Longest waits for maiden championship

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 08/02/2021
  • By James Pavey

The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship marks the 61st anniversary of the Australian Touring Car Championship, with 25 drivers winning the title.

All up, 25 drivers have won a championship, with 13 winning more than one.

Good things come to those who wait; 15 drivers waited five or more years from their championship debuts to win a championship.

Very rarely does a driver win the title in their first season. David McKay, by virtue of the first ever Australian Touring Car Championship at Gnoo Blas in 1960, was the first champion.

Craig Lowndes won as a championship rookie 24 years later, two years after he made his Bathurst debut.

Two modern era greats, Jamie Whincup and Scott McLaughlin, waited six years from their main game debuts to their first title wins.

Whincup, who recently announced his full-time retirement, won the 2008 title for Triple Eight Race Engineering. Six years earlier, Garry Rogers Motorsport gave him a main game debut in the enduros.

McLaughlin achieved much of his success for DJR Team Penske between 2017 and 2020, but his championship debut came in the 2012 enduros for Tekno Autosports.

The longest wait for a championship from main game debut belongs to Mark Winterbottom, who clinched the 2015 championship 12 years after he drove in the 2003 enduros for Stone Brothers Racing.

Winterbottom's main game debut season coincided with the 2003 development series title for SBR.

In 1981, the year Winterbottom was born, Dick Johnson claimed the first of his five championships, 11 years after he made his debut aboard a Torana.

The most common wait was nine years, with current Red Bull Ampol Racing ace Shane van Gisbergen one of six drivers in the bracket.

Jim Richards, Glenn Seton, John Bowe, Russell Ingall and Garth Tander also made their main game championship debuts nine years before they cracked the top.

Of current drivers, Will Davison and Fabian Coulthard are on the longest runs from debut without a championship. Both drivers, who will turn 39 this year, debuted in the 2004 enduros.

Behind them are David Reynolds (2007) and Tim Slade (2009).

The battle for the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship will commence at the Repco Mt Panorama 500 later this month. Tickets are on sale now.

From debut to title Driver/s
12 years Mark Winterbottom (2015)
11 years Bob Morris (1979), Dick Johnson (1981)
Nine years Jim Richards (1985), Glenn Seton (1993), John Bowe (1995), Russell Ingall (2005), Garth Tander (2007), Shane van Gisbergen (2016)
Eight years Allan Moffat (1973)
Six years Jamie Whincup (2008), Scott McLaughlin (2018)
Five years Mark Skaife (1992), Rick Kelly (2006), James Courtney (2010)
Four years Ian Geoghegan (1964), Colin Bond (1975)
Two years Peter Brock (1974), Marcos Ambrose (2003)
One year Bill Pitt (1961), Bob Jane (1962), Norm Beechey (1965), Robbie Francevic (1986)
Nil David McKay (1960), Craig Lowndes (1996)
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