Top 10 Supercars moments at Albert Park

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 10/03/2020
  • By Connor O'Brien

Supercars’ annual visit to Albert Park has provided plenty of memorable moments since the Melbourne event’s first running in 1996.

Ahead of this weekend’s Beaurepaires Melbourne 400, Supercars.com looks back at the 10 biggest shocks, crashes and successes at the Australian Grand Prix meeting.

2001: Ambrose’s stunning debut

It was immediately clear Supercars had a major talent in its ranks when Marcos Ambrose debuted for Stone Brothers Racing at Albert Park in 2011.

After returning from the European open-wheel path, Ambrose stuck his #4 Falcon on pole at his first event.

It was a result so surprising that some of his rivals even suggested he’d cut a corner on his fastest lap!

While the Albert Park races didn’t go his way, three events later Ambrose took a round win at Hidden Valley, and by 2004 he was a two-time Supercars champion.

2003: Ingall’s Ford fairytale

A perennial championship contender for Holden – finishing series runner-up three times from 1998-2001 – Ingall crossed the divide by signing for Stone Brothers Racing for ’03.

Albert Park was the site of his Ford debut and, armed with the brand new BA model Falcon, he produced a third and then two race wins in an excellent weekend.

It was an emotional event for the two-time Bathurst winner, with close friend Barry Sheene in the final stages of a brave cancer fight.

Ingall’s Albert Park win was the start of a journey with the Blue Oval that would earn him a breakthrough title two years later.

2005: Brad Jones Racing’s big breakthrough

Out of nowhere, BJR charged to a John Bowe-led 1-2 in the second race of the weekend in 2005 after a gamble on slick tyres came up trumps.

With all 33 rivals electing to run wet tyres, Bowe and Brad Jones stormed from back in the pack to the front.

The success in the non-points race came six years before the team’s maiden championship race victory.

Albert Park would again be a happy hunting ground for BJR in 2013, when, armed with a speedy Car of the Future, Fabian Coulthard stormed to pole and took his first three Supercars wins.

2011: JR’s emotional final podium

BJR was at the centre of another feel-good story in 2011, when popular Kiwi Jason Richards made a cameo appearance after his cancer diagnosis had forced him to step back from full-time racing.

Richards starred in qualifying to take fifth and in Race 2 challenged for victory, eventually having to settle for second behind Garth Tander – a result widely celebrated.

It was the last Supercars event Richards would contest before his death in December 2011.

2011: Five-car pile-up

Whether it’s Supercars or Formula 1 cars, navigating the Turn 1-2 right/left sequence on the opening lap can be a tricky proposition.

But on this occasion, it was later in the lap where carnage unfolded, as Craig Lowndes and Rick Kelly battled over second place.

The duo ended up stranded against the concrete wall on the exit of Turn 10 – and were lucky to be missed by several oncoming cars until an unsighted Steven Johnson clipped Lowndes.

Warren Luff and David Reynolds were subsequently caught up in the chaos, marking one of the biggest crashes seen at the event.

2014: Volvo makes its mark

In just its second event, Supercars’ newest brand joined the winner’s list, shaking up the traditional Ford versus Holden rivalry.

Having impressed on debut a fortnight earlier in Adelaide, where Scott McLaughlin famously trumped Jamie Whincup in a last-lap battle for second, McLaughlin delivered Volvo its first Supercars win.

McLaughlin’s win came after a anti-rollbar issue for Shane van Gisbergen’s Tekno Holden prevented a sweep of all four races.

The 2014 edition of Albert Park was also a landmark occasion for another of Supercars’ expansion marques, with Michael Caruso snatching Nissan’s maiden Supercars pole position.

2015: Winterbottom’s cleansweep

Ford welcomed its new FG X model with a bumper season… and it was Mark Winterbottom’s Australian Grand Prix performance that really set the tone for what was to come.

After an unspectacular Adelaide round, Winterbottom and his #5 Falcon were the class of the field at Albert Park, taking pole and a cleansweep of race victories.

Winterbottom was ably backed up by Prodrive Racing Australia teammate Chaz Mostert, who qualified second and finished runner-up in all four heats.

Although no championship points were on offer, the weeekend instilled confidence that long-time Blue Oval hero Winterbottom would carry to a maiden title.

2017: Percat’s high-speed brake failure

Across the past two years, Nick Percat has established himself as a team leader at Brad Jones Racing, but his early days with the Albury squad were not without trouble.

Given the chance to move up from minnows Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport, Percat was caught up in a scary Melbourne shunt in just his second event for his new team.

A brake failure into Turn 1 sent him careering into Lee Holdsworth at high speed, taking both cars out of the weekend.

Percat returned to Albert Park a year later and took two podiums, which remain his most recent visits to a Supercars rostrum.

2018: Pye’s long-awaited triumph

The 2018 edition marked the introduction of Supercars championship points for the Grand Prix event, and with it came a surprise result.

In his 165th Supercars race start, 2012 Super2 runner-up Scott Pye broke through for a maiden victory, holding off Jamie Whincup and Nick Percat in a thrilling Saturday evening battle.

The result was the first - and so far only - win for the Walkinshaw Andretti United alliance, which at that point was just months old.

It also marks the last time a new name was added to Supercars’ winners club.

2019: Outlap disaster

Scott McLaughlin’s hopes of joining Winterbottom on the event’s exclusive cleansweep list were brought undone by the most bizarre of incidents.

Polesitter McLaughlin and fellow front-row starter Cameron Waters made contact on the outlap to the grid while the former was weaving to warm up his tyres, leaving both with too much damage to start the race.

Of the first seven races of 2019, it was the only occasion that eventual champion McLaughlin did not win.

Tickford’s Chaz Mostert took the race victory in McLaughlin’s absence - the only win for a non-Shell V-Power Racing or Red Bull Holden Racing Team entry all season.

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