds but, I’d have to say that they will be fighting for the final step of the podium with Scottie’s Penske/DJR teammate (any fellow Kiwi) Fabian Coulthard. Speaking of teammates, if – and it’s a BIG IF – IF the Mustang is in fact quick out of the box then you watch the fireworks between teammates Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert!
I’m still not convinced he has the temperament to develop into a serious Virgin Australia Supercars Championship title contender, but if there is a dark horse (or perhaps more appropriately, a ‘wild card’) in the 2019 pack, it has to be one of the other Kiwis contesting the main game this year, Richie Stanaway!”
Mark Baker puts his money on Scott McLaughlin
- – “It will once more be a New Zealand V8 Supercar Championship (and Kiwi race fans will start a petition to get the championship’s name changed).
· Scott (McLaughlin) will again take the title, this time the Giz won’t be as close in the points table. The ‘amicable’ banter between the two will be at full volume from NZ onward.
· The first four events will be remembered as much for complaints and counter-complaints about the aero performance of the Mustang and Commodore.
· GM will resume work on a Camaro V8 Supercar. It will not be pretty.
· The NZ round’s date switch will mean the teams use all their wets for the year in one round.”
For me it’s Shane van Gisbergen….
I’m a Scott McLaughlin fan and loved seeing him take the title last year. Shane van Gisbergen was so close and it was a fantastic championship going down to the last round at Newcastle. The great thing about Supercars is that there is very little between the fastest and slowest cars. There is no room for error. Given that, I think Scott McLaughlin and his Shell V-Power Racing Team will have their hands full getting to grips with the aero package on the new Mustang. They know the engine, brake and suspension package but the aero will be different. There are wiser people than me but common sense says that they have a real learning curve to go through. Chances are that they will get it right. Well, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team were quick right from the start with the new ZB Commodore last season.
My money is on Shane van Gisbergen although his nearest rival will be his team mate Jamie Whincup. Never count out an experienced champion. Whincup isn’t about to make it easy for anyone. That’s why he is a champ!