The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is reaching the tail end of the 2019 season with just two events remaining, as the PIRTEK Endurance Cup holds its final round at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
Since last time
Reynolds gets serious
David Reynolds will head up a new road rage road safety campaign, which will be launched at this weekend’s Sandown 500.
‘Curb The Rage’ is aimed at eliminating violence and intimidation on Australian roads through building awareness and other social media measures.
There will be a number of different activations to help launch the program with Reynolds’ own “CHILL” – including a car air freshener to help remind drivers to relax when driving, which will start off the campaign.
Following on from this weekend, a series of parody cologne ads will also be released onto social media channels, as well as visits to various industries and schools.
Points are changing
There have been some small but significant changes made to the final Sandown 500 endurance round, before it moves to a sprint format next year.
In this year’s round, a 20-minute qualifying will set up a 20-lap co-driver sprint race with that result to determine a second 20 lap sprint race - only this time the main drivers will get their shot.
The result of the main game 20-lap race will then determine the grid for the big 500km endurance race on the Sunday.
As for the points, each of the sprint races has 50 points on offer for the winner and 250 for the endurance race winner - meaning the maximum points a driver can gain over the weekend is 300.
It’s been a big few weeks for Garry Rogers Motorsport, and the Victorian team found themselves in the headlines again during the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 after dropping Richie Stanaway from a race.
Stanaway’s demotion was a result of missing a signing session during the weekend and his position was handed to emerging talent Dylan O’Keefe.
Upon some time of reflection, GRM have opted to bring Stanaway back for the Sandown and Newcastle rounds for the team’s final two rounds of their current Supercars campaign
Another two locked away
While the 2019 Supercars season is still taking place, teams are already thinking ahead to 2020 and signing up drivers for next year.
The two latest announcements come in the form of Macauley Jones, who has re-signed with Brad Jones Racing for another season and Andre Heimgartner locked in long-term with Kelly Racing.
Both signings shouldn’t come as a shock, however there was a bit of uncertainty surrounding Heimgartner as Kelly Racing switch from a four-car Nissan squad to a two-car Ford Mustang outfit.
Heimgartner will join Rick Kelly in the 2020 Kelly Racing line-up, leaving current drivers Simona De Silvestro and Garry Jacobson looking for new homes.
As for Jones and Brad Jones Racing, the team is expected to expand to four cars next year with the squad’s Dunlop Super2 driver Jack Smith also a potential to drive.
Following on from a dramatic Vodafone Gold Coast 600, the championship has taken an interesting turn with van Gisbergen closing the gap on the current leader in McLaughlin, while Chaz Mostert’s disastrous Pirtek Endurance Cup continues as he fell from third to sixth.
Despite van Gisbergen edging closer to McLaughlin, he still needs a minor miracle to take the title fight to Newcastle with 473 points being the difference between the two – meaning van Gisbergen has to make up more than 173 points at Sandown.
A solid weekend on the Gold Coast saw Whincup leapfrog Fabian Coulthard and Chaz Mostert as he moved into the top three for the first time since April.
Championship Top 10
1 Scott McLaughlin 3437 points
2 Shane van Gisbergen 2974
3 Jamie Whincup 2668
4 Fabian Coulthard 2557
5 David Reynolds 2474
6 Chaz Mostert 2447
7 Cameron Waters 2296
8 Nick Percat 2161
9 Will Davison 2159
10 Lee Holdsworth 2076
Pirtek Endurance Cup Top Five
1. Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander 564 points
2. Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowndes 528
3. Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat 429
4. Scott Pye/Warren Luff 423
5. James Courtney/Jack Perkins 411
This round last year
Pole: Jamie Whincup
Winner: Jamie Whincup /Paul Dumbrell
Runner Up: Shane van Gisbergen/ Earl Bamber
Third: Craig Lowndes/ Steve Richards
#2 Holden ZB - Scott Pye/ Warren Luff
#3 Nissan Altima - Garry Jacobson/ Dean Fiore
#5 Ford Mustang - Lee Holdsworth/ Thomas Randle
#6 Ford Mustang - Cameron Waters/ Michael Caruso
#7 Nissan Altima - Andre Heimgartner/ Bryce Fullwood
#8 Holden ZB - Nick Percat/ Tim Blanchard
#9 Holden ZB - David Reynolds/ Luke Youlden
#12 Ford Mustang – Fabian Coulthard/ Tony D'Alberto
#14 Holden ZB - Tim Slade/ Ash Walsh
#15 Nissan Altima - Rick Kelly/ Dale Wood
#17 Ford Mustang - Scott McLaughlin/ Alex Premat
#18 Holden ZB - Mark Winterbottom/ Steve Richards
#19 Holden ZB - Jack Le Brocq/ Jonathon Webb
#21 Holden ZB - Macauley Jones/ Dean Canto
#22 Holden ZB - James Courtney/ Jack Perkins
#23 Ford GT - Will Davison/ Alex Davison
#33 Holden ZB – Richie Stanaway/Chris Pither
#34 Holden ZB - James Golding/Richard Muscat
#35 Holden ZB - Todd Hazelwood/ Jack Smith
#55 Ford Mustang - Chaz Mostert/ James Moffat
#56 Holden ZB - Brodie Kostecki/ Jake Kostecki
#78 Nissan Altima - Simona De Silvestro/ Alex Rullo
#97 Holden ZB - Shane van Gisbergen/ Garth Tander
#99 Holden ZB - Anton De Pasquale / Will Brown
#888 Holden ZB - Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowndes
CAMS Australian GT Championship
Dunlop Super2 Series
Touring Car Masters
Toyota 86 Racing Series
Friday 8 November
10:35 – 11:05 Practice 1
12:30 – 13:00 Practice 2
15:10 – 15:40 Practice 3
Saturday 9 November
10:40 – 11:10 Practice 4
12:25 – 12:45 ARMOR ALL Qualifying – Race 28
14:25 - 14:55 Race 28
17:20 – 17:30 Race 29
Sunday 10 November
09:45 – 10:05 Warm Up
13:25 - 16:45 Race 30
(All times listed are Victorian local times (AEDT))