Round 12 of the iRacing.com V8 Supercar Series headed intoJapan for the season finale, the teams having to tackle a new layout at SuzukaInternational Racing Course. The drivers contested the moto course, this time with one different and one additional chicane.
Coming into the final round, Madison Down had a 26 pointlead over Justin Ruggier, but Down’s drop week was 16 points less thanRuggier’s. Of course, anything can happen within a split second.
Down couldn’t have asked for a better starting position,taking pole position with a 2:07.967min, while Championship rival Ruggieroccupied the second position with a 2:08.069min.
Joshua Muggleton and Vail Riches would start from the secondrow, Rens Broekman and John Emerson from the third, and Richie Stanaway qualifiedseventh. Jon Latham would continue his good qualifying form and start fromeighth place, and rounding out the top 10 were Mitchell McLeod and Brad Ryan.
When the lights went green it was Down who got the jump andcovered Ruggier straight away. Leading the field into turn one, Muggleton lookedto the outside of Ruggier – but backed out when slight contact was made – andMuggleton settled back into third place behind Ruggier. Coming into turn threeBroekman had his nose on the inside of Riches and unfortunately contact wasmade when Riches turned across, not knowing Broekman was there and sending himback through the field.
On lap two coming into the last chicane Leigh Ellis carrieda little too much speed and with Michael Fabian in front losing some mid-cornerspeed, Ellis tapped the back of Fabian, sending him around. Unfortunately forFabian, the damage was severe enough to have to retire from the race.
A lot of the action was coming into the final chicane, whenon lap five Stanaway was following behind McLeod extremely closely. Just whenMcLeod started to brake, Stanaway was a little late and heavy contact was made,sending McLeod into the inside wall and almost hitting Matthew Hill with theout of control car.
Back up front it was Down and Ruggier holding station, withMuggleton in third, but on lap 10 coming into the last chicane Down took toomuch kerb, slowing him down and handing the lead over to Ruggier.
On lap 11 a massive failure of some sort for Brad Ryan meanthe couldn’t even turn through the Esses – he went head on into the wall,ending his night.
On lap 13 into the final chicane Hill in his final race forDynamic Simsport ended with a blown engine while having a strong run.
As the race headed to the end, fuel was at the back ofeveryone’s mind – would everyone have enough to make it?
The battle for sixth between Latham and Stanaway came to a halt when Stanaway made contact with the back of Latham,sending him around and back down through the field – he ended up one lap down.
The excitement was just about to start when on the final lapDown had closed right up to the back of Ruggier. With fuel being an issue inthe early race for Ruggier everyone was unsure of how this race would go. AsRuggier came out of the final corner and onto the main straight his car coughedand then ran out of fuel only a few 100 metres from the finish line. Down wasright on the back of Ruggier and it almost ended in tears for both drivers – Downhad to quickly swerve out of the way to avoid heavy contact.
Down went on to win the race, with Ruggier coming home insecond place.
The battle for third wasn’t over as the cars approached thefinish line – third-placed Muggleton ran out of fuel and Broekman made a quickmove down the inside. At the line, Broekman captured the last podium positionby 0.036sec while Muggleton had to settle for fourth place.
John Emerson finished in fifth place with Richie Stanaway insixth.
Vail Riches made a fantastic fight back after the lap oneincident and managed to finish in seventh place with Shaun Kelly behind ineighth in his last outing in the V8SFG colours. Marlon McMullen and Leigh Ellishad a fantastic battle all race and McMullen grabbed ninth ahead of Ellisrounding out the top 10.
Well Done to the Season One Champion Madison Down – this makes it his sixth iRacing.comV8 Supercar Series title.
Top Five Drivers – Championship Points – Overall
1. Madison Down – 2055
2. Justin Ruggier – 1999
3. Joshua Muggleton – 1961
4. Vail Riches – 1849
5. John Emerson – 1822
Split Two Winner: Adrian Stratford
Split Three Winner: Todd Parkes
Split Four Winner: Andrew Wallace
Split Five Winner: Joshua Burdon
Broadcast done by the crew at www.v8sonline.com.au – visit for the full highlights video of all 12 rounds.