Supercars’ generation change

A new generation of drivers has risen to the top of Supercars, with the likes of Brodie Kostecki, Will Brown and Broc Feeney stepping up to replace the likes of Shane van Gisbergen at the top of the championship, as we examine in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #131.

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When Feeney crossed the line to win the Adelaide 500 in 2022, it was a case of history repeating. Sixteen years earlier, his team boss and endurance co-driver Jamie Whincup crossed the same finish line to win in his first round with Triple Eight Race Engineering in 2006. The 2022 win may have been at the end of Feeney’s first season with the team, as opposed to the start of the season for Whincup, but there were some obvious parallels. In both cases, it represented a generation change in Supercars.

Feeney was only 18 years of age when he was hand-picked to replace the retiring Whincup at Triple Eight for 2022 and beyond. After a meteoric rise that included Super3 and Super2 championship wins, Feeney had big shoes to fill with Whincup rewriting the record books on his way to seven championship wins. Ending his rookie season with a such a convincing win on the punishing streets of Adelaide set the tone for what was to come in 2023, with a changing of the guard amongst the driver ranks.

Before 2023, just three drivers had won the championship dating back to 2016 – Shane van Gisbergen, Whincup and Scott McLaughlin. By the end of 2023, all three would have moved on, accelerating the generation change in Supercars. With Whincup’s retirement and van Gisbergen and McLaughlin’s departures to North America, the likes of Feeney were in prime positions to step up.

Helping the generation change was the introduction of the new Gen3 cars in 2023. Younger drivers with less experience in the different previous generation Supercar weren’t as disadvantaged as previously. Amongst the drivers who took their opportunity with the new cars were Erebus Motorsport’s Kostecki and Brown.

It was seen as a risk when Erebus Motorsport banked on youth and promoted its young endurance co-drivers Kostecki and Brown into full-time drives for 2021. The duo rewarded the team with pole positions, podiums and race wins, stepping up into championship contention in the new cars in 2023.

After three full-time seasons with Erebus Motorsport, Brown will head to Triple Eight to team with Feeney in place of the NASCAR-bound van Gisbergen in 2024. The Feeney-Brown inter-team rivalry shapes as one of the most intriguing for next season.

Feeney and Kostecki were the latest drivers to come off the Norwell Motorplex driving school production line of talent, under the tutelage of former Bathurst 1000 winner and championship regular Paul Morris.

Like with Brown, a diverse background in racing a variety of cars and mastering their techniques with regular training and coaching seems to be paying dividends. Just as Whincup raised the bar back in the mid-2000s, so too are the new generation in terms of how to achieve success.

The Adelaide 500 legacy

Ahead of the 2023 Supercars season finale and the event’s 25th anniversary celebrations in 2024, we look back on what makes the VAILO Adelaide 500 so special – the history, track and legacy in SupercarXtra Magazine issue #131.

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A new era began for the Adelaide 500 in 2022. Its much-anticipated return saw the event move from the start to the end of the Supercars season. With a champion now crowned in Adelaide, the event took on an extra dimension. This is how the Adelaide 500 became such a success; setting a template that Supercars replicated across Australia and New Zealand.

What we now know as Supercars looked very different before the arrival of the Adelaide 500. The 1998 championship wrapped up on the first weekend of August, with the Bathurst 1000 a non-championship round. And there were no street circuits across the 10-round championship.

The introduction of the Adelaide 500 set a new template for Supercars – a marquee street circuit event combining on-track action with off-track festivities. It was a big step forward for Supercars, with its arrival and the inclusion of Bathurst into the championship both happening in 1999.

Four years after the loss of the Australian Grand Prix, the Adelaide 500 saw the famed Adelaide Street Circuit come back to life. The circuit was slightly shortened, creating what became one of the most challenging corners on the track, the fast sweeper that is Turn 8, and leaving little rest time for drivers.

The format was and remains two 250-kilometre races, one each on the Saturday and Sunday. After the challenge of driving in the heat and humidity for close to two hours, drivers would need to back it up and do it all again the following day.

Driver fitness became crucial, after a number of drivers struggled to cope over the course of the race distance in those early years. Supercars itself also moved to longer races as a result, bringing pit strategy and the teams more into the equation.

The event was well supported from day one and kept growing, from an initial 162,000 spectators over three days in 1999 to 291,4000 over four days a decade later in 2008. The event became the Supercars season opener in 2002 and increased to four days in 2003. After a long off-season, drivers and teams were thrown in the deep end with Adelaide first up.

The event saw some historic performances over the years, with greats such as Craig Lowndes, Mark Skaife, Marcos Ambrose, Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin not only amongst the winners but also producing some of their career-best performances in Adelaide.

Lowndes and Skaife both stormed through from the rear of the field to take come from behind wins in 1999 and 2000 respectively. They then crashed into each other in Adelaide in 2001, in the year Lowndes defected from Holden to Ford.

Skaife and the Holden Racing Team were the dominant forces in the early 2000s. In addition to championship and Bathurst doubles in 2001 and 2002, Skaife also went back-to-back in Adelaide in 2002 and 2003.

There was a changing of the guard in the mid-2000s with the rise of Ambrose and Stone Brothers Racing, swinging the pendulum from Holden to Ford. Ambrose won in Adelaide in 2004 and 2005, off the back of two championship wins, before moving to NASCAR.

Who would replace Ambrose as the next dominator emerged in 2006, when Whincup, in his first round with Triple Eight Race Engineering, surprised many with victory in Adelaide. Whincup would go on to win a record-breaking seven championships, often kickstarted with wins in Adelaide. He remains the most successful driver in the history of the Adelaide 500 with four round wins – 2006, 2008, 2009 and 2011.

Van Gisbergen also scored a win on debut with a new team in 2013. After a shock departure from Stone Brothers Racing and talk of a premature retirement, he reappeared at Tekno Autosports and claimed the win in Adelaide. His performances at Tekno Autosports led to a drive at Triple Eight Race Engineering, as eventual successor to Whincup with three championship wins and two more Adelaide 500 titles.

McLaughlin took the fight to Whincup in a famous last-lap battle in Adelaide in 2014. McLaughlin was a star on the rise with his performance in Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Volvo Polestar S60, confirming his potential. He became a dominant force in Supercars with DJR Team Penske, winning three championships and two Adelaide 500s before moving to IndyCar.

Broc Feeney became the latest driver to make his mark in Adelaide, with his first win in 2022 a sign of what’s to come for the Triple Eight Race Engineering rising star.

Who will write their own history in 2023? The Adelaide Street Circuit awaits.

The SupercarXtra Magazine-produced 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500 official program is on sale in newsagents in South Australia and will be on sale at the event. CLICK HERE for store locations in South Australia.

Issue #131 on sale now!

SupercarXtra Magazine issue #131, featuring Brodie Kostecki, Will Brown and Broc Feeney on the cover, is on sale now from our online store and in newsagents across Australia.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #131.

CLICK HERE for the digital edition of issue #131.

The cover story for issue #131 looks at the generation change in Supercars, with the rise of the likes of Kostecki, Brown and Feeney over the last 12 months.

There are also features on Shane van Gisbergen’s move to NASCAR, the Gen3 cars, the Adelaide 500, who goes where in 2024, a review of the 2023 Supercars season and Bathurst 1000 and more.

There is also a double-sided pullout poster featuring the Supercars class of 2023 and the Adelaide 500 promotional poster, with issue #131 included in the 2023 VAILO Adelaide 500 official program that will be on sale at the event and in newsagents in South Australia.

Issue #131 includes the following:

Season in review: A look back at the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship.

Generation now: The generation change that’s happened over the 2023 season.

SVG goes NASCAR: Shane van Gisbergen’s winning debut and move to NASCAR.

The new look Supercar: How the Gen3 cars rolled out in 2023 and the impact it had on Supercars.

Who goes where in 2024: A team-by-team look at the driver changes on the Supercars grid in 2024.

Hometown hero: Nick Percat on racing on home soil in Adelaide and his team move in 2024.

The Adelaide 500 legacy: The importance of the Adelaide 500 to Supercars.

Bathurst in review: A look back at the 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000.

Ranking the masters of Bathurst

Only a handful of drivers have won the Bathurst 500/1000 three times or more. SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130 examines how their racing records in the event match up, as we let numbers rank the greatest amongst the masters of Mount Panorama by taking their victories, podiums and top 10s, calculating them against their total starts and taking the average of those percentages to see how they compare.

Unfair to compare eras, perhaps, but the unreliability of yesteryear is counter-balanced by the competitiveness and depth of the field today.

SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130 celebrates 60 years of the Bathurst 500/1000, including a look back at the most memorable Bathurst moments.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #130.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #130.

Coming in at number 11 is Dick Johnson. One of Ford’s great Bathurst heroes, Johnson cemented his status as a legend with his triumphant return to Mount Panorama following the heartbreak of crashing out of the lead after his encounter with a rock in 1980, winning the first of his three Bathursts in 1981.

Despite suffering from Ford’s sporadic support throughout the 1980s and being forced to develop the Mustang and Sierra as alternatives to the Falcon, Johnson remained a threat during the decade, culminating in a championship-Bathurst double in the Sierra in 1989. Returning to the Falcon from 1993, Johnson won again with long-time co-driver John Bowe in 1994. Each Bathurst finish for Johnson was in the top 10, though the number of retirements and the span of his career hurts his percentages.

Taking top spot in number one is Larry Perkins. Perkins never won an Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars title but could always be counted as a threat at Bathurst, proving to be an endurance specialist and master at preparing a car for a 1000-kilometre assault on Mount Panorama.

After stepping out of Peter Brock’s shadow following their hat-trick of wins from 1982 to 1984, it was with his own Perkins Engineering outfit that Perkins would get to six wins with three wins between 1993 and 1997. Though he wasn’t the outright quickest driver with just one pole position and fastest lap, his ability over long distances saw him record 18 top 10s from 22 finishes and 12 podiums, including his six wins, and three top-three finishes from his first three Bathurst starts.

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2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 event guide

The championship battle arrives on the concrete-lined streets of Surfers Paradise for the penultimate round of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship, the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.

Erebus Motorsport’s Brodie Kostecki leads the championship by 131 points over Bathurst winner Shane van Gisbergen, with their respective teammates Will Brown and Broc Feeney in third and fourth and Chaz Mostert the best Ford entry in fifth place.

After a Repco Bathurst 1000 dominated by the leading Chevrolet teams, Ford will be hoping further parity adjustments make a difference with just two rounds remaining on punishing street circuits – Gold Coast and Adelaide.

The 2023 Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500 is the 27th Supercars event at Surfers Paradise, and the 21st championship round.

There are two 250-kilometre races on the Saturday and Sunday, both preceded by qualifying and a top 10 Shootout.
Dunlop’s soft tyre will be used exclusively across the event.

Supercars will be supported by the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship, V8 SuperUtes and National Sport Sedans.

The likes of The Presets, Client Liaison, Illy, Havana Brown, Mashd N Kutcher, John Course and DJ Total Eclipse perform at the after race concerts.

The below is your guide to the event, featuring the event schedule, preview, team and driver profiles and more.

Sixty amazing Bathurst moments

Six decades of Bathurst 500/1000 events have produced countless amazing moments. We remember 60 of the most memorable to celebrate in the 60th anniversary of Bathurst’s endurance race at the Mount Panorama Circuit.

SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130 celebrates 60 years of the Bathurst 500/1000, including a look back at the most memorable Bathurst moments.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #130.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #130.

When the Phillip Island circuit deteriorated so badly it could no longer host the Armstrong 500, the event relocated to Mount Panorama in 1963.

That first Bathurst event featured 56 cars from 17 different makes – everything from Morris Minis, Volkswagen Beetles and even a Studebaker Lark – and was won by Harry Firth and Bob Jane in a Ford Cortina GT Mark I. A legend was born.

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The Greatest Race: Bathurst Super Grid

What if we were to bring together some of the best and most intriguing combinations in the history of the Bathurst 500/1000 at Mount Panorama to form the greatest Bathurst grid of all-time?

SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130 celebrates 60 years of the Bathurst 500/1000, including a Bathurst super grid.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #130.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #130.

Featuring every winner in the history of the event plus drivers who narrowly missed out, other notables from Australia and overseas and more, in addition to an even split of Fords and Holdens plus other manufacturers.

These are the rules we abided by to create the grid for what we call ‘The Greatest Race’: the combination must have teamed up in a Bathurst 500/1000 and a driver can only appear on this grid once, so no crossover between different combinations.

The aim is to form the deepest grid in terms of combinations, driver talent, teams and machinery, with grid positions based on not only their results as a combination but also the potential for results on the partnership strength and career achievements.

Sixty-four entrants have been included, equal to the largest grid recorded at Bathurst in 1984, to celebrate the talented drivers who have entertained us at Mount Panorama from 1963 to today.

In 64th place is Trevor Ashby and Steve Reed in their 1997 Holden VS Commodore. The long-time Lansvale Smash Repairs entrants of Trevor Ashby and Steve Reed hold the record for the longest-running partnership at Bathurst with 16 consecutive starts from 1986 to 2001, a record unlikely to ever be matched. The regular combination scored a best of eighth place in 1997; a standout amongst the privateer entrants in the history of the Great Race.

In pole position is Peter Brock and Jim Richards in their 1979 Holden LX Torana SS A9X. The two most experienced and successful drivers in the history of the Great Race were the first combination to claim a hat-trick of wins in a dominant spell from 1978 to 1980.

Brock had already won two Bathursts by the time the Holden Dealer Team hired Richards on its lead driver’s advice; the New Zealander having impressed at his debut at a wet Mount Panorama in 1974. The 1979 victory remains the most famous of their hat-trick. It was more of a demonstration than a race with the entry claiming pole position, leading every lap and winning by six laps, with Brock setting the fastest lap and new record on the final lap of the race.

Their third win in 1980 took Brock to the top of the all-time-wins list, a position where he remains with Richards right behind. Together they have 16 wins (Brock nine and Richards seven), 24 podiums (12 each) and 67 starts (Richards 35 and Brock 32). They are the undoubted greatest combination in the history of the Great Race at Bathurst.

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2023 Repco Bathurst 1000 event guide

The big one, the 2023 Repco Bathurst 1000, is here with the new Gen3 Supercar set to tackle the endurance classic at the Mount Panorama Circuit for the first time.

It’s 60 years since the first running of the Armstrong 500 at Mount Panorama, with the occasion being marked by a parade of legendary cars and drivers over the course of the event.

Chevrolet will return to the event for the first time since 1984, while it also marks the first time that Holden will not take part in the event. All eyes will be on our the Gen3 cars will adapt to the challenges of the Mount Panorama Circuit, with Chevrolet having had the edge over Ford over the course of the 2023 season.

There will be six practice session in addition to qualifying, the top 10 Shootout and a warm-up session before the 161-lap/1000-kilometre race. Unlike in recent Bathurst 1000s, there will be no specified number of compulsory pitstops.

The Bathurst 1000 will be run on soft compound tyres for the first time ever as part of a revamp of the Supercars tyre allocation in 2023, with Gen3 less demanding on corner loads than the previous generation Supercar.

Twenty-eight cars are entered in the event – 15 Chevrolet Camaros and 13 Ford Mustangs – with three wildcard entries from Blanchard Racing Team, Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight Race Engineering.

The below is your guide to the event, featuring the event schedule, preview, team and driver profiles and more.

Issue #130 Bathurst 60 years special on sale now!

SupercarXtra Magazine issue #130, a Bathurst 60 years special edition, is on sale now!

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #130.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #130.

It is 60 years since the 500-mile endurance race known as the Armstrong 500 moved from Phillip Island to Mount Panorama, Bathurst. From the first Bathurst 500 in 1963 to the Repco Bathurst 1000 of today, the event has grown to become Australia’s iconic motor race.

We celebrate the event in this special edition with features on the greatest driver combinations and drivers plus the best car, race, lap and so much more.

This issue starts out with a lap around the Mount Panorama Circuit, with the corner and straight names telling the story of the iconic circuit through some of the key players in its formation and the characteristics of its geography. Then we explore the development of the race through its history and the records.

To commemorate the 60-year anniversary, we look back and pick the 60 most amazing moments in the history of the race – from the memorable winners, headline-grabbing controversies, best laps, biggest crashes and more.

We bring together the best drivers and combinations in what we’ve called ‘The Greatest Race’: 64 entries featuring every winner of the Bathurst 500/1000 plus other notable drivers to form an iconic fantasy Bathurst grid. There’s also a look at the other great and intriguing combinations in the history of the event.

The masters of Bathurst are ranked as we compare the records of the 11 drivers to win the race three times or more.

We also pick what we consider to be the best and most significant car, race and lap over the last six decades. There’s also the story of why there were two Bathursts in 1997 and 1998 and the history of the Shootout qualifying format, which is also celebrating a milestone in 2023.

Issue #130 includes the following:

Welcome to Mount Panorama: A lap around the Mount Panorama Circuit, telling the history of the corners and straight names.

The evolution of Bathurst: The history of the Bathurst 500/1000, from the first race in 1963 to today.

Bathurst records: The winners, record holders and more from the Bathurst 500/1000.

60 amazing Bathurst moments: Reflecting back on the 60 most amazing moments in the 60-year history of Bathurst.

The Greatest Race: A super grid of some of Bathurst’s best and most intriguing driver combinations and cars.

The masters of Bathurst: Ranking the 11 three-time or more Bathurst winners based on their race results.

Brock & Lowndes: Master and apprentice: The ties that bind Bathurst greats Peter Brock and Craig Lowndes.

The last of the Big Bangers: The Holden VK Commodore that dominated at Bathurst in 1984 in the Group C swansong.

1994: The dawn of a new era. The significance of one of the best Bathursts over the last 60 years, the 1994 Bathurst 1000.

The Lap of the Gods: Greg Murphy’s unforgettable Shootout qualifying lap from 2003.

Two Bathursts – the great divide: The factors that led to there being two Bathursts in both 1997 and 1998.

Shootout on the Mountain: The history and development of the Bathurst 1000’s Shootout qualifying format.

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King of the Mountain: Brock’s best

Peter Brock is arguably the most famous Australian touring car racer – a Holden hero who conquered Mount Panorama a record nine times and enjoyed championship success in a long and storied career.

SupercarXtra Magazine issue #129, a celebration of the best drivers in the history of Australian touring cars, looks back on Brock’s best wins, cars, co-drivers and more from his racing life.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #129.

CLICK HERE to purchase the digital edition of issue #129.

The 1979 Bathurst 1000 ranks amongst his greatest wins – pole position, led every lap, fastest lap on the final lap of the race, won by six laps. The most dominant performance in Mount Panorama history.

He won the race in the Holden LX Torana SS A9X, the most successful Torana for Brock given his championship success in 1978 and his crushing win at Mount Panorama in 1979.

The Group C-spec Holden VK Commodore may have had a short lifespan but the iconic dayglo-liveried ‘big banger’ became an instant cult classic with dominant wins at Sandown and Bathurst.

In terms of rivals, Allan Moffat and Brock’s battles at Bathurst did more for the Ford and Holden rivalry than any other drivers. They won eight of the Bathurst 500/1000s held in the 1970s, fittingly four each.

Johnson took over where Moffat left off, carrying the Ford fight against Brock and Holden into the 1980s with their battle for the 1981 title the best of the lot.

Jim Richards and Brock were the original dream team, a combination that became the first to score a hat-trick of Bathurst wins from 1978 to 1980.

Perkins took over where Jim Richards left off, not only scoring a hat-trick of Bathurst wins from 1982 to 1984 but playing an important role in developing the Holden Dealer Team’s Commodores.