After the Coates Hire Newcastle 500 result was confirmed, the V8 Supercars team, Shell V-Power Racing were relieved to cap off an amazing 2019 Virgin Australia V8 Supercars season. One where series champion Scott McLaughlin, broke many records, as well as having great support from teammate Fabian Coulthard.
The team’s focus had for so much of the 2019 season been solely on McLaughlin. However, with a technical infringement from the Bathurst 1000 race, and with a subsequent penalty against the team’s points [and a huge fine], the Dick Johnson Racing/Team Penske organization will feel that the end of the season could not have come soon enough.
At the Newcastle street circuit, with podium finishes that included McLaughlin’s teammate Coulthard on Sunday, it secured the Championship title for the team. So alongside the driver’s title [to McLaughlin], it proved to be a Ford triumph over their Holden rivals.
— Shell V-Power Racing (@DJRTeamPenske) November 24, 2019
They ended the 250-kilometer Race 32 with the same consistency that the team had demonstrated all year, and that was enough to ensure the Ford Mustang as the number one team for the 2020 season.
It also closed much of the criticism and conjecture, after a Bathurst win for McLaughlin, that some had put an asterisk beside. Yet for a large group, the results proved the team was worthy of being heralded, 2019 Champions!
Shell V-Power Racing cap amazing Supercar season for McLaughlin
As an individual, Scott McLaughlin has blitzed the entire grid in 2019.
An undisputed record, with more than 18 wins for the season. He also secured 15 pole positions, and almost sealed the title before the Sandown 500 event. Fabian Coulthard claimed two race wins himself, which reinforced the dominance of the Mustang.
However – as a manufacturer – they began the final race of the year under very real pressure, and only just secured the 2019 title*. That asterisk will, unfortunately, linger over the season after a team’s championship fine was directed at DJR Team Penske.
It was incurred after what initially looked like a terrific, groundbreaking outcome for the Mustang. When an engine was deemed to break the specification rules, even though the Bathurst 1000 result stands, some consider the race win ‘distorted’.
That is not to say that Scott McLaughlin’s championship is any less relevant. His record of wins may never be challenged, it was so imperious, But what the charge against the team has done, has clouded the end of the series – and marginally eroded some of the gloss from a joyous moment for the now two-time champion.
In 2018, McLaughlin was under extreme pressure from Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup. If he had slipped up that year, it would have cost him a title. But not so in 2019. His final points standing was over 500 points clear of his nearest rival – never seen in the closely fought V8 Supercars series.
So this year, the driver’s title was clear cut.
Red Bull Holden close gap on Shell V-Power teams Championship
A win for van Gisbergen Saturday, and a final race win to Whincup closed the gap some but, in the end, it still was awarded to the Mustang. And for a new machine, a new car design and engineering package, that was a superb effort.
The Red Bull drivers should be congratulated though, as, in the last three rounds, they have bridged the wide gap that the Ford had opened. Holden fans could again smile although, Ford’s army of supporters had the last laugh. Team principal Dick Johnson held high the manufacturer’s trophy proudly, and by the full seasons’ results, quite deservedly.
— Shell V-Power Racing (@DJRTeamPenske) November 24, 2019
The form of the Holden will be something that Red Bull, Penrite Erebus Racing and others, can grasp a hold of. They can rest for the holidays and then put their heads down in the New Year, with new goals of pushing Ford off the top of the Mountain.
Teams take time off, Driver changes and Nissan’s Supercar final outing
Some drivers appeared tired, after a long hard season. Fatigue is a factor, after 32 races. The 15 round series last from February to November, and with many drivers positions well out of the chances of any reward, it is understandable.
Now the changes and drivers/teams signings that have already been announced, can be put on hold until the preseason testing begins in February. Although, some positions are still to be confirmed; Garth Tander is thought to be considered again for a fulltime place. Signings and possible releases of some drivers, maybe confirmed between now and the season start.
For fans though, one of the biggest changes to look forward to in 2020, will be the conclusion of Nissan’s participation in the series. Kelly Racing has confirmed their association with the Japanese manufacturer will end, and they have decided to race a Ford package for 2020.
Welcome to the Pony Club @KellyRacingAus! Our new partnership with #KellyRacing makes it eight @FordPerformance #FordMustangs on the @supercars 2020 starting grid. #VASC #SaddleUp pic.twitter.com/s2j6vimCFa
— Ford Australia (@FordAustralia) October 15, 2019
That will see some changes in their driver combinations, and sadly for the category, Simona De Silvestro will no longer compete in V8 Supercars. Her services have been demanded by Porsche, who will seat Simona in their brand new TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team. A bright future awaits her, as will the Kelly brothers Castrol Racing team, in their brand new Mustang for 2020.
Other changes will occur surely, and when the teams arrive at the opening round of the new season, expect a few new names and combinations. It is inevitable in an industry that demands the fastest, and most technologically advanced machinery. So the cars and the drivers need to be of the highest standard. That is to satisfy the team’s goals, sponsor’s needs and the desire of their race fans.
Ricky Bobby may have coined the phrase “if you ain’t first, you’re last” and for Shell V-Power Racing and their lead driver Scott McLaughlin, ending the season in first place will feel very good. The doubters, the questions and the sour remarks by competing drivers and teams can now be discarded. The results will stand squarely.
And there should be little question over the driving ability of Scotty, and the integrity of the Shell V-Power team. It’s a competition, and teams do everything in their power to prevail.
Congratulations, on a terrific 2019 season.
“Main photo credit”
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