SVG raises the bat: Series leader joins 50 club

  • Repco Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 11/07/2021
  • By James Pavey

With his sweep of the NTI Townsville 500, Shane van Gisbergen has become the sixth driver in ATCC/Supercars history to win 50 races.

Van Gisbergen was peerless in North Queensland, twice chasing down Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate Jamie Whincup to claim victory.

The Kiwi has won 10 races from 16 starts in 2021, and extended his series lead over Whincup to 245 points.

Van Gisbergen has become the first driver since countryman Scott McLaughlin to claim 50 wins.

Of the six, van Gisbergen is the slowest with regards to race starts, and fourth-youngest.

It comes after van Gisbergen matched Peter Brock’s win tally of 48 in Darwin

In the wake of van Gisbergen’s milestone, Supercars.com lists the six drivers to have brought up the 50-win milestone.

Craig Lowndes

50th win: Adelaide 2001, Race 1
Race start: 122nd
Age: 26 years, 291 days

Lowndes was both the quickest and youngest driver to reach the half century, which he cracked on the streets of Adelaide in 2001.

After winning 49 races and three drivers’ titles for HRT, the 26-year-old Lowndes arrived in Adelaide aboard a Gibson Motorsport Falcon AU and took out the first leg of the event.

Pic: AN1 Images

Mark Skaife

50th win: Sandown 2001, Race 1
Race start: 259th
Age: 34 years, 242 days

Later that season, Lowndes’ long-time rival and former teammate Skaife cracked 50 wins at the Sandown season finale.

Skaife sealed the 2001 title, his fourth, at the penultimate event in New Zealand, before crowning his championship success with the milestone 50th victory.

Pic: AN1 Images

Garth Tander

50th win: Bathurst 2011, Race 20
Race start: 401st
Age: 34 years, 192 days

Tander scored his 50th win in perhaps his greatest drive, with the 2007 champion holding off Lowndes in a thrilling battle to win the Great Race.

The then HRT driver was the slowest to reach the marker with regards to race starts, with his 50th win coming in his 401st start, which was also Nick Percat's Bathurst debut.

Jamie Whincup

50th win: Tasmania 2011, Race 23
Race start: 234th
Age: 28 years, 279 days

A few weeks later, Whincup hit 50 wins with his first of two wins in Tasmania.

Whincup won 10 races en route to his third championship, which he clinched at the Sydney Olympic Park season finale.

Scott McLaughlin

50th win: Darwin 2020, Race 17
Race start: 239th
Age: 27 years, 74 days

The IndyCar-bound ace became the latest driver in the 50 club at one of his most successful venues.

McLaughlin drew level with Skaife on eight wins at Hidden Valley, with the Shell V-Power Racing Team driver bringing up the half-century in the second of Darwin’s double-header events.

Shane van Gisbergen

50th win: Townsville 2021, Race 16
Race start: 434th
Age: 32 years, 63 days

Van Gisbergen won the Saturday opener from pole, chasing down Whincup to claim win No. 49.

The 50th victory came in almost carbon copy style, with van Gisbergen hunting and overtaking his Red Bull Ampol Racing teammate to clinch victory.

"That’s a pretty awesome number," van Gisbergen said when informed of his 50th career win.

"Again, thanks to Red Bull Ampol Racing; our cars were fantastic.

"Another subpar start from me and then I had to pay for it all race but I feel a lot better today.

"The pace from myself was a lot smoother and just awesome to get another 300-pointer."

The 32-year-old will get a chance to extend his series lead at next weekend's WD-40 Townsville SuperSprint.

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