THE REPCO Supercars Championship has managed to get seven rounds in the books so far in season 2021 – and that’s a good thing because it could be a while before the championship races again.
Regardless of where or when the championship goes next, they’re at the least half way through the 2021 season which means it’s time for a report card of the year so far.
So, we’re going team by team to offer up a grade to this point in the season and we’re doing it in the order of the current Team’s Championship standings.
Here’s our report card on the Supercars pack so far.
A+ – RED BULL AMPOL RACING (1st – 3576 points)
Jamie Whincup (2nd), Shane van Gisbergen (1st)
BACK to their brutal best, Triple Eight have dominated this season, winning 12 times and scoring five 1-2 finishes along the way. Shane van Gisbergen has been in remarkable touch and is crushing the field, seemingly able to win on demand. Whincup’s final tour doesn’t find him at his once imperious best, but he appears to have settled into a comfortable role running as a tail-gunner to his Kiwi teammate. Weaknesses? An odd patch at The Bend saw both cars qualify poorly and struggle through the races – though SVG managed to come away with two podiums anyway. They’re the only team to consistently be able to put two cars in the top five in just about every race and that’s why they’re on top.
B- – SHELL V-POWER RACING
Anton de Pasquale (6th), Will Davison (5th)
HARD to read the Dick Johnson Racing team, this year, as they transition to two brand-new drivers this year. Four DNF’s have cost Anton de Pasquale any hope of contending for the title this year, which pulls the grading of his side of the garage down, however his first win for the team at The Bend was impressive. Will Davison has been his usual consistent self and has outscored his teammate despite not yet winning. They’re still a force, DJR, just not the force we saw for the last three years with McLaughlin behind the wheel. Not yet, anyway, which is why they get a B-.
B – TICKFORD RACING
Cameron Waters (3rd), James Courtney (9th)
A ‘B’ may seem like a harsh grade for the only team to consistently take it up to Triple Eight this year, but then again, they really haven’t, have they? Sure, Cam Waters has won three times and finished second on a further five occasions and yet he still doesn’t look like being the consistent week in, week out threat to T8’s dominance. The issue is the odd weekend where they aren’t uncompetitive – just anonymous. Find the winning formula week in, week out, and they’ll be properly dangerous.
James Courtney has been solid in the Boost Mobile car and though yet to trouble the podium, he’s a top five regular in qualifying and not far off it in the races.
C+ – WALKINSHAW ANDRETTI UNITED
Bryce Fullwood (15th), Chaz Mostert (4th)
IF we scored WAU entirely on the efforts of Chaz Mostert, Adam deBorre and the #25 side of the garage this season they’d be a B+, but the problem is that they’re a one-car team fielding two cars at the moment. While Chaz has starred with a pair of wins and seven podium finishes in total, Bryce has had something of a sophomore slump in Car #2, with just two top-10 finishes for the entire season, which brings their overall rating down. If they can get the youngster from Darwin to being a regular top-10 runner that’s only going to help Chaz continue this team’s meteoric rise to the powerhouse we’d love to see them become once again.
C+ – TEAM 18
Mark Winterbottom (7th), Scott Pye (13th)
AFTER a series of strong performances last year, we kind of expected more from Charlie’s mob this season and while Winterbottom sits a strong 7th in the championship, it’s just not felt quite all there so far. After 6 top 10s in the first 7 races, Frosty has gone off the boil in the more recent rounds (though he qualified superbly in Darwin). Pye’s season has been strange as they try to unlock the form he had last yearand there’s work to do in this camp to become consistent contenders.
B – EREBUS MOTORSPORT
Will Brown (10th), Brodie Kostecki (11th)
PUNCHING above their weight and what was expected of them this year, are Erebus Motorsport. We thought this might be a challenging year with two rookie drivers and while it has been a rollercoaster, both young chargers have been hugely impressive and the team has generally executed well. Consistency will come with experience for these two, but you can’t help but think that more performances like Kostecki’s remarkable second at Sandown or Brown’s superb fourth in Darwin are just around the corner.
C+ – BRAD JONES RACING
Nick Percat (8th), Todd Hazelwood (14th)
IT’S been a frustrating year for the Albury boys with lots of things failing to fall their way; but when things go right, Nick Percat remains one of the best out there and perhaps continues to punch above the weight of the machinery he has. Hazelwood started slow, but has come good in recent rounds and his starting performance in Townsville 2.0 was proof of that. Like so many other teams they lack the consistency within both cars to be regular contenders, but as always you can count on the BJR boys to spring a big result right when they need it.
C- – KELLY GROVE RACING
Andre Heimgartner (12th), David Reynolds (16th)
YOU would be forgiving this team if they seek counselling regularly given the bipolar rollercoaster of emptions they’ve experienced this year. At times they are decently competitive and top-10 contenders. At other times they are so far from the front you can’t see them and then on other, admittedly rarer occasions, they go and win races. There’s huge potential in KGR, especially with their new ownership, but it’s going to take time to extract it consistently.
C – MATT STONE RACING
Zane Goddard (19th), Jake Kostecki (20th)
THIS grade caused grief; is it too generous for a team whose drivers sit 19th and 20th in the championship? Or does it accurately surmise the fact that the championship leaderboard doesn’t actually show the real story? We’re going with the latter here because on occasion there has been flashes of brilliance from this crew, Goddard especially. Sure, they’ve got Triple Eight machinery but given they’re operating with two essentially rookie drivers they punch above their weight here and there.
D – BRAD JONES RACING
Jack Smith (21st), Macauley Jones (24th)
YOU have to feel for Macauley Jones, because his position in last place of all the full-time drivers doesn’t reflect his pace this year, which has actually been quite decent. What he does have is horrific luck – the three non-finishes in Townsville recently proof of that. Even when he qualifies well and gets himself out of the mire at the back of the grid, something goes wrong. Every now and then Jack Smith pops up in the top-10 of a practice session and surprises people, but his second full-time year has been as tough as the first so far.
D- – TEAM SYDNEY
IT’S BEEN a rough year for the Sydney-branded squad on and off the track, with the Sydney lockdown not helping their cause. Yet other teams have their own battles too (especially last year) so in this day and age it’s not quite the ‘dog ate my homework’ kind of excuse, but close to it. Eight non-finishes between Fabian Coulthard and Garry Jacboson are the most of any team; Fabian alone has five from 19 races, a stat only eclipsed by Macauley Jones. Even when things go right – like his heroic first lap in Townsville 2.0s opening race that saw him climb 13 spots into the top 10 – they just as quickly unravel. In that instance, a slow stop dropped him back down the order.