Dunlop Series Sleuthing: The Champion Cars

  • 25/04/2015
  • By V8 Sleuth
  • Dunlop Super2 Series

The V8 Supercars Dunlop Series will celebrate a significant milestone at the Perth SuperSprint at Barbagallo Raceway on May 1-3 - its 100th series round.

The series has provided the ideal home for a range of V8 Supercar Falcon and Commodores from all teams big and small, giving them plenty of chances to win races even after they depart the stage of the 'main game'.

No less than 15 different cars constructed by a variety of different teams have helped a total of 12 different drivers be crowned the Dunlop Series Champion since the series began in 2000.

In this special 'Dunlop Series Sleuthing' story, V8 Sleuth Aaron Noonan has chased down each and every one of the cars to have been crowned champion in the category.

So who won when in what and where is it?

2000 - Dean Canto - Glenn Seton Racing-built Falcon EL

The inaugural champion's Falcon was a former GSR car raced by Seton in 1998 and Neil Crompton in early 1999.

It now resides with Sydney's Andy Cantrell restored back to Seton '98 Ford Credit livery and competes in Sports Sedan racing. It also raced this year at Easter in the Combined Sedans class of the Bathurst Motor Festival.

2001 - Simon Wills - Gibson Motorsport-built Commodore VT

The 1999 Bathurst-winning Wynn's car of Steve Richards and Greg Murphy, it was raced in Kmart colours by Murphy in 2000 and sold to Team Dynamik for 2001 after Gibson Motorsport swapped to Fords.

It was converted to VY and raced again by the Kiwi for Team Dynamik when it debuted in the 2003 V8 Supercars Championship - it's the same car that nearly pinched the Sandown 500 win that year from Mark Skaife.

It made its last Dunlop Series appearance in Adelaide in 2007 in Wills' hands and the shell is believed to be retained by a Melbourne collector.

2002 - Paul Dumbrell - Perkins Engineering-built Commodore VX

A former Russell Ingall car, the '02 title winner saw further Dunlop Series service in the hands of Tony D'Alberto, the late Mark Porter and Adam Wallis.

It has now been placed back in the Castrol colours as raced at Bathurst in 2000 by Larry Perkins and Ingall and is owned by Sean Fardell, who drove in the V8 Touring Car demos at last year's Sydney Olympic Park V8 Supercar event.

2003 - Mark Winterbottom - Stone Brothers Racing-built Falcon AU

Built late in 2002 to replace the car destroyed at Bathurst by Wayne Gardner, this ex-Caltex car spent further time in the Dunlop Series after Winterbottom's title-winning season.

Now Touring Car Masters driver Brad Tilley raced it in 2004, so too did Greg Ritter, who won the Mallala Dunlop Series finale later that year.

Former V8 Supercar driver Chris Smerdon eventually bought it and retains it, restored to its 2002 Caltex livery as raced by David Besnard.

2004 - Andrew Jones - Brad Jones Racing-built Falcon AU

Formerly Brad Jones' OzEmail car in 2002 and Andrew's Dunlop Series car in 2003, the 2004 title-winner made one more appearance in the categoryin 2005 (Dale Brede, Wakefield Park) before being sold off to New Zealand to Kiwi Craig Corliss, who raced it at the Hamilton V8 Supercar event as well as in Thailand.

It's understood this car has returned to Australia and is in the hands of a collector wishing to restore it back to its original OzEmail livery.

2005 - Dean Canto - Dick Johnson Racing-built Falcon BA

A former Steven Johnson Shell Helix car, this machine raced in Andrew Thompson's hands in 2006 and won the Bathurst and Phillip Island Dunlop Series rounds.

Prodigy Motorsport and Race Image also raced it and after it finished in the Dunlop Series at Sydney in 2009 it was sold to Jason George in Melbourne, who has restored it to its Shell Helix livery.

See this story on that car's history as covered on earlier in the year.

2006 - Adam Macrow - Triple Eight-built Falcon BA

Max Wilson's Betta/Triple Eight car in 2004 and a spare in 2005, this car dominated the '06 yearin the hands of Adam Macrow and won five of seven rounds.

It nearly won the Dunlop Series crown again in 2008 with Dean Canto driving and now lives in New Zealand, where Kiwi Glenn Clarke races it among a variety of other cars at tracks including Pukekohe.

2007 - Tony D'Alberto - Walkinshaw Racing-built Commodore VZ

Rick Kelly's Toll 2006 V8 Supercars Championship title winner has kept on winning titles! Justin Ruggier won last year's Kumho V8 Touring Car Series in it for Eggleston Motorsport in the same year EMS also won the Dunlop Series with Paul Dumbrell.

Jack Perkins raced it recently, clean-sweeping the first V8 Touring Car round of the year at Sandown.

2008 - Steve Owen - Paul Morris Motorsports-built Commodore VZ

Nicknamed 'Earnhardt' in honour of the NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt, this ex-Sirromet Wines car was raced by Paul Morris' team over three seasons before Scott Loadsman bought it.

After Owen's win the car continued to compete in Dunlop Series and now races in the V8 Touring Car Series in the hands of Steve Briffa.

2009 - Jonathon Webb - Ford Performance Racing-built Falcon BF

Formerly raced by both Mark Winterbottom and Jason Bright before being sold to Matthew White's team, this car remained in the Dunlop Series in 2010, 2011 and 2012 before being used in the V8 Touring Car Series by a range of drivers, including team owner White.

It's now been restored to its 2007 FPR 'Cobra' livery by owner Jason Heck, who is now racing it in V8 Touring Cars.

2010 - Steve Owen - Tasman Motorsport-built Commodore VE

Formerly raced in 2008 by Jason Richards and 2009 by Jason Bargwanna for Tasman, this car was later raced in the Dunlop Series by Tony Bates and Dale Wood.

It was sold to Jim Pollicina who raced it in the 2013 Dunlop Series and remains owned by the Sydney driver.

2011 - Andrew Thompson - Triple Eight-built Commodore VE

Originally driven by Jamie Whincup in the second half of 2010, this became the Monster car driven to runner-up in the 2012 Dunlop Series by Scott Pye.

It returned to the track in the category for 2014in the hands of Matt Hansen and the Western Australian continues to race it this year in the Dunlop Series.

2012 - Scott McLaughlin - Stone Brothers Racing-built Falcon FG

Formerly Alex Davison's IRWIN car, McLaughlin raced it in late 2011 and then his title-winning 2012 season.

Privateer Michael Hector raced it in the Dunlop Seriesin 2013 and last year before Shae Davies drove it in his debut in the category in Sydney at the end of the season. It is for sale as a rolling chassis without engine.

2013 - Dale Wood - Ford Performance Racing-built Falcon FG

Raced by Will Davison for FPR in 2011 and 2012 it has continued to race in the Dunlop Series after Dale Wood's title win in 2013.

Andre Heimgartner drove it last year and won a race at Barbagallo and this year Chris Pither is driving it as the Ice Break Coffee entry.

2014 - Paul Dumbrell - Triple Eight-built Commodore VE II

The 2010 Bathurst 1000-winning car of Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife, Dumbrell is again driving this car in the Dunlop Series in 2015.

Should he win the title he'll not only become the first man to win three Dunlop Series crowns, but his car - chassis 888A-028 - will become the first to win multiple crowns in the category.

Dumbrell is currently duking it out with young gun Cameron Waters in the 2015 V8 Supercars Dunlop Series, which will hit the track next weekend at the Perth SuperSprint. Tickets and more details here.

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