Battle of the teammates: Part Two

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 15/09/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

It’s been a season to date which can only be described by that oh too familiar 2020 adjective… unprecedented.

There’s been different rules, new winners, off-track drama and thrilling racing.

Ahead of the next doubleheader, this time at The Bend, Supercars.com has taken the opportunity to see how the intra-team battles are playing out.

After all, the first rule in motorsport is beat your teammate.

Yesterday in Part One we looked at those sitting in the back half of the teams’ championship, revealing some surprising disparities in qualifying results and generally leveller outcomes over the course of a race.

Has that trend been mirrored further forward? It’s time to find out…

RED BULL HOLDEN RACING TEAM

Jamie Whincup: Second in championship, 4.4 qualifying average, 4.7 race average

Shane van Gisbergen: Fifth in championship, 5.9 qualifying average, 7.6 race average

Qualifying head-to-head: Whincup 13, van Gisbergen 9

Race head-to-head: Whincup 12, van Gisbergen 8

After two years of being slightly outshone by his teammate, Whincup has stepped up in fine fashion in 2020.

Although there have been some dramas on the #97 side out of van Gisbergen’s control, Whincup has been the Red Bull driver more consistently taking the fight to McLaughlin. The reward could be a record eighth title if the cards fall his way this next month.

Van Gisbergen meanwhile did enjoy a return to form on the Sunday of the Robson Civil Projects Townsville SuperSprint, winning both races including a stunning drive from 12th.

SHELL V-POWER RACING

Scott McLaughlin: First in championship, 3.5 qualifying average, 3.6 race average

Fabian Coulthard: Seventh in championship, 9.4 qualifying average, 10.0 race average

Qualifying head-to-head: McLaughlin 21, Coulthard 1

Race head-to-head: McLaughlin 16, Coulthard 4

Regardless of how you look at it, this is a lopsided teammate comparison that fans have become accustomed to seeing.

It was not until the 17th qualifying session of the season that Coulthard outqualified his teammate, and their respective averages show it has not necessarily been close margins deciding things.

The #12 driver did however lift at the pointy end of last year to help secure Shell the teams’ title – he’ll be needing more of the same to ensure they retain that silverware.

TICKFORD RACING

Cameron Waters: Fourth in championship, 5.1 qualifying average, 7.7 race average

Lee Holdsworth: Ninth in championship, 11.1 qualifying average, 10.3 race average

James Courtney: 12th in championship, 13.7 qualifying average, 11.3 race average

Jack Le Brocq: 14th in championship, 12.6 qualifying average, 13.3 race average

Qualifying head-to-head: Waters 13, Courtney 3, Holdsworth 1, Le Brocq 1

Race head-to-head: Waters 10, Holdsworth 3, Courtney 3, Le Brocq 2

Cameron Waters was quickly dubbed Tickford’s new spearhead once Chaz Mostert’s defection to Walkinshaw Andretti United became official but the Monster Energy-backed star was reluctant to accept such status.

All 2020 has done though is reaffirm those calls were warranted, with Waters setting the pace for the four-car fleet.

The other three have all certainly had their moments, with Holdsworth scoring back-to-back podiums at Sydney, Courtney looking stronger with each passing event and Le Brocq taking the squad’s only win of the year to date.

TEAM 18

Mark Winterbottom: Eighth in championship, 10.3 qualifying average, 9.6 race average

Scott Pye: 11th in championship, 13.3 qualifying average, 11.0 race average

Qualifying head-to-head: Winterbottom 19, Pye 3

Race head-to-head: Winterbottom 10, Pye 10

If someone was asked at the end of the four straight race weekends in the nation’s north to nominate the lead Team 18 driver, you could understand Pye being their answer.

After all, Pye is on a run of eight straight top 10 finishes and has all three of the team’s podiums.

The numbers paint a difficult picture though, with Winterbottom clinical in qualifying and Pye’s championship still recovering from a slow start to the year.

WALKINSHAW ANDRETTI UNITED

Chaz Mostert: Third in championship, 8.1 qualifying average, 7.8 race average

Bryce Fullwood: 18th in championship, 14.7 qualifying average, 15.8 race average

Qualifying head-to-head: Mostert 18, Fullwood 4

Race head-to-head: Mostert 16, Fullwood 4

Of all the teammate battles up and down pitlane, this is the one where probably the most leniency can be given.

WAU wiped the slate clean for 2020 with an all-new driver line-up, matching established star Mostert with fresh rookie Fullwood.

The script has played out accordingly, Mostert regularly dragging the most out of his Commodore to be third in the standings – and Fullwood showing reason for optimism with his qualifying speed in recent rounds.

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