Three drivers will celebrate different milestones this weekend while the Ford Mustang will make its Eastern Creek debut, in what is going to be a memorable BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint.
Whincup 500 races
Jamie Whincup will become just the eighth driver in history to record 500 career race starts when he lines up for the first of two Sunday races.
The seven-time series champion joins Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander, Russell Ingall, Jason Bright, the Kelly brothers (Rick and Todd) and the most recent inductee to the 500 club, Mark Winterbottom.
Having been due to tick off the achievement at Albert Park in March, here’s what Whincup had to say about approaching it a second time now: “It’s a big number, very proud to have been in this fantastic sport for so long but as I keep saying, it’s only the beginning.”
Courtney 200 rounds
After sensationally walking out on Team Sydney after just one round, 39-year old James Courtney returns to Ford this weekend, replacing Will Davison in the former 23Red Mustang.
With Courtney’s major backer Boost Mobile onboard, the 2010 champion will don #44 in the new-look Tickford Mustang and admits he has some nerves ahead of his 200th career round start.
Courtney’s best result at the Eastern Creek venue is a third placing in 2016 in a Walkinshaw Commodore.
He’s just the 17th driver to reach 200 rounds in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
“I’m definitely excited to get back on track for some real racing,” Courtney said.
“Even more so to be making my debut with Tickford in the Boost Mobile Ford Mustang.
“It’ll be pretty full on but the team had a great start to the year, so I’m confident I can get myself up to speed and we can get off to a good start this weekend.”
Percat 200 races
Another driver racking up a milestone is 2011 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner and Adelaide 500 race winner, Nick Percat.
The South Australian will become the 43rd driver in history to reach 200 career races when he takes to the track on Sunday in his Brad Jones Racing Commodore.
Rookie Jake Kostecki will record a milestone of his own this weekend, his first ever solo race as a championship driver in the #34 Matt Stone Racing Commodore.
The 20-year old from Perth made his Virgin Australia Supercars Championship debut as a teenager alongside cousin Brodie in last year’s Bathurst 1000, in a Commodore they built together with Jake’s brother and Dunlop Super2 driver Kurt Kostecki.
He officially debuted at Albert Park in opening practice for the Beaurepaires Melbourne 400, however did not get to make his racing debut at the top level due to COVID-19 protocols shutting down the Grand Prix.
Kostecki is sharing the UNIT-backed SuperLite entry in 2020 with Zane Goddard, who debuted in Adelaide earlier this year.
Mustang’s SMSP debut
The BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint will be the first Supercars race event at Sydney Motorsport Park since 2018.
That means the Ford Mustang Supercar will make its race debut at the 3.91km circuit which is slated to hold three 130km sprint races across Saturday and Sunday.
Between nine different drivers, the Ford Sierra RS500 and various models of the Ford Falcon tasted victory at Eastern Creek between 1992 and 2017.
John Bowe was the first Blue Oval driver to win at Sydney; Ford drivers have won just five races at Sydney Motorsport Park since 2007 with Fabian Coulthard the most recent, in 2017.
Holden qualifying drought
Ford may not have as many wins on the board at Sydney Motorsport Park but they have dominated ARMOR ALL Qualifying, which will be critical this weekend with new formats.
Former Ford driver Chaz Mostert and two-time defending Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin are the only drivers to have claimed pole at Eastern Creek since 2014.
Whincup was the last Holden driver to claim pole, also in 2014.
McLaughlin has more career poles at Sydney Motorsport Park than any other driver with six, between his time in a Garry Rogers Motorsport Volvo and Shell V-Power Racing Ford.
The BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint will host Races 7, 8, and 9 of the 2020 campaign, with ARMOR ALL Qualifying for Race 7 will also including a Top 15 Shootout.
Supercars return to racing at Sydney Motorsport Park on 27-28 June broadcast exclusively live on Foxtel and streamed on Kayo. Highlights will be aired on Saturday and Sunday evening on 10.