The 2019 Supercars season is just days away, and this year marks 20 years of the event that usually kicks off the season- The Adelaide 500!
Originally meant to fill an Australian Grand Prix sized hole, the Adelaide 500 has become a tourism smash in the two decades since, attracting corporates, South Australians, yobbos, bogans and a potentially a mutated mix of all four alike!
2019 begins a new era in the storied history of Australian Touring Car Racing, as the traditional Falcon vs Commodore (vs Altima vs AMG vs S60) rivalry ends, and making its first appearance in Australia’s major motorsport category since 1990 is the iconic Ford Mustang, which on first glance is a Shetland pony with a Mustang badge.
So where better to start with than the three teams running Fords:
#17 Scott McLaughlin and #12 Fabian Coulthard
The Dick Johnson-Roger Penske partnership finished off the job after the heartbreak of 2017, with Scotty McLaughlin winning his first title on the streets of Newcastle. Fittingly, the 17th and last title for the Ford Falcon was won by car #17, and as a tribute to DJ, McLaughlin will wear it as the defending champion instead of the usual #1.
Fittingly, Dick won the first ever touring car race held on the Adelaide streets in 1985 (As a support for the Australian Grand Prix), driving the Greens-Tuf Mustang.
#5 Lee Holdsworth, #6 Cam Waters and #55 Chaz Mostert
The big silly-season change at Tickford was the departure of 2015 Champion Mark Winterbottom after a very decorated 12 year stint with the team, which included conquering the Mountain in 2013 after the epic duel with Jamie Whincup.
Many years ago that was high treason, but now it’s just ‘fair enough’.
Anyway, Richie Stanaway also left. Apparently.
#23 Will Davison
Formerly Lucas Dumbrell motorsport, businessman Phil Munday ultimately bought out 100% ownership of the team last year, with former Walkinshaw chief Rob Crawford leading the team operations.
Running as a satellite team of Tickford this year, they’ll run a Mustang with a reskinned FGX until mid-year when a new car will be ready.
Ironically, Munday is an avid collector of rare Holdens.
Triple Eight Holden Racing Team
#88 Jamie Whincup, #97 Shane Van Gisbergen
Triple Eight did regain the Team’s Championship from DJR-Penske, but Van Gisbergen’s title challenge was cruelled by the post-race penalty in Race 1 at Newcastle for wheel spin in a pit stop, giving Scott McLaughin the points break he needed.
Of course the major change is that Craig Lowndes has retired from full-time driving, which means the #888 number has disappeared from Roland Dane’s team for the first time since 2003. Of course, he’ll be back to partner Jamie in the Enduro Cup, while The Giz is going to cause death and destruction with Garth Tander.
The Giz has taken a clean sweep of the streets of Adelaide in the past two editions of the Adelaide 500, and I’d expect him to be fighting with McLaughlin for the title again.
Walkinshaw Andretti United
#2 Scott Pye, #22 James Courtney
2018 turned out to be a decent season for the new three headed hydra of Walkinshaw, the Andrettis and United Autoports (Run by McLaren’s Zak Brown).
Scott Pye managed to win his first career race at the Australian Grand Prix, finished every race, once again ran 2nd at Bathurst and finished 7th in the Championship, while James Courtney did finish on the podium three times.
Mobil 1 once again appears on the bonnet, while MEGA is the new major sponsor after Boost Mobile pulled a dick move by going over to GRM unannounced.
#9, David Reynolds, #99 Anton de Pasquale
When people around the world mention that Daniel Ricciardo was the first motorsport driver to ever ‘do a shoey’, I say BULLSHIT!
Davey Reynolds was a bloody PIONEER for motorsport drivers drinking from a smoldering, smelly boot after a hard day in the cockpit, which he did back in 2015 after winning a race at Hidden Valley, a full year before Ricciardo started doing it.
Of course one man beat Dave by a month- Back when the V8 Utes were all the rage, 3-time champion Ryal Harris celebrated with the first recorded Shoey on a podium after a win at Barbagallo, and absolutely nobody noticed.
Formula One has now trademarked the term Shoey and ripped Dave and Ryal of their rightful place in history. It’s a deadset disgrace.
Oh yeah, were where we? Expect Davey to be back in the Top 5 at the end of the season.
Brad Jones Racing
#8 Nick Percat, #14 Tim Slade
Percat and Slade stick in the main team after they finished 10th and 11th last season. The boys from Albury are the only rurally based team in Supercars, and also the only team based in New South Wales, further proving the series’ hatred for Sydney.
Tim Blanchard Racing
#21 Macauley Jones
Owned by the now retired Tim Blanchard, BJR will prepare and manage the car for Brad’s son Macauley Jones, making his full-time debut this season.
Garry Rogers Motorsport
#33 Richie Stanaway, #34 James Golding
GRM pulled a Stone Cold Stunner in January by dumping veteran Garth Tander, leaving him off the grid for the first time since 1997 (Of course he will appear with Triple 8).
Richie Stanaway comes over from Tickford to fill his spot, and James Golding is still in #34. Riveting.
Charlie Schwerkolt Racing
#18 Mark Winterbottom
Yes, that’s right, Blue Oval stalwart Mark Winterbottom is driving a Holden.
At first it’ll be more shocking than looking at Luke Hodge in a Brisbane jumper, but come the Enduro Cup, ‘Team 18’ will have Frosty paired up with an old friend- Steven Richards.
In case you don’t remember, they won Bathurst together at FPR.
#19 Jack Le Brocq
If he changed his name to Jack The Brock he’d be the most popular driver amongst Holden fans.
Matt Stone Racing
#35 Todd Hazelwood
Matt Stone switched to a Holden in the back half of 2018, and once again former Super2 Champion Hazelwood will be with the team.
Of course, Todd will be hoping that people will remember him for something other than this.
He walked out of that unharmed with a mouthful of dirt.
#3 Garry Jacobson, #7 Andre Heimgartner, #15 Rick Kelly, #78 Simona de Silvestro
The Kelly gang took a big kick in the Jatz Crackers when Nissan announced they were dropping their factory support for Supercars in May of 2018, which was especially cruel as Rick Kelly ended up winning the team’s first race in 3 years on that same weekend, and ultimately finished 8th in the Championship.
But they’ll soldier on like the Mildura mudders they are.
Kelly is now the most experienced driver in the field with Lowndes and Tander now out of full-time drives, Simona is still the only driver from outside of the continent of Oceania, while Andre Heimgartner returns and Garry Jacobson finally get a full-time drive.
Honestly do not know what to make of them now that Nissan have left them bloodied and beaten in motorsport hospital.
Of course, a look at Adelaide wouldn’t be complete without checking out two decades worth of drivers coming unstuck at the infamous Turn 8.