Bowe: Why Brown's title-winning form is no surprise

07 May
Legend backs Will Brown’s title credentials after rapid start to life at Triple Eight
3 mins by James Pavey
  • John Bowe praises "super impressive" Will Brown

  • Brown leads points just three rounds into Triple Eight tenure

  • 25-year-old replaced Shane van Gisbergen alongside Broc Feeney

After just three rounds in Triple Eight colours, Will Brown is in the box seat for this year’s championship — and it’s of no surprise to Hall of Famer John Bowe.

In eight races as a Triple Eight driver, Brown has won three races and finished second four times, and leads established teammate Broc Feeney by 71 points. In three rounds, Brown has scored 88 percent of all points on offer.

Brown had big shoes to fill at Red Bull Ampol Racing, replacing three-time Supercars champion and Bathurst winner Shane van Gisbergen.

Should he convert his fast start to title success, Brown would match the van Gisbergen's achievement of winning the championship in his first season with the team.

However, Brown has quickly emerged as the driver to beat in 2024, having beaten Feeney in a straight fight in Taupō last month.

Full battle: Brown overhauls Feeney in tense fight

A junior karting champion, Brown won titles in Australian Formula 4 (2016), Toyota 86 (2016) and TCR Australia (2019), and also won races in Formula Ford and Super2.

After joining Erebus Motorsport, the Queenslander won in Sydney — ironically, beating van Gisbergen and now boss Jamie Whincup — as a Supercars rookie in 2021. Brown also won four races and led the points at the midway point of last season, the first of the Gen3 era, but fell away after his Triple Eight deal was announced.

While there are still nine rounds to go, 1995 champion Bowe is convinced Brown is the real deal, given how quickly he has taken to new cars.

It comes after fellow champions Mark Skaife and Garth Tander both sung Brown's praises, with Tander particularly impressed by the young driver's maturity.

“I thought because Broc's been so impressive, and driving for Triple Eight is the cream on top of the cake, Will might struggle a bit to match him,” Bowe told Supercars.com.

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“But, Will's gone straight in there and he’s obviously the equal of Broc. He’s been super impressive.

“Given Broc has been there for two years and is only getting better, perhaps Will might take a while to settle in. But, he's taken it like a duck to water, hasn't he?

"I've seen it with Will — as you do with people that are quite gifted — everything he gets in, he goes well. So, I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise.”

Bowe is no stranger to fighting a teammate for a championship, going toe-to-toe with Dick Johnson. In 1988 and 1989, Johnson beat Bowe to the title, before the latter won in 1995.

The 31-time race winner hailed the "highly polished” Triple Eight for getting Brown and Feeney in their current position, claiming it will take an “incredible” effort from a rival to deny them.

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“Dick and I did have the odd skirmish between us, but I often say this to people: he never, ever had a bad word to say to me. He was a terrific bloke to drive with,” Bowe said.

"There were times when I probably was out of order, but he never ever gave me a bollocking. We raced hard and got on with it.

“But, no driver wins it on their own. Triple Eight is very highly polished. Anyone that thought that they might go downhill without Roland [Dane] right at the front line will be getting a bit of a shock, I reckon.

“Both Will and Broc are very impressive. It'll take an incredible, sustained team effort to beat either of those boys.”

The 2024 season will resume at the Bosch Power Tools Perth SuperSprint in May 17-19. Tickets for the Perth event are on sale now. International viewers can follow all the action on Superview.

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