The highs and lows of Bright's career
- By Stefan Bartholomaeus
- Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
Supercars.com takes a year-by-year look back at the highs and lows of Jason Bright's Supercars career.
1997: Garry Rogers Motorsport, Alan Jones Racing
During a title-winning Australian Drivers’ Championship campaign, Bright made a surprise Supercars debut with Garry Rogers Motorsport at Symmons Plains.
Subbing for Steven Richards, who had a Super Touring commitment that weekend, a 24-year-old Bright impressed in wet conditions, scoring a pair of top 10 finishes.
He swapped to Alan Jones Racing for the enduros, recording a podium at Sandown with Jones before acting as the third driver at Bathurst when American Scott Pruett joined the team.
1998: Stone Brothers Racing
Bright earned a full-time call-up when the Stone brothers took over Jones’ team for 1998, finishing ninth in the championship.
He showed flashes of speed through the year, including pole at Hidden Valley, before rebounding from a practice crash to win Bathurst alongside Richards.
1999: Stone Brothers Racing
Continued to establish himself and SBR as a Supercars force, taking maiden championship race and round wins at Hidden Valley – the only round triumph for Ford’s new AU that season.
Ended up eighth in the final standings after failing to finish the Queensland 500 and Bathurst 1000, before heading to the United States for a season of Indy Lights.
2000: Dick Johnson Racing
While a one-off Champ Car start on the Gold Coast proved the highlight of Bright’s 2000 season, he made time for a single Supercars outing at Bathurst with Dick Johnson Racing.
Teamed with Paul Radisich, it was a near perfect score, with the duo finishing second – just 2.4s adrift of the winning GRM Holden.
2001: Holden Racing Team
With a lack of funds preventing a continuation of his US journey, Bright made a high-profile return to Australia, stepping into the Holden Racing Team Commodore vacated by Craig Lowndes.
He scored a big early win at the Adelaide 500 and ended the season a career-best third in points after a further eight top-three race results.
2002: Holden Racing Team
A second season with the HRT yielded four race wins, including round success at both Barbagallo and Winton, on the way to fourth in points.
Bright found himself overshadowed, however, by team-mate Skaife who, with the team very much moulded around him, dominated to take Bathurst and the title.
2003: Paul Weel Racing/Team Brock
Bright moved to Paul Weel Racing for 2003, which was branded Team Brock and initially ran as a third team at Clayton alongside HRT and K-Mart Racing.
Amid drama over parent Tom Walkinshaw Racing’s collapse, Bright won in his second start with the team at Albert Park and finished fourth in points, having led for a period early on.
2004: Paul Weel Racing
Like his second year at HRT, the second time around with PWR netted four race wins, two round wins and third in points.
The highlight came in New Zealand, where Bright ended local hero Greg Murphy’s unbeaten run of Pukekohe round wins from the previous three seasons.
2005: Ford Performance Racing
Bright moved to FPR for 2005 under a deal with Ford that included the manufacturer backing the establishment of Britek Motorsport as its own two-car operation.
Again replacing Lowndes, who had finished just 20th in FPR’s horror 2004 season, Bright was ninth in points and without a podium in what was very much a building year.
2006: Ford Performance Racing
FPR hit its straps in 2006 with Bright and new signing Mark Winterbottom, who combined to win the Sandown 500.
Bright also won at Winton, Hidden Valley, Symmons Plains and Bahrain to end the year fifth in points, and had been leading early at Bathurst before engine trouble struck.
2007: Britek Motorsport
Switching across to his own team for 2007, Bright’s results took a major dive, finishing 21st in the standings after a string of DNFs, scoring a best race result of seventh.
The biggest disappointment came at Bathurst, where strategy put the Fujitsu Ford in contention in the closing stages, before Bright was one of many caught out by the wet conditions.
2008: Britek Motorsport
Another tough season followed in 2008, which again ended without a top six finish and with Bright 19th in the final standings.
With Ford withdrawing its support and the Global Financial Crisis making for a tough sponsor market, Britek, which had also run Ford Australia’s rally program, shut its doors at season’s end.
2009: Britek Motorsport/Stone Brothers Racing
Britek was reborn as a single-car customer at Stone Brothers Racing, reuniting Bright with the team at which he started his full-time Supercars career.
Although again just 19th in the standings, Bright showed flashes of speed including a pole at Phillip Island and a fine third in the opening leg of the season-ending Sydney 500.
2010: Brad Jones Racing
Bright and his remaining Britek Racing Entitlements Contract both moved to BJR for 2010, with Bright driving the team’s existing #14 entry, and Britek underpinning the #21.
Reuniting with engineer Phil Keed, who he had worked with at PWR and FPR, Bright was 14th in the standings with podiums at Symmons Plains and Sydney Olympic Park.
2011: Brad Jones Racing
In what he now describes as the most-satisfying stretch of his career, Bright scored BJR’s long-awaited first Supercars Championship race wins midway through 2011.
The first came at Barbagallo and the second at Winton just weeks later. Inconsistency, however, left Bright 16th in the final standings.
2012: Brad Jones Racing
The final year of the Project Blueprint regulations yielded just one podium for BJR, scored by Bright at Phillip Island, as Triple Eight and FPR dominated.
The Bright/Keed partnership was split early in the campaign, with the latter moving onto the car of new recruit Fabian Coulthard, who finished 11th in points, five places ahead of Bright.
2013: Brad Jones Racing
BJR fired out of the blocks strongly as the Next Generation rules debuted, with Bright winning early races at Symmons Plains and Pukekohe on the way to seventh in points.
At the latter event, Bright took out the inaugural Jason Richards Trophy, marking an emotional tribute to ex-BJR team-mate Richards, who had died at the end of 2011 following a 14-month battle with cancer.
2014: Brad Jones Racing
Season 2014 proved tougher going and started in dramatic circumstances with Bright flipping wildly at the Senna Chicane during the season-opening Adelaide 500.
Pukekohe again proved a happy hunting ground, taking a fourth career race win at the venue, on the way to 11th in the final standings.
2015: Brad Jones Racing
With Coulthard very much established as BJR’s number one, Bright’s 2015 season yielded 16th in the standings – his lowest finish since 2012.
Highlights included podiums at Sydney Motorsport Park and Sydney Olympic Park, with the former result coming despite a late-race punt from Shane van Gisbergen and subsequent short-cutting of the circuit.
2016: Brad Jones Racing
A sixth place at Symmons Plains was as good as it got for Bright’s final BJR season, which he ended 17th in points.
Both Bright and his REC, which had continued to run the #21 entry, departed BJR at season’s end, heading back to where it had all began at the now Prodrive-branded FPR outfit.
2017: Prodrive Racing Australia
Heading to the Newcastle season finale 16th in the standings, Bright has been overshadowed by his three younger team-mates throughout the campaign.
Top 10 Shootout appearances at Townsville and Bathurst, however, have shown Bright is still a force on his day, and he’s clocked five top 10 finishes in the last seven races ahead of the Newcastle finale.