10 things we learned in 2020

03 Jan 2021
The 2020 season offered some key questions heading into 2021

The 2020 Supercars season may have ended nearly three months ago, but it offered some key questions heading into 2021.

Scott McLaughlin and Shell V-Power Racing again proved the class of the field, but the champion has left for IndyCar, and the Penske-Dick Johnson Racing alliance has come to a close.

The 2020 Championship: Recap in under 3 minutes

However, 2020 proved that several drivers and teams had the nous to outsmart and outpace the Shell Fords, with the Bathurst season finale just one example.

The 2021 season is also set to return to circuits which missed out in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and with changes aplenty, the form guide is up in the air.

  • 10 stats that mattered in season 2020

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  • Top 10 Supercars races of 2020 

In the wake of one of the strangest years in history, here are 10 things Supercars.com learned in 2020.

1) Tickford must help a hungry Waters to the top

Cameron Waters finished the season second to champion Scott McLaughlin, marking Tickford's best championship result since Mark Winterbottom's 2015 title triumph.

At the surface, it was a breakout year for Waters. However, no other Tickford driver finished in the top 10, with Lee Holdsworth 11th, James Courtney 13th and Jack Le Brocq 15th.

It's no secret that a team needs multiple cars at the front to mount a successful title challenge, and Tickford can look to 2019, where all four cars finished in the top 10.

With Waters nearing the best form of his career, the Ford team needs to lift its game across all its cars should he be supported in a serious bid for the 2021 title.

2) Reynolds needed a change

There was an element of shock when it was announced David Reynolds would leave Erebus Motorsport just one year into a "lifetime" 10-year deal, but it was clear the rigours of 2020 had taken its toll on his confidence.

Without regular engineer Alistair McVean due to COVID-19 restrictions, Reynolds struggled for consistency as he failed to record a podium finish in a season for the first time since 2011.

However, with a first child on the way and a new opportunity begging for 2021, Reynolds can become a force wherever he lands, with the 2017 Bathurst winner linked to a move to Kelly Racing.

3) Chaz on the charge

Chaz Mostert finished no better than fifth in the championship in his six-year stint with Tickford. He matched that in his first season with Walkinshaw Andretti United, despite failing to win a race.

If WAU can unlock what its star driver needs, he'll be a constant at the front in 2021. Mostert and engineer Adam De Borre eked out great pace at times in 2020, from one-lap speed to late-race pace.

What Mostert needs is consistency across his qualifying and race set-ups. He has won at seven of the circuits which will feature on the 2021 calendar, so he's no stranger to what's to come. Can WAU make it happen for its powerhouse talent?

4) SVG sounds 2021 warning with mountain masterclass

We all knew what Shane van Gisbergen was capable of even before his Bathurst victory in October. However, that day, we witnessed to a level of driving only demonstrated by all-time greats.

When van Gisbergen's in that mood, few drivers in world motorsport would be able to wrangle him - which is why Cameron Waters' efforts in Bathurst should win the Tickford ace deserved plaudits.

Despite losing long-time engineer Grant McPherson, who will shift to Walkinshaw Andretti United, van Gisbergen will be buoyed by his biggest career win heading to the new season.

With rival Scott McLaughlin leaving for IndyCar, the door is ajar for SVG to prove his 2016 title win in his maiden Triple Eight season was no fluke.

5) Coulthard well-placed for new challenge

Fabian Coulthard demonstrated his intention to fight for his worth in turning down a Dick Johnson Racing co-drive to sign a full-time deal with Team Sydney.


The expanded Tekno operation remains a work in progress, but it showed signs of potential in 2020. The signing is a coup for both driver and team, with Coulthard set to act as team leader.

Being Scott McLaughlin's team-mate was never easy, and Coulthard's career can take a step in a positive direction in leading a team, no matter what detractors say about the Team Sydney opportunity.

With decorated engineer Dr Geoffrey Slater linking up with Jonathon Webb's squad, the only way is up for Team Sydney. Can Coulthard fast-track its progress?

6) We missed absent circuits in 2020

We can never thank enough the venues which made the truncated 2020 season possible. However, we felt for the circuits which missed out on Supercars action due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 season will see 32 races spread across 12 venues, with Tasmania, Winton, Perth, New Zealand and the Gold Coast all eagerly awaiting the category's return.

Perth will join Sydney in hosting night racing, while the season will end on the streets of Surfers Paradise following a trip across the Tasman. Excited? You bet.

7) DJR getting drivers at the top of their game

Dick Johnson Racing enters 2021 with an all-new driver line-up and without major Team Penske support - but don't expect the Ford team to move backwards.

Signing a hungry Will Davison can only be a good thing, with the 38-year-old returning from his 23Red Racing exile with a first-up Bathurst podium co-driving for Tickford.

Anton De Pasquale, who won a race en route to eighth in the 2020 standings, is just getting started at 25.

DJR fans, watch this space.

8) Midfield teams eyeing bigger things

Brad Jones Racing returned to winning ways in 2020 and even grabbed pole positions. The Holden team, which will enter 2021 with an unchanged driver line-up led by Nick Percat, should accept nothing but gains in the new season.

Kelly Racing also showed impressive glimpses in the first year of its Mustang programme, with Andre Heimgartner edging closer to an elusive maiden race win. Rick Kelly's retirement will open the door for even more flexibility across all stocks, with David Reynolds linked to the vacant seat.

Then, there's Team 18. One of the youngest teams on the grid has gained Richard Hollway as its new head of engineering, while Scott Pye was a shining light in 2020. Can he or Mark Winterbottom finally deliver the team's first win in 2021?

9) Fullwood will be one to watch in 2021

Continuity counts for a lot in professional sport, and 2019 Super2 champion Bryce Fullwood will have it in 2021 after he earned a contract extension with Walkinshaw Andretti United.

Fullwood impressed in his maiden main game season, clinching seven top 10 qualifying performances to go with a brilliant podium at The Bend. He also hovered around the top 10 at Bathurst before power steering dramas and a late crash ended a promising performance.

Upon Fullwood's contract extension, team boss Ryan Walkinshaw described the decision as "an absolute no-brainer" after a season in which the rookie performed "to a level well above his experience".

Armed with a year under his belt, and always learning from fancied team-mate Chaz Mostert, expect Fullwood to kick more goals in 2021.

10) Inexperienced line-up can refresh Erebus

Anton De Pasquale's Darwin win marked the sole victory across the 2019 and 2020 seasons for Erebus Motorsport. Considering how hard the team worked over previous years to reach the top, that will sting.

However, the Holden squad will be recharged in 2021 with an all-new full-time driver line-up in Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki, in addition to a fresh race engineering line-up.

Brown impressed in his time co-driving for the team, as did Kostecki. They're both raw talents, but that's what Erebus is all about - making it work with what they've got.

Should the Holden team find consistent car pace in 2021, expect the young guns to use it effectively, even if it ruffles a few feathers. Don't put a line through Erebus too early.

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