2016 V8 Supercars season's finale: Shane's first or Jamie's seventh
Two bulls go head-to-head. It’s the shortest summary for the preview of the 2016 V8 Supercars Championship season’s finale this weekend at Homebush Street Circuit in Sydney. Red Bull Australia’s teammates Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup are entering the Coates Hire Sydney 500 double-header event as only two title contenders, separated by 191 points with 300 on offer.
In the previous 27 races, the quick 27-year-old Kiwi in the #97 Holden VF Commodore has won seven times and now he’s just a step from his maiden V8SC title. On the other side, the six years older six-time champion in the #88 Commodore collected six winner’s trophies through the season and he enters the race at the Sydney Olympic Park as subordinated driver because the point margin is really big. But, it isn’t over until it’s over, especially because Jamie Whincup was the dominating driver in Sydney in the previous three seasons. He won five of eight races. Three races were won by Shane.
“My mindset is to never give up and absolutely go out there and go as hard as you can to the last lap of the last race. “I’ll just focus on my job, there’s nothing I can do about anyone else, I’ve just got to put in my best performance this weekend and give myself the best opportunity to grab what is a tall ask – 190 points – with only 300 up for grabs. It’s all do-able, we’ll focus on what we do and see how we go,” Jamie Whincup said.
“Last year he got me on Saturday and he got me back on Sunday. We’ve always had good racing here, we’re normally the fastest guys here so just looking forward to getting out there and having a battle,” van Gisbergen said.
While two Bulls would fight for the title, the third Triple Eight Engineering’s driver Craig Lowndes has a mission to defend his third place in the championship standings. If he succeeds, it would be the first ever 1-2-3 championship finish for any team. Lowndes is just twenty-one points ahead of Scott McLaughlin (Volvo, Garry Rogers Motorsport), but Will Davison (Holden, Tekno Autosport) and Mark Winterbottom (Ford, Prodrive Racing) also have mathematical chances to catch the final spot on the championship podium.
In the Teams’ championship, Red Bull Australia/Triple Eight Race Engineering captured a title. Behind the Bulls, Holden Racing Team, Wilson Security Racing/GRM and Prodrive Racing Australia would fight for the runner-up spot.
Except for the championship-winning glory, three drivers would fight for the Armor All Pole Champion Award. Van Gisbergen and Whincup are locked up on six pole positions, whilst defending Pole champion Chaz Mostert collected five poles. The 250km races on Saturday and Sunday each have a qualifying session, so any one of the three can be crowned as the 2016 Pole Champion.
For some drivers, the last round of 2016 would be also the last round with current teams, as it was already announced that Garth Tander is leaving Holden Racing Team and Jason Bright is leaving Team BOC. Scott McLaughlin will also finish his three-year stint with Volvo, moving to DJR Team Penske in 2017.