Five years of Speedcafe.com: Best races

Gordon Lomas

Tuesday 21st October, 2014 - 4:00am

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Jamie Whincup stalked by Shane Van Gisbergen in a thriller at the Gold Coast

Jamie Whincup stalked by Shane Van Gisbergen in a thriller at the Gold Coast in 2010

As Speedcafe.com celebrates its fifth birthday, we look back at the best in Australian and international motorsport over the last half-decade.

Today we focus on the most memorable races both here and overseas, as selected by our editorial team.

Domestic

1) 2014 – Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 – V8 Supercars Championship

About the only ingredients missing from the 2014 edition of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 were rain and snow.

In a race which reached new levels of chaos and mayhem, the winning car was crewed by the Felix and Unger (The Odd Couple) of V8 Supercars, Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris.

The race began with furious action with Scott McLaughlin’s Volvo leading but under siege, Jamie Whincup making a charge from the rear of the grid, James Courtney’s Commodore developing problems and kangaroos romping on the track.

Several runners found the outside fence at Griffin’s Bend where a 15m section of track began to break-up.

The race was red flagged for an hour before restarting with the race lasting 7:58.53s, the longest time it has taken since going metric in 1973.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

2) 2010 – Sydney 500 Race 1 – V8 Supercars Championship

Jonathon Webb’s maiden V8 Supercars Championship race victory could not have come in more astounding circumstances.

Webb found himself steering clear of a litany of crashes and carnage amid the rain to guide the #19 DJR-prepared Falcon to victory.

On the 60th lap of 74, onlookers were stunned when championship contenders Mark Winterbottom, James Courtney and Jamie Whincup all collected the wall at turn 5.

DJR performed a miraculous patch-up job to return Courtney back to the fray while Triple Eight also performed critical repairs to send both cars back to collect crucial points.

It will go down as one of the most dramatic and tumultuous races over the last five years.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

Craig Lowndes led Maranello to victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour

Craig Lowndes led Maranello to victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour

3) 2014 – Bathurst 12 Hour

In line with its growing stature in the world of GT3 races, the Bathurst 12 Hour rose to one of its finest moments earlier this year.

Craig Lowndes led home one of the most nail-biting finishes ever seen at Mount Panorama to win the 2014 edition of the Bathurst 12 Hour in a grandstand finish.

The champagne end to this rapidly emerging GT3 race saw Lowndes beat Max Bunk, Will Davison and Shane van Gisbergen in a finish which saw the top four covered by less than a handful of seconds.

Fending off the ever strengthening advances of Bunk’s Mercedes SLS, Lowndes managed to prevail in the Ferrari he shared with Mika Salo, John Bowe and Peter Edwards.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

4) 2010 – Gold Coast 600 Race 2 – V8 Supercars Championship

In one of the most dramatic two-car battles seen, Jamie Whincup prevailed in Race 20 of the V8 Supercars Championship on the streets of the Gold Coast in 2010.

After 102 laps Whincup (Triple Eight) withstood a challenge from Shane van Gisbergen (Stone Brothers Racing) which had raged for almost half the race distance.

It was a gripping contest that saw the two drivers side by side on the final lap before Whincup managed to prevail in an encounter which typified competition driving at the highest level.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

5) 2012  – Clipsal 500 Adelaide Race 1 – V8 Supercars Championship

Of the eight individual race wins Jamie Whincup has recorded across the Clipsal 500 weekend, none gave him more personal satisfaction than the opening heat in 2012.

Whincup managed to get by an out-of-fuel Will Davison (FPR) at Turn 9 on the final lap to record a thrilling victory.

The brilliant Triple Eight racer had made his final stop on lap 66 of 78 before picking his way through the field with some blindingly quick laps including a record tour.

As dramatic as the win was it was also one of the most emotional for Whincup who had lost his father and ‘best mate’ David Whincup to cancer the week before the Adelaide event.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

International

Ambrose came out on top in a dramatic final lap at Watkins Glen in 2012

Ambrose came out on top in a dramatic final lap at Watkins Glen in 2012

1) 2012 Watkins Glen – NASCAR Sprint Cup

A second straight Sprint Cup victory at Watkins Glen will go down as one of the most memorable NASCAR moments for Marcos Ambrose.

In the gripping final moments Ambrose clinch victory after trading blows with Brad Keselowski.

Kyle Busch had the upper hand before he could not hold on any longer on worn tyres entering the final lap, spun by Keselowski at Turn 2.

Keselowski and Ambrose then exchanged positions for the lead before the Australian prevailed in an absorbing encounter.

The New York State track was a happy hunting ground for Ambrose who managed to pocket four Nationwide victories at the circuit which also provided him with his only two Sprint Cup triumphs.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

2) 2011 Canadian Grand Prix – Formula 1

It became a classic battle between the reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel and the driver who held the F1 crown in 2009, Jenson Button.

At the Gilles Villeneuve circuit in Montreal, which has been the catalyst for surprises and drama over the years, Vettel had commanded the race from pole.

Rain made for a chaotic encounter and required a two-hour red flag mid-race; at which point Button had sat last after a litany of incidents, including collisions with McLaren team-mate Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso and a drive-through penalty.

Through a series of typically savvy strategy calls and some daring overtakes, Button put himself into position to capitalise on a mistake from Vettel halfway round the last lap, taking what the Briton would describe as his greatest grand prix triumph.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

JR Hilderbrand slides across the line of bricks to finish second after crashing from the lead at the final corner

JR Hilderbrand slides across the line of bricks to finish second after crashing from the lead at the final corner

3) 2011 Indianapolis 500 – IndyCar Series

The Californian JR Hildebrand was one corner away from winning the biggest open-wheel race in the world when disaster struck.

Hildebrand moved off his chosen line round turn 4 when he lost control and slammed into the wall with victory in the Indianapolis 500 in sight.

With his Panther Racing machine destroyed in the impact there was enough momentum for the car to slide, crippled, across the line.

However 2s before Hildebrand cross the line of bricks, Dan Wheldon was gifted his second Indy 500 win in the Bryan Herta-prepared Dallara.

It was a one of the most emotional endings to the century-long (first run in 1911) 500 for completely different reasons for the winner and runner-up.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

4) 2014 Canadian Grand Prix – Formula 1

From the depths of disqualification to scaling the lofty heights of a grand prix victory summed up the first three months of Daniel Ricciardo’s career as a Red Bull F1 driver.

Controversially stripped of second place at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in March after a fuel consumption breach, Ricciardo’s infectious smile beamed broadly when he won the Canadian Grand Prix.

Ricciardo toiled hard to seize on an opportunity which saw Nico Rosberg’s leading Mercedes dogged with power problems.

Rosberg was slowly but surely losing ground, although there remained an element of doubt whether or not the laps would run out and deny Ricciardo a maiden GP win.

But with two laps remaining at Montreal’s Gilles Villeneuve circuit, Ricciardo swept past Rosberg and sailed to victory in a moment he will long cherish.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.

5) 2013 Sao Paulo Indy 300 – IndyCar Series

It is the stuff of dreams – taking the lead on the last corner of the last lap.

Andretti Autosport driver James Hincliffe provided a gripping climax to the Sao Paulo Indy 300 by stealing victory from AJ Foyt pilot Takuma Sato by a mere 0.3s after 75 laps of the street circuit.

It was a poignant moment with Hinchcliffe becoming the first Canadian to win in Brazil since Greg Moore in 1998.

Josef Newgarden, Sato and Hinchcliffe fought for the lead in the closing stages before Hincliffe ducked beneath the Japanese driver on the final corner to take the victory.

CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s full race report.