Season 2021 is go!
The opening round of this year’s Repco Supercars Championship has been keenly awaited and now it’s finally here this week – how good!
I’m particularly thrilled about the fact I get to step foot this weekend within a race track at the Repco Mount Panorama 500 for the first time since March last year, but also that throughout the season I’ll be bringing you a range of stories and insights from inside the world of Supercars right here on The Garage as a Repco ambassador.
Repco has a really long and proud history in motorsport, particularly in Supercars across the journey, so it’s sensational to see them really investing heavily in the sport as not only naming rights partner of the championship but of a pair of Bathurst events as well.
Repco had a long involvement with Garry Rogers Motorsport in the 1990s and 2000s, including winning the Bathurst 1000 with Garth Tander and Jason Bargwanna that year. And there was a young bloke called Jamie Whincup in one of the team’s cars back in 2003 – it feels like yesterday and here he is lining up for his final season as a Supercars driver. Time indeed does fly!
It’s an exciting time heading into a new championship season and, like any new year, there are literally a million questions that will be answered over the course of the next 12 rounds and 32 races of the Repco Supercars Championship.
But here are the five that will be at the very front of my mind when I walk in the gate at Mount Panorama later this week.Can DJR still win without Penske?
I think they most certainly will still be up the front winning races this year, even with wholesale change on the driver front with Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale replacing Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard. Will they be as successful as they have been over the last three or four years? Time will tell, but it’s going to be a tough slog to be able to sustain such a level of performance.Can Whincup go out with an eighth championship?
There’s no doubt he can. But will he? If there’s a Red Bull Ampol Racing driver that wins the championship in 2021, all signs are pointing to it being Shane van Gisbergen. He came on strong in the back end of last year and doesn’t have the off-track workload of Whincup, who holds a spot on the Supercars Commission in addition to being a shareholder in the team and is transitioning into the MD/Team Principal role for 2022. But never, ever, count out Whincup.Who is the main challenger to Triple Eight and DJR?
It’s out of two – Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert. Waters was runner-up last year in both the championship and the Bathurst 1000 and Mostert helped haul Walkinshaw Andretti United back up the Drivers Championship point score sheet.Why does this feel weird?
Ah, yep it sure does, but in a good way! Racing Supercars at Bathurst in February is indeed something that no one in the current field has ever experienced. The last time the famous Mountain hosted a single driver round of the championship was back before it was rebranded as V8 Supercars – the Australian Touring Car Championship in February 1996 was the last time a round like this was held with three, 20-minute sprint races held. All were won by John Bowe.Has Erebus found the next young stars?
Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki have both got their big shots this year at Erebus Motorsport, replacing David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale. They are future stars in Supercars and have done great things in the junior categories, but not quite yet shall they be regular podium visitors. They won’t challenge for race wins or podiums for a while but are perfectly placed to lead an Erebus fightback after a 2020 season that went against trend for the Melbourne-based squad.