2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season preview


March 2, 2017
Featured, News
Ian McLeigh


  • 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • V8 Supercars race
  • V8 Supercars Championship

The 2017 V8 Supercars Championship season, for the second year under the name of Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, would be the 19th running of the premier Australian racing competition since the Australian Touring Car Championship was converted into the Supercars Championship.

Fourteen rounds, new venue for season’s finale

Compared to the previous season, the format of the championship remains the same, with 14 point-paying rounds and one non-championship round as a supporting event to the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. The championship will be traditionally opened with Clipsal 500 at Adelaide Street Circuit. The season-closing event will be the Newcastle 500 at Newcastle Street Circuit instead of Sydney 500 at Homebush Street Circuit.

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship calendar

RoundDateEvent nameCircuit
1March 2-5Clipsal 500Adelaide Street Circuit, Adelaide, South Australia
-March 23-26Formula 1 Australian Grand PrixMelbourne GP Circuit, Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria
2April 7-9Tyrepower Tasmania SuperSprintSymmons Plains Raceway, Launceston, Tasmania
3April 21-23WD-40 Phillip Island 500Phillip Island GP Circuit, Phillip Island, Victoria
4May 5-7Perth SuperSprintBarbagallo Raceway, Perth, Western Australia
5May 19-21Winton SuperSprintWinton Motor Raceway, Benalla, Victoria
6June 16-18CrownBet Darwin Triple CrownHidden Valley Raceway, Darwin, Northern Territory
7July 7-9Townsville 400Townsville Street Circuit, Townsville, Queensland
8July 28-30Coates Hire Ipswich SuperSprintQueensland Raceway, Ipswich, Queensland
9August 18-20Red Rooster Sydney SuperSprintSydney Motorsport Park, Eastern Creek, New South Wales
10September 15-17Sandown 500Sandown Raceway, Melbourne, Victoria
11October 5-8Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, New South Wales
12October 20-22Gold Coast 600Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, Surfers Paradise, Queensland
13November 3-5ITM Auckland SuperSprintPukekohe Park Raceway, Pukekohe, New Zealand
14November 24-26Coates Hire Newcastle 500Newcastle Street Circuit, Newcastle, New South Wales
2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Scott McLaughlin (Ford), James Courtney (Holden), Simona de Silvestro (Nissan)

Scott McLaughlin (Ford), James Courtney (Holden), Simona de Silvestro (Nissan)

Sixteen Holdens, six Fords, four Nissans

Twenty-six full-time drivers will be on the starting grid again but the number of manufacturers continues to decrease. After Mercedes-Benz left the championship in 2016, Volvo will be missing in 2017. Among 26 cars, there will be 16 Holden VF Commodores, six Ford FG X Falcons and four Nissan L33 Altimas.

New Gen2 Supercar regulations are becoming valid in 2017, allowing manufacturers to use two-door coupe body styles and turbocharged four- or six-cylinder engines. However, new rules didn’t attract new manufacturers so far.

Volvo left the championship, GRM switched to Holdens

There will be many changes among drivers and the team on the grid. Garry Rogers Motorsport switched from Volvo to Holden, retaining James Moffat in the team. His teammate would be Garth Tander, who moved from Walkinshaw Racing/Holden Racing Team.

Former Tander’s teammate James Courtney remains in the #22 Holden of Walkinshaw Racing. As a replacement for Tander, Scott Pye moved from DJR Team Penske. On the other side, DJR Team Penske invited Scott McLaughlin as a replacement for Pye, alongside Fabian Coulthard, who will stay in the #12 Ford.

Defending champion Shane van Gisbergen will drive for Red Bull Holden Racing Team

Defending champion Shane van Gisbergen will drive for Red Bull Holden Racing Team

Triple Eight Race Engineering as Holden’s factory team

The major Australian car manufacturer decided to cooperate with Triple Eight Race Engineering as the official Holden factory team, instead of Walkinshaw Racing, which became a customer team. A result of such a decision is that Jamie Whincup and defending champion Shane van Gisbergen will compete under the name of Red Bull Holden Racing Team. Craig Lowndes and his #888 Holden remains under TeamVortex name.

Jason Bright also changed a manufacturer, moving from Brad Jones Racing’s Holden to his own Britek Motorsport, to drive #56 Ford prepared by Prodrive Racing Australia. Some of the drivers who stay with their respective teams are Tekno Autosports’ Will Davison or Prodrive Racing’s Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert.

Simona de Silvestro will drive the #78 Harvey Norman Nissan Altima

Simona de Silvestro will drive the #78 Harvey Norman Nissan Altima

Simona de Silvestro – the first ever female full-time entry

Among all changes and novelties, there is one milestone fact which would mark the 2017 season as a historic season. Simona de Silvestro joined Nissan Motorsport to become the first female full-time driver in a history of the championship. After participating last year at Bathurst 1000 with Nissan, sponsored by Harvey Norman, the Swiss driver gets sponsor’s support for a complete season to drive the #78 Nissan Altima for Team Harvey Norman.

Alex Rullo – the youngest ever V8SC competitor

One more record is set with naming Alex Rullo as Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport’s full-time entry in the #62 Holden, so the 16-year-old driver from Perth becomes the youngest ever V8 Supercars competitor. The team intended to nominate Matt Chahda as the second driver, but he was denied a Superlicense from CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motor Sport).

2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship entry list

No.TeamCarDriver
2Walkinshaw Racing/Mobil 1 HSV RacingHolden VF CommodoreScott Pye
3Lucas Dumbrell MotorsportHolden VF Commodore
5Prodrive Racing Australia/The Bottle-O RacingFord FG X FalconMark Winterbottom
6Prodrive Racing Australia/Monster Energy RacingFord FG X FalconCameron Waters
7Nissan Motorsport/carsales RacingNissan L33 AltimaTodd Kelly
8Brad Jones RacingHolden VF CommodoreNick Percat
9Erebus Motorsport/Penrite RacingHolden VF CommodoreDavid Reynolds
12DJR Team Penske/Shell V-Power RacingFord FG X FalconFabian Coulthard
14Brad Jones Racing/Freightliner RacingHolden VF CommodoreTim Slade
15Nissan Motorsport/Sengled RacingNissan L33 AltimaRick Kelly
17DJR Team Penske/Shell V-Power RacingFord FG X FalconScott McLaughlin
18Charlie Schwerkolt Racing/Preston Hire RacingHolden VF CommodoreLee Holdsworth
19Tekno Woodstock RacingHolden VF CommodoreWill Davison
21Tim Blanchard Racing-BJR/CoolDrive RacingHolden VF CommodoreTim Blanchard
22Walkinshaw Racing/Mobil 1 HSV RacingHolden VF CommodoreJames Courtney
23Nissan MotorsportNissan L33 AltimaMichael Caruso
33Wilson Security Racing/Garry Rogers MotorsportHolden VF CommodoreGarth Tander
34Wilson Security Racing/Garry Rogers MotorsportHolden VF CommodoreJames Moffat
55Rod Nash Racing-PRA/Supercheap Auto RacingFord FG X FalconChaz Mostert
56Britek Motorsport-PRA/MEGA RacingFord FG X FalconJason Bright
62Lucas Dumbrell MotorsportHolden VF CommodoreAlex Rullo
78Nissan Motorsport/Team Harvey NormanNissan L33 AltimaSimona de Silvestro
88Triple Eight Race Engineering/Red Bull Holden Racing TeamHolden VF CommodoreJamie Whincup
97Triple Eight Race Engineering/Red Bull Holden Racing TeamHolden VF CommodoreShane van Gisbergen
99Erebus Motorsport/GB Galvanising RacingHolden VF CommodoreDale Wood
888Triple Eight Race Engineering/TeamVortexHolden VF CommodoreCraig Lowndes

Photos: supercars.com,

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