Well, 2020 was strange, wasn’t it? It’s time to bring in 2021, and with it, a new Supercars Championship season.
Driver changes, team changes, format tweaks and a revamped calendar will contribute to a remarkable spectacle this year.
Form guides only count for so much, but momentum from 2020 will play a key role for those who finished strongly.
Here are seven reasons why race fans can get excited for the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship.
1) Two trips to Bathurst
We all love the mountain, and the new season will feature a sprint round at the iconic venue.
For the first time since 1996, a season will comprise two trips to Bathurst.
The Mt Panorama 500 will open the season, with the famous circuit to kickstart 2021 with two 250km races.
It comes ahead of October’s Repco Bathurst 1000, which will be the sole co-driver endurance event of the season.
2) New year, new driver line-ups
It was a silly season to remember amid several team and driver changes.
DJR Team Penske is no more, and the Dick Johnson Racing name will return with an all-new driver line-up in Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale.
Erebus Motorsport will also begin the new season with the fresh line-up of young guns Brodie Kostecki and Will Brown.
Tim Slade will return to full-time duties with Tim Blanchard’s new operation, Fabian Coulthard scored a drive with Team Sydney, while Jake Kostecki and Zane Goddard will run the full season with Matt Stone Racing.
3) A new tyre
There will be three different Dunlop tyre compounds used throughout the 2021 championship.
The new Dunlop Super Soft tyre, which was trialed in late 2020, will be used at the Winton and Darwin events where tyre degradation is much lower than other circuits.
All other events will run with regular Dunlop hard and soft compounds.
4) New formats
The 2021 season will feature some format tweaks across the 32-race, 12-event calendar.
The qualifying sessions at two of the series’ shorter circuits - Tasmania and Perth - will be split into two groups. These groups will be made up of alternate pit lane order, meaning one car per team.
There will be nine ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootouts across the year, including two for both races of the Mt Panorama 500 and Gold Coast 500.
Strategies around refueling will be needed at three 500km events - Mt Panorama 500, Townsville 500 and Gold Coast 500 - and the only endurance event of the season, the Bathurst 1000.
The three-race SuperSprint format used in 2020 will return at seven events - Tasmania, The Bend, Winton, Darwin, Sydney, Perth and Auckland - while the Albert Park event will remain as a four-race event across three days.
5) A return to old favourites
The COVID-19 pandemic forced several calendar changes in 2020, and some of our favourite venues sadly missed out.
Symmons Plains, Winton, Wanneroo and New Zealand are all eagerly awaiting the category’s return, with the Gold Coast slated to complete the season.
Seven circuits did a brilliant job in hosting 11 events in 2020 amid the pandemic, but several different venues is what we’re accustomed to - and no doubt race fans will be excited to return to their favourite circuits.
6) Gold Coast season finale
Surfers Paradise will return not only as a sprint round in 2021, but the iconic location will also host the season finale.
Few places put on a show quite like the Gold Coast, and a champion could be crowned at one of the most picturesque locations you’ll find in world motorsport.
After a decade of bruising 300km co-driver races, full-time drivers will be put through the wringer in two 250km sprints.
It’ll be some spectacle, and the weekend's winners will end the season knowing they scaled a serious mountain.
7) A fresh champion
Scott McLaughlin’s stranglehold on the category will end amid the Kiwi’s IndyCar sojourn Stateside.
Through his absence, a fresh champion will be crowned for the first time since 2017.