Pace, personal bests and podiums: Assessing 2021 young guns
Repco Supercars Championship
By James Pavey
The 2021 Repco Supercars Championship features six drivers aged 23 or younger, and each driver has endured ups and downs through seven events.
Nearly all drivers have scored personal bests, both in qualifying and races.
One, however, has already scored a podium finish, with three others claiming top five results.
With a sizeable gap to the next event, the sextuple will be eyeing greater results when the season resumes at Winton in October.
Supercars.com runs the six 23-and-under drivers after seven rounds in 2021.
Date of birth: 24 January 2000 (age 21) Average qualifying finish: 18.6 Average race finish: 17.3 Best qualifying finish: 11th (Race 6, Tasmania & Race 12, Darwin) Best race finish: 5th (Race 12, Darwin) Highest championship position: 13th (Race 1, Mt Panorama) Current championship position: 19th
The youngest driver on the grid, Kostecki recorded a career-best finish of 13th in the season-opening race in Bathurst.
That was until Darwin, when he sailed to sixth in the epic Saturday race. That became fifth once James Courtney was penalised post-race.
Date of birth: 13 October 1999 (age 21) Average qualifying finish: 17.3 Average race finish: 18.1 Best qualifying finish: 4th (Race 8, Tasmania) Best race finish: 7th (Race 8, Tasmania) Highest championship position: 12th (Race 1, Mt Panorama) Current championship position: 20th
Goddard also claimed a career-best race finish of seventh in Tasmania, just hours after he qualified a standout fourth for the race.
Goddard trails Matt Stone Racing teammate Kostecki in the standings, but boasts a better average qualifying finish.
Date of birth: 29 July 1999 (age 22) Average qualifying finish: 21.8 Average race finish: 20.3 Best qualifying finish: 13th (Race 6, Tasmania) Best race finish: 15th (Race 6, Tasmania) Highest championship position: 17th (Race 1, Mt Panorama) Current championship position: 21st
Smith is the only driver of the six to yet score a top 10 finish or record a top 10 qualifying result.
The Brad Jones Racing driver did qualify 10th for the Tasmania opener, but was demoted three places after being found to have impeded Jack Le Brocq.
Smith, however, was one of the hard chargers of the recent Townsville doubleheader.
Date of birth: 5 June 1998 (age 23) Average qualifying finish: 12.1 Average race finish: 12.4 Best qualifying finish: 3rd (Race 9, Tailem Bend) Best race finish: 4th (Race 12, Darwin) Highest championship position: 10th (Race 7, Tasmania) Current championship position: 10th
Brown is the highest-placed of the six drivers in the standings; the Erebus Motorsport driver is currently 10th.
The 2020 Super2 runner-up qualifying a standout fourth in Tasmania, before he lowered his personal best to third in Tailem Bend.
He narrowly missed out on a Darwin podium, and recently drove to fifth in Townsville.
Date of birth: 11 May 1998 (age 23) Average qualifying finish: 15.7 Average race finish: 14.5 Best qualifying finish: 7th (Race 9, Tailem Bend) Best race finish: 5th (Race 1, Mt Panorama) Highest championship position: 5th (Race 1, Mt Panorama) Current championship position: 16th
The Darwin native started the season with aplomb with fifth in Bathurst, but it has been a tough slog since.
Fullwood managed to outqualify Walkinshaw Andretti Teammate Chaz Mostert in Townsville, but heads into the break 16th in the standings.
Date of birth: 1 November 1997 (age 23) Average qualifying finish: 14.4 Average race finish: 12.7 Best qualifying finish: 7th (Race 5, Sandown) Best race finish: 2nd (Race 5, Sandown) Highest championship position: 7th (Race 6, Tasmania) Current championship position: 11th
Kostecki entered the 2021 season the least experienced driver on the grid regarding race starts, having started just six races since his debut in the 2019 Bathurst 1000.
However, he blew his young gun contemporaries out of the water with a stunning podium in the Sandown finale.
The Erebus driver vaulted from seventh to second in appalling conditions, claiming his first career podium.
Qualifying has been his Achilles heel, yet he remains within striking distance of teammate Brown’s 10th place in the standings.