Shell V-Power Racing’s Scott McLaughlin has won the 2018 Australia Supercars Championship title, a season that will be remembered for a number of factors. It has been a tough battle for the Kiwi driver and ultimately his fight has been not just against rival Shane van Gisbergen but also against the whole Triple Eight Racing Engineering team, Jamie Whincup who finished third and Craig Lowndes who finished fourth.
While van Gisbergen has won seven races, his team mates Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes have also been in the hunt for the title and in the end were fighting for third and fourth overall. Both have won seven races between them.
Whereas McLaughlin’s team mate Fabian Coulthard has often not been in the mix. He won one race (Winton) and has only finished in the top five just nine times (including his win). McLaughlin has had no ‘rear-guard’ to count on. At the end of the season when it has counted Van Gisbergen has been able to rely on both Whincup and Lowndes to help with his title fight.
Let’s not forget McLaughlin’s team didn’t help at Pukekohe when they should have got Coulthard out of the pits ahead of Whincup. They didn’t and in the end he slowed to allow van Gisbergen to finish second. It is these small mistakes that can influence the greater outcome.
In Richard Craill’s article on Talkmotorsport on Saturday title Supercar Showdown, he points out ‘….the performance of Car 12 this weekend may well be the most critical of the entire show. If Fabian Coulthard and his engineers can drag themselves out of the mire they have been in lately and play rear-gunner to McLaughlin’s 17, then the odds swing in his favour.’
Well we now know what happened and McLaughlin effectively has not just won the title on his own but beaten the entire Triple Eight brigade.
Let’s not forget to give Shane van Gisbergen credit. He has been a worthy opponent who, if McLaughlin had faltered, would have truly earned the championship title.
Bring on 2019!