The 2016 Supercars season start is not just the tightest in history, it is the closest of many major motorsport categories around the world.
Nine winners from 11 races is a new record for Supercars and is more even than the British Touring Car Championship, the World Touring Car Championship, NASCAR and others at this point of 2016.
Eight different drivers across all four makes of car have led the championship so far this year, with defending champ Mark Winterbottom wrangling the lead last round at Winton.
Fan favourite and three-time champion Craig Lowndes, is fourth but just 39 points adrift of Winterbottom.
“At the moment the category is really healthy – it shows in the multiple winners and I think it won’t change throughout the year,” Lowndes told supercars.com.
2010 champion James Courtney has raced extensively around the globe, starting full-time in Supercars in 2007 after racing Japanese GT, British F3, World Formula A, and being a Formula One test driver during his career.
“A lot of guys here who haven’t experienced anything else dream about doing other stuff around the world … a lot of them realise how good we have it here and what a good championship we have,” he told supercars.com.
“I think it’s a credit to everyone involved at Supercars that over the years it has evolved, developed and changed – not only the formats, but the … cars and everything to stay current. We have a great formula.”
Formats were changed this season to see longer races on Saturdays at the SuperSprint rounds that show the cars’ and teams’ full potential. Supercars technical and sporting director David Stuart emphasised the category was always focused on improving the show.
“Touring cars always provide better racing and have better racing over longer distances – I think the format change this year has demonstrated that,” he said.
“At the moment, we’ll certainly be evaluating the formats and how the racing has been at the next Commission meeting and discussing how we move forward.
“I think everybody’s pretty happy with the way things are at the moment … we’re always reluctant to change it too much but there might be a small change to make it better.”
Former championship runner-up Will Davison, who also forged an international career before settling in Supercars, called it “frustratingly competitive”.
“The depth of drivers, and understanding of the cars and the circuits is at an all-time high,” he said.
“The guy who is last on the grid is capable of being a top five runner at some stage in this championship.
“It’s a credit to the category that they’ve enabled small teams to survive and be competitive which you don’t see in Formula 1… you’re seeing such quality racing throughout the whole field because everyone believes they’re capable and should be winning.”
Supercars versus other world motorsport categories this year
British Touring Car Championship – 12 races, 9 winners
World Touring Car Championship – 10 races, 5 winners
DTM – 6 races, 5 winners
Formula 1 – 6 races, 3 winners
MotoGP – 7 races, 3 winners
NASCAR – 14 races, 9 winners