The benchmarks on dominant SVG's radar in 2021

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

Shane van Gisbergen heads into the mid-year break with a handsome 276-point lead atop the points standings.

With five events remaining, the title fight is far from over, but on paper, van Gisbergen nearly has one hand on the 2021 crown.

Through seven events, the Red Bull Ampol Racing driver has pieced together a supreme campaign.

The only other driver within a full round of points of the Kiwi is his teammate Jamie Whincup, who has only claimed one victory this season.

In the wake of van Gisbergen’s fast start to 2021, runs the Kiwi’s campaign under the microscope.

Wins in a season

Van Gisbergen has claimed 11 wins from 19 starts in 2021, and joined an illustrious group of drivers with 50 or more wins in Townsville.

With 11 races remaining this season across five events, he has ample time to catch and overhaul Scott McLaughlin’s 2019 record.

Two years ago, McLaughlin won a record 18 races en route to the title, breaking Craig Lowndes’s 1996 marker of 16.

Next on van Gisbergen’s list is 12 (Mark Skaife in 1999, Whincup in 2012), 13 (McLaughlin in 2020) and 14 (Lowndes in 1998, Whincup in 2014).

Whincup, Skaife and Garth Tander won 15 races in 2008, 2002 and 2007 respectively.

Laps completed

Only van Gisbergen and Whincup have completed all 798 racing laps in 2021.

The next most is Jack Le Brocq, who has completed 796 laps. The Tickford Racing driver was off the lead lap in Race 7 (Tasmania) and Race 15 (Townsville).

Van Gisbergen has never completed a season with a 100 per cent laps completed record.

The closest he got was in 2018, when he dropped one lap in Tasmania due to throttle dramas.

Laps led in a season

Through 19 races, van Gisbergen has 319 of a possible 798 laps.

Whincup is next best with 165 laps led, 123 of them coming at the NTI Townsville 500.

Van Gisbergen has spent laps in the lead in 17 of the season’s 19 races; only Race 8 in Tasmania and Race 9 at The Bend did he fail to lead a racing lap.

The most laps van Gisbergen has personally led in a season was his haul of 386 in 2016 (co-driver Alex Premat led 36 laps across the two Gold Coast enduro races that season).

Podiums in a season

Van Gisbergen has claimed 15 podiums from 19 starts in 2021, 11 of them victories.

Three more and he matches his 2016 marker of 18, which he claimed from 29 starts.

He also recorded 17 podiums in 30 starts in 2018.

Poles in a season

This one’s a long shot; van Gisbergen has five poles in 2021, ahead of Cameron Waters and Anton De Pasquale (four each), Whincup and Will Davison (two each), and Chaz Mostert (one).

With 11 more ARMOR ALL Poles up for grabs in 2021, van Gisbergen needs to take them all should he match McLaughlin’s 2017 record.

Qualifying king McLaughlin claimed 16 poles in 2017, 15 in 2019 and 2020, and 13 in 2018. Whincup’s season-best was 13 in 2013.

Two more poles, and van Gisbergen matches his personal season best of seven (2016). He claimed six in 2018.

Points in a season

There are five events remaining in 2021, three of them SuperSprints, which offer five bonus points for the fastest lap.

That leaves a maximum of 1545 points on offer for the rest of the season. An even longer shot, but if van Gisbergen claims them all, he’ll end the season on 3471 points.

It would be his second-highest points haul in a season, following the 3873 he recorded in 2018 when he finished behind McLaughlin.

In 2018, though, there were 16 events. In 10 completed events in 2020, he scored 2095 points, meaning he is just 169 down on last year’s total.

In his 2016 title-winning campaign, which featured 14 events, he scored 3368 points.

He registered 300-point weekends in Bathurst, Sandown and the first Townsville event, and also topped the Tailem Bend weekend points haul despite failing to win a race.

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