A third of the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship is complete, the first season of the new Gen3 Mustang vs Camaro era.
In four rounds, five different drivers from three teams have won races at four vastly different circuits.
Erebus Motorsport and Triple Eight have won 11 of the 12 races — three wins each for Will Brown, Shane van Gisbergen and Broc Feeney, and two for Brodie Kostecki.
Critically, all drivers in the lead group have hit trouble at times this season, with Kostecki, van Gisbergen and Feeney coming unstuck in Tasmania.
Chaz Mostert also suffered a DNF in Tasmania — his first since 2021 — with van Gisbergen crashing out of a race for the first time since 2019.
With Cam Waters bouncing back to be second overall for the Tasmania weekend, and Brown winning three of the last five races, the title race has tightened.
So much so, that we have the closest margin between the top two, and the top five, since 2018.
The four championships between 2019 and 2022 — two for Scott McLaughlin, and two for van Gisbergen — were dominant affairs, settled at the penultimate round.
The 2017 and 2018 titles were infamously settling on the final day of the season; 2015 and 2016 were put to bed on the Saturday of the season finale.
The 2023 season is on a trajectory not seen for half a decade, with at least six drivers in with a realistic shout at the title.
Kostecki leads teammate Brown by 87 points, with fifth-placed Feeney 191 points down. The top two and top five battles haven’t been this close after four rounds in five years.
Mostert is 166 points down in third, with van Gisbergen 172 points down in fourth. Waters is sixth, 229 points behind Kostecki.
Waters, the official winner of Race 1 in Newcastle, is the fifth and final driver within a round’s worth of points of Kostecki.
Kostecki, however, has scored the fewest points by a championship leader since 2018.
However, there is still hope for Mostert, van Gisbergen, Feeney and Waters with a maximum of 2430 points remaining over the last eight rounds, two of which are 300-point enduros.
Mistakes will cost drivers dearly from here; van Gisbergen was 74 points down after Race 10 when Kostecki crashed.
When van Gisbergen crashed in Race 11, the margin blew out to 166 points, and extended to 172 when Kostecki beat the #97 for the final spot on the Race 12 podium.
Jamie Whincup was 164 points down in sixth after four rounds in 2014 — and wrapped up the title with a round to spare!
Four years earlier, James Courtney was 213 points down, and defeated Whincup at the dramatic Homebush season finale.
The championship picture would look even closer had van Gisbergen and Feeney not been disqualified from the Newcastle opener.
If you reinstate the points from Race 1, it would be even closer: Kostecki would lead van Gisbergen by four points, Feeney would be 26 points down in third, with Brown 87 points back in fourth.
Ford duo Mostert and Waters would be fifth and sixth, 166 and 232 points behind Kostecki.
The bigger change would be in the teams’ standings, which Erebus leads by 276 points.
Had it not suffered a double DSQ, Triple Eight would instead lead Erebus by 117 points heading to the next round in Darwin.
Will the championship picture change again at Hidden Valley? Find out on June 16-18, with tickets on sale now.
Championship after four rounds (300-point round scoring system)
*2017 Tasmania Saturday race didn't count for points