Five things we learned from the Taupō Super400

26 Apr
A number of teams and drivers reminded everyone what they're made of, with Taupō showing that while form is temporary, class is permanent
4 mins by James Pavey

Triple Eight made it six wins in eight starts in 2024, with Will Brown overhauling Broc Feeney on Sunday to add more fuel to an already firing championship battle.

However, a number of other teams and drivers reminded everyone what they're made of, with Taupō showing that while form is temporary, class is permanent.

Above all, New Zealand proved it more than has a place on the Supercars calendar, with over 67,000 fans packing into Taupō International Motorsport Park, with thousands alone welcoming Supercars to town with Thursday's epic Track to Town event.

In the wake of a hugely successful return to Aotearoa, here's what Supercars.com learned from the inaugural ITM Taupō Super400.

The Triple Eight battle is heating up

Full battle: Brown overhauls Feeney in tense fight

After three rounds and eight races, it's becoming ever clearer that Red Bull Ampol Racing will be hard to dislodge from the top, as is Will Brown. After Sunday's race, it seems the closest way to do that is for the team to do it itself. Brown and Broc Feeney put on a battle for the ages in Sunday's finale, and the side-by-side action was thrilling. However, while Feeney conceded it was a "super-respectful" battle, Brown admitted the difference between the two on tyre life made it "bloody hard" not to make contact, and is determined to "try not to run into each other and hopefully win some more races." Can Triple Eight make it through the year without its drivers coming together?

DJR is back

de pasquale jr trophy team 2024 taupo

The Shell V-Power Racing Team showed glimpses of speed at the first two rounds, but the low points of the two weekends ultimately took the spotlight. The team was back to its best in New Zealand, and despite not having the fastest car on the day, Anton De Pasquale kept his nose clean in both races to bring home the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy. The team's first double podium of the Gen3 era was a major shot in the arm, but there's still room for improvement after Will Davison slumped to 19th on Sunday. Regardless, you don't top rounds in Supercars by accident, and the famous Ford squad will be keen to repeat the dosage in Perth, where it has been fast before.


WAU needs to convert speed to results

Disaster for Mostert as wheel comes off

Walkinshaw Andretti United has Chaz Mostert dialled in in 2024, with Mostert showing supreme speed through the opening three rounds. While Mostert would like to have his Grand Prix collision with Matt Payne back, WAU has also let slip key opportunities with the pit stop dramas in Bathurst and Taupō, with likely wins going begging on both occasions. Critically, the latter didn't just cost Mostert a possible win, but crucial ground in the championship hunt on a day Triple Eight also floundered. If WAU wants to win the title this season, it must leave nothing to chance, with Mostert now 196 points behind.

A Kiwi star befitting of JR

heimgartner jr win taupo

Andre Heimgartner had been knocking on the door of a win for Brad Jones Racing right from the moment he joined the team in 2022. However, time and again, he just missed out. In Taupō, the Aucklander grabbed his chance on the biggest stage for his countrymen, outlasting a big challenge from Chaz Mostert in the middle stint to cruise to victory. BJR is often at the good end of fairytales, and a Kiwi winning in Jason Richards' #8 on home soil was as good as it gets. While Heimgartner only just missed out on the JR trophy, the win proved BJR has cured the issues it faced in the first two rounds, with Jaxon Evans scoring his first Supercars top 10 result.

Waters is fast, but needs some luck

First lap: Waters, Slade collide in chaotic start

Cam Waters has started four races from third or higher in 2024, including two pole positions, yet has had little more than damaged cars to show for it. After a wheel came off in Bathurst and a crash with Matt Payne in Melbourne, Taupō was Waters' chance to get on the board, and Saturday pole was the best start. Instead, he was spinning towards the wall just 50 metres after the launch following contact from Tim Slade. While Waters sensationally recovered to eighth, he admitted it was another one that got away. If Waters' gets some luck from here on in, given his raw speed, there's little doubt silverware will follow.

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