Fast Facts: Coates Hire Newcastle 500

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 19/11/2018
  • By V8 Sleuth

1. Just 14 points separate Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen heading into the final two races of the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship in Newcastle.

It’s the smallest margin between the top two drivers entering the decider in the last decade, under the current points structure of 300 points on offer per weekend of racing.

2. The last time a driver led the points into the final round and did not seal the championship was 2007.

Jamie Whincup led but lost the title to Garth Tander by just two points at Phillip Island.

Whincup led heading to Newcastle last year, losing the ascendancy to McLaughlin on the Saturday before regaining it on Sunday.

3. McLaughlin is aiming to win his first Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.

If he can do so, it will be the 17th title for Falcon as it farewells Supercars.

The last time his team’s famous #17 claimed the championship was 1989, when Dick Johnson sealed the title aboard his Shell Ford Sierra.

4. Van Gisbergen is aiming to win his second Supercars Championship, after taking his first in 2016.

If he can win this year he’ll become just the 13th driver in to score multiple titles – and the first to join this exclusive club since team-mate Whincup won his second crown in 2009.

5. Mark Winterbottom will contest his 184th and final round with Tickford Racing in Newcastle, bringing to an end a 13-year run with the team formerly known as Ford Performance Racing and Prodrive Racing Australia.

He will be making his 212th championship round start in Newcastle, drawing level with the late Peter Brock for 10th on the all-time round starts list.

6. A total of 6,369km of racing has been completed so far in the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, across 29 races and 15 events.

7. Both ARMOR ALL Pole Positions in Newcastle last year were decided by tiny margins.

McLaughlin beat David Reynolds to pole on Saturday by just 0.0098 seconds and he then beat van Gisbergen to pole on Sunday by a mere 0.0290s.

8. Monster Energy Racing’s Cameron Waters will start his 100th championship race on the Saturday in Newcastle.

9. Six drivers are making their Coates Hire Newcastle 500 debuts – Andre Heimgartner, Jack Le Brocq, James Golding, Todd Hazelwood, Richie Stanaway and Anton de Pasquale.

Le Brocq, De Pasquale and Hazelwood competed in the Dunlop Super2 Series round in Newcastle last year.

10. Paul Dumbrell is aiming to become the first three-time Dunlop Super2 Series champion, following his 2002 and '14 triumphs.

He trails Garry Rogers Motorsport’s Chris Pither by 32 points with 300 available in Newcastle's finale.

GRM has never won the Super2 crown before, while Garry Jacobson and Alex Rullo are also within 125 points of Pither.

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