1. This year’s V8 Supercars Championship is already on track to be the most competitive ever with 10 different drivers – Craig Lowndes, Shane van Gisbergen, Fabian Coulthard, Jason Bright, Scott McLaughlin, Jamie Whincup, Will Davison, Mark Winterbottom, Garth Tander and Chaz Mostert – claiming race victories across the first eight events of the season.
It’s just the second time in over 50 years of championship history that this has occurred.
A total of seven different teams – Red Bull Racing Australia, Tekno Autosports, Brad Jones Racing, Fujitsu Racing GRM, Pepsi Max Crew FPR, Holden Racing Team and Dick Johnson Racing – have claimed victories, the first time since 2001 that seven teams have won races within the first eight events of a season.
And the competition has been strong in very recent times – seven different drivers and six different teams – have won the last seven races in the championship.
2. Chaz Mostert’s last-start win at Queensland Raceway was indeed a popular one and helped turn 2013 into an historic season from a rookie perspective.
Mostert and Scott McLaughlin have both won races in their first full-time V8 Supercars Championship season – it’s the first time in 17 years (since Craig Lowndes and Russell Ingall in 1996!) that two first-year full-time pilots have won races in a season.
Mostert’s Ipswich success was the 81st ATCC/V8SC race victory for Dick Johnson Racing and its first since Jonathon Webb won in the wet at Sydney Olympic Park in 2010.
Fabian Coulthard has also won his first race this season, meaning there have been three first-time race winners in 2013 – it’s the first time since 2006 that a season has seen such a number of breakthrough performances for young full-time drivers.
3. Holden has sealed its fourth consecutive Champion Manufacturer Award in the V8 Supercars Championship.
The new VF Commodore has won 20 of the 24 races completed in 2013 and given Holden its 10th Manufacturer’s crown since the award was introduced in 1999.
While Holden can not be beaten for the trophy with 12 races remaining, Ford has picked up the pace in recent times – three of its four race wins this season have come in the last seven races.
4. Much is made of the ‘home test track’ advantage in the V8 Supercars Championship, however the numbers clearly show that the ‘invading’ Queensland-based teams have dominated Winton in recent years.
Queensland-based teams have won 9 of the last 11 races held at the circuit since 2008 with six taken by Triple Eight and three by Dick Johnson Racing.
The only Victorian teams to stand up to the visitors have been the Holden Racing Team (one win by Garth Tander in 2008) and Brad Jones Racing (one by Jason Bright in 2011).
A total of 19 cars in the field of 28 use Winton as their home test track.
5. While it may not be their home test track, Red Bull Racing Australia should be looking very good at Winton if their recent record of podium finishes there is any guide.
A Triple Eight driver has finished on the last 11 podiums in succession at Winton from 2006 onwards with Jamie Whincup taking eight from the last 10 and Craig Lowndes six of the last eight. (Note: Podiums were achieved for the overall round in 2006, 2007 and 2008 and in each individual race from 2009 onwards).
6. Winton is Ford Performance Racing’s long-time test track, however it has never been kind to the factory Ford team, which has just one single race win there in its 10-year history.
Jason Bright won a race for the team at Winton in 2006, but since then Mark Winterbottom has taken a record four pole positions and not been able to convert any of them into victories.
7. One more Armor All Pole Position award will allow Jamie Whincup to break his own record for most pole positions in a V8 Supercars Championship season.
The Red Bull Racing Australia pilot has equaled his 2010 record with 10 poles so far this season and looks set to set a new mark in 2013.
Whincup has claimed 41.66% of the poles this season - in 2010 he took 38.46% of them.
However, no one seems likely to ever top Peter Brock’s perfect record from 1980 when he had a 100% pole-winning season – eight from eight!
8. Four drivers are making their first V8 Supercars Championship appearance at Winton, though three of them – Scott Pye, Chaz Mostert and Scott McLaughlin – have experience last year in the Dunlop Series round at the same circuit. Pye finished second for the round with McLaughlin fifth and Mostert sixth.
Maro Engel is the fourth ‘first timer’ at Winton in the #9 SP Tools Mercedes-Benz AMG E63.
9. Winton is known as ‘The Action Track’ and the Pedders STP Safety Car data sure does support that statement. The Safety Car has appeared in 21 of the last 26 races (80.76%) at Winton since 2000 – a very high percentage in comparison with other circuits.
The last time there was a full race weekend completed at Winton without the Safety Car making an appearance was 1999.
Last year the Safety Car appeared in both the Saturday and Sunday races.
10. A field of 34 cars has entered for Round Five of the Dunlop Series at the Winton 360 – it’s the biggest field the series has seen at Winton in six years.
This year is the 10th time the Dunlop Series has competed at Winton and it’s the second biggest field the ‘DVS’ has had there, second only to the bumper 37-car field of 2007.
Former Dunlop Series runner-up (and two-time DVS Winton race winner) Luke Youlden will make a return to the category in a Brad Jones Racing-run Commodore, while rookie South Australian Josh Kean makes his debut in an ex-James Courtney, Holden Racing Team Commodore.