John Bowe: SMP may have decided this year's Champion
- By John Bowe
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
After the weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park the Pirtek Enduro Cup could take on a whole new meaning for some teams heading to Sandown ... more on that a little later.
The weekend's round might have been a tipping point in terms of this year's Championship. The very fabric our Championship has these moments, and as a driver in contention for the trophy, you pray should you have a bad round, those close to you don't have a blinder.
In Frosty/FPR's case that is exactly what has happened down pit lane at Triple Eight/Red Bull Racing ... Jamie Whincup did what he's done many time before, banked another good weekend while Frosty had a weekend he'd like to forget!
Not that Tim Edwards asks me for advice, I'm sure given his weekend over he may have considered replicating Chaz Mostert's setup for Frosty's car sooner - I'm not sure there will be enough time to shorten up Jamie Whincup and Triple Eight's march ... once again.
They (T8) seem to have adopted Frosty's swagger from earlier in the year, head down and get on with it.
I think it's also important to give credit where it's due. Scotty McLaughlin was racy all weekend, he looked all over it at the start of Saturday's sprint races then it just got out of shape.
I picked Scotty in his GRM Volvo for a big weekend... it took till Sunday's race for him to show what he had. The circuit (pit straight) favours/rewards cars with good aero (downforce) into turn one and the Volvo proved my theory - it was very fast. Turn one is one of the fastest in the country, so there you have it.
Overall I thought the weekend's racing was fantastic, how were the conditions during Saturday's races? Would you fancy having a crack in those conditions, certainly not for the faint hearted. If you were beyond thrrd or fourth you were in the 'snow' with no vision or sound - no place for the faint hearted I can tell you.
I was pleased for HHA/Walkinshaw Racing's Nick Percat, he showed the country he is now a legitimate contender for race wins in his rookie solo V8 Supercars season - a very mature drive, young fella.
And how solid was the Giz in the wet? There's something about the Kiwis in the wet! Add to the mix Scotty and Fabian Coulthard, they all had strong showings over the weekend, in less than perfect conditions.
Looking up the road, the Pirtek Enduro Cup begins next round at the Wilson Security Sandown 500. I reckon Messer's Winterbottom/Lowndes/Courtney will be awake some nights thinking how do they recover from their SMSP weekend.
While they're plotting and planning I dare say Jamie and his Triple Eight crew will just be going quietly about their business, gathering points - not needing to play catch up or take risks. It's a long way from being done but I'd prefer to be in front at this point of the Championship rather than chasing!
Sandown is such an awesome circuit, I love it. The viewing is spectacular and it is steeped in tradition. I would absolutely tell everybody to get your tickets and get to the track - this is such an incredible race weekend that is best seen live and trackside!
On another tack if you were in Sydney, you may have seen our GT Championship support category races. I drove the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari, I want you to put this name in your 'one to watch' - Richard Muscat. We had two one hour (teams) races, Richard had a DNF on Saturday so he started Sunday's race from last position.
His race (win) on Sunday was the very reason you'd be trackside to watch the action. Richard drove through a pretty fair field to meet the flag on Sunday - I'm sure many of the V8 Supercars team owners saw him race and took notes.
Richard drives Mercedes SLS for Erebus, so you reckon Betty might have a big blanket over him to keep him in their fold. Were I running a V8 Supercars team I'd be look to have a chat with his people - well done mate. Another 'JB, one to watch in the future'
I look forward to seeing you at Sandown for the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
Follow John Bowe on Facebook. Bowe is supported by Wilson Security, Dunlop Super Dealers and Coates Hire, and competing in the 2014 Touring Car Masters Championship.