How an SVG title would stack up in biggest comebacks

20 Nov
Shane van Gisbergen was 172 points down after Round 4, yet could still win a fourth championship
4 mins by James Pavey
  • Shane van Gisbergen is 131 points behind Brodie Kostecki

  • Van Gisbergen was 172 points down midway through the season

  • Jamie Whincup has pulled off the two biggest deficit comebacks to win

With a 131-point lead with one round to go, Brodie Kostecki is in the driver’s seat to win the 2023 Repco Supercars Championship.

However, Shane van Gisbergen won’t go down without a fight, and should he scoop a fourth title, the Kiwi would pull off one of the great comebacks.

Van Gisbergen was 172 points behind Erebus Motorsport driver Kostecki after the NED Whisky Tasmania SuperSprint, having crashed out of the first Sunday race.

It was van Gisbergen’s first DNF since 2020, with Kostecki finishing on the podium in all three races.

The Red Bull Ampol Racing star has endured a season of peaks of troughs, beginning with a DSQ and victory in Newcastle.

After his Tasmania DNF, van Gisbergen whittled down Kostecki’s margin and was as close as 59 points after his Race 19 victory at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Since 2000, there have been nine instances of a driver overhauling a 100-plus-point deficit to win the championship. Van Gisbergen did so in 2016, his first title.

Ahead of the blockbuster VAILO Adelaide 500, Supercars highlights the biggest points deficits overhauled to become champion.

Jamie Whincup, 2014

jamie whincup 2014 title win

Jamie Whincup was 213 points down after Round 5 of 14 in 2014. How on earth did he clinch the title with a round to go, eventually winning by 583 points? Mark Winterbottom got off to a flyer, scoring nine podiums in 16 races. Whincup won three races, but missed the top 10 in Adelaide, Winton, Pukekohe and Perth. From there, Whincup won 11 of the final 22 races, including the Sandown 500, to romp to the crown.

Jamie Whincup, 2008

jamie whincup 2008 title win

It was a similar story six years earlier, with Mark Winterbottom 208 points ahead of Jamie Whincup at the midway point of 2008. Whincup’s run home, however, was remarkable — the Triple Eight star won 11 of the final 17 races, including the Bathurst 1000, to clinch his first championship on the Saturday of the Oran Park grand finale. If not for Todd Kelly in the Symmons Plains opener, Whincup would have won a staggering 11 races in a row across the Bathurst, Gold Coast, Bahrain, Tasmania and Oran Park rounds.


James Courtney, 2010

james courtney 2010 title win 2

James Courtney’s fairytale championship campaign in 2010 didn’t get off to the brightest start, unlike Jamie Whincup, who won six of the first eight races to begin Triple Eight’s Holden era in style. After four rounds, Courtney was 204 points behind runaway leader Whincup. Courtney bounced back, winning four on the bounce at Queensland Raceway and Winton as Whincup faltered. The title went down to the wire, with the crown settled in the final race at Homebush following a dramatic rain-affected race on Saturday which saw the leaders infamously crash out.

Marcos Ambrose, 2003

marcos ambrose 2003 title win

Marcos Ambrose won the first race of 2003 in Adelaide, but suffered a DNF a day later. A torrid day in the rain at Phillip Island left the Stone Brothers Racing star 144 points behind leader Jason Bright after two rounds. From there, Ambrose was on a mission, finishing in the top three in his next 10 races, five of them victories. A clean sweep at the Eastern Creek finale paved the way for the first of two title wins for Ambrose, and three for SBR after Russell Ingall won in 2005.

Shane van Gisbergen, 2016

shane van gisbergen 2016 title win

The 2016 season was as unpredictable as they come, with 10 different drivers winning the first 12 races. Shane van Gisbergen arrived at Triple Eight full of confidence, but only had one win in those 12. It could have been two, save for a late DNF in Tasmania after slipping on oil while leading. Van Gisbergen’s run home was extraordinary — in the final 17 races, van Gisbergen missed the podium just twice, and won seven races. Van Gisbergen was still 137 points behind teammate Jamie Whincup with five rounds to go, but Whincup’s shocking run at Sandown and Bathurst — 13th and 11th — saw van Gisbergn snatch the lead with two runners-up finishes.

The biggest post-event deficits overhauled to become champion (since 2000)

Deficit (points)







Rnd 5/14




Rnd 7/14




Race 4/14




Rnd 2/13



van Gisbergen

Rnd 9/14




Rnd 8/14




Rnd 7/13



R. Kelly

Rnd 9/13




Rnd 10/14




Rnd 1/16

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