The 2024 Repco Supercars Championship is set to be one of the most dramatic and hotly-contested yet, and will produce some big headlines.
From driver and team performance, Gen3, silly season drama and more, here are the storylines to watch out for ahead of the new season.
Can Erebus back it up?
All eyes will be on the reigning champs in 2024. Erebus Motorsport flew out of the blocks in the first Gen3 season, scoring 10 wins and 14 poles en route to both championships. The team was under pressure all season, but there were few chinks in the armour as the Coca-Cola Camaros led the way. Winning a championship is hard, but backing it up is notoriously harder.
Can Brodie assert himself as the benchmark?
Brodie Kostecki was the clear benchmark in 2023, taking more wins, podiums and poles than any other driver. The Perth-born driver can assert himself as one of Supercars’ elite should he fight for the title in 2024. His rivals will be keen to exploit any weaknesses — but on form, Kostecki has few of those.
Feeney vs Brown
Triple Eight has the youngest line-up on the grid, and two proven winners. Broc Feeney had two seasons under Shane van Gisbergen’s wing, although he did push — and often beat — the Kiwi in 2023. Will Brown arrives from Erebus, having closed out 2023 with a poor run of form. If Brown hits the ground running at Triple Eight, can the team contain both young stars?
After a 2023 headlined by car change and parity debates, 2024 offers a big opportunity for more teams and drivers to make a splash. Supercars employed world-leading practices to ensure the performance of the two different cars is as equal as possible. It’s now up to the teams and drivers to win on the track — so who will make the biggest waves?
Team development in second Gen3 year
Erebus and Triple Eight were the clear leaders in the first season of the new Gen3 cars, but several teams caught up and made their presence felt in the second half of the season. Notably, Tickford Racing and Penrite Racing closed out the year with multiple wins. With a year of the new cars under their belts, teams must take lessons learned into 2024 and turn them into performance — and critically, results.
Can DJR bounce back?
One such team desperate to do so is Dick Johnson Racing, with the Shell V-Power Ford squad scoring one win and three other podiums from 28 starts in 2023. After a rotten start to the season. DJR turned it around and found pace and results, but was ultimately overtaken by Tickford Racing in the Ford stakes. With Dr Ryan Story returning to the helm in 2024, DJR could remerge as a team to beat.
Who will be top Ford team?
Key for DJR, however, is fighting off a host of Blue Oval squads hungry to take Ford back to the top. Tickford Racing was top ranked Ford squad in fourth in the teams’ championship, but DJR and Walkinshaw Andretti United — led by Chaz Mostert — managed a host of strong results. Then, there’s Penrite Racing, which ended the year on fire and welcomes Bathurst winner Richie Stanaway. Don’t discount the expanded Blanchard Racing Team, with James Courtney and rookie Aaron Love forming a dynamic partnership.
Cam or Chaz's time?
With van Gisbergen off to NASCAR, 2024 offers a golden chance for Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert to put their stamp on the field. Between 2021 and 2023, Waters and Mostert combined for 17 wins. In that time, van Gisbergen won 40 races and two titles. If Tickford and WAU get their stars up the front, either driver could end their title droughts — as long as they don’t trip over each other like the old days!
The next generation
Of the 24 drivers on the grid, 15 are aged under 30, setting the tone for what could be a golden generation of young drivers fighting for glory. Kostecki is a champion at 26, Feeney a Sandown winner at 21, and Brown a multi-race winner at 25. Then, there’s Thomas Randle, who at 27, has yet to reach his ceiling. Bryce Fullwood, 25, just finished a career-best year, as did 28-year-old teammate Andre Heimgartner. Then, there’s Matt Payne, who at 21, ended his rookie season with one of the biggest wins you can get.
Eyes on Richie
Payne will be joined at Penrite Racing by Bathurst winner Richie Stanaway, who will turn out in his first full-time season since 2019. The Stanaway of 2024 is a far greater product than the Stanaway of 2019, who quit racing after a rough initiation to the main game. Should Penrite Racing have the pace, a confident Stanaway could achieve anything.
New Zealand, new frontier
Payne and Stanaway make up two of the five Kiwi-owned seats in 2024, alongside Heimgartner and rookie duo Ryan Wood and Jaxon Evans. The class of five will be centre stage at the inaugural Taupō race, which becomes just the third New Zealand venue to host a championship event.
Can the old guard produce more heroics?
While the next gen is on the up, 2023 gave some old hands a chance to show why they not only belong, but should never be discounted. Mark Winterbottom claimed his first win in seven years at age 42, while 38-year-old David Reynolds claimed his first win in five years. Will Davison, who turns 42 this year, didn’t show his best in ’23 as DJR battled for form. Then, there’s James Courtney, who at 43, could be sparked by a chance to lead Blanchard Racing Team into its new era.
Another silly season?
If a number of drivers can’t get it together, however, 2024 could see another busy silly season. The likes of Waters, Kostecki, Davison and Winterbottom are set to come off contract, and this year’s results could dictate if they stay or move elsewhere. Last year taught everyone a lesson that contracts can be broken, so watch this space...
Can Kai go back-to-back?
One driver that could feature in the silly season is Super2 champion Kai Allen, who made his main game debut in a DJR wildcard at last year’s Great Race. DJR has its eye firmly on Allen, who is set to defend his Super2 title in 2024. If he goes back-to-back, it would likely seal a drive for ’25.
Live pit lane
New for 2024 is the live pit lane, with the pit garage order from Round 2 onwards decided by teams' championship standings. Being at the head of pit lane has its strategic advantages, and in Supercars, any advantage can be the difference.
Down Under wonders in the US
There will also be plenty of attention of the happenings in the US, with van Gisbergen joining Scott McLaughlin in a quest for success Stateside. Van Gisbergen has a Cup Series win to his name and plenty of support, and the Supercars paddock will be watching with great interest. Additionally, Kostecki is set for more Cup Series starts, while Waters could also make a splash in NASCAR.