POLL: Most memorable Dunlop Series moment
Ahead of this weekend’s 100th Dunlop Series round, the Pirtek Poll looks back at some of the second-tier V8 Supercars category’s most memorable moments.
Read through our selection of 20 highlights below before casting your vote on the Pirtek Poll at the bottom of the page.
2000 – Canto takes inaugural round
Initially known as the Konica V8 Lites Series, the maiden event drew a 21-car field to Eastern Creek, made up largely of gentleman racers who had found themselves squeezed out of the main series due to its growing professionalism.
Dean Canto, however, set the tone for the class’s reputation as a place for developing young talent, taking the round before going on to secure the title aboard an ex-Glenn Seton Ford.
2000 – Besnard, Wakefield Lakeside war
Stone Brothers Racing became the first main series team to flex its muscle in the series by entering rising star David Besnard in the final two rounds of the inaugural season.
The former open-wheel ace won on both occasions, memorably beating local hero Wayne Wakefield in a thrilling, no holds-barred scrap at the fast and flowing Lakeside Raceway.
2001 – Ferrier’s Wakefield Park podium
Garry Rogers Motorsport made its first foray into the series in 2001, campaigning a single car for Formula Ford graduate Leanne Ferrier.
The then 20-year-old, now married to Garth Tander, became the first and so far only female to finish on a V8 Supercars podium at Wakefield Park’s opening round before eventually finishing fifth in the series.
2002 – Dumbrell’s winning streak
A runner-up to Simon Wills in the 2001 season, the following year was characterised by Paul Dumbrell’s unflinching dominance.
The Independent Race Cars Australia run Holden scooped all five pole positions and, despite top 10 reverse grids for the second race at each round, recorded 10 consecutive race wins.
2003 – Winterbottom wins on debut
Fresh from a narrow defeat to Jamie Whincup in the previous year’s Formula Ford Championship, the pressure was on Mark Winterbottom as he embarked on his first V8 season.
Driving for V8 Supercars’ form team, Stone Brothers Racing, the 22-year-old kicked off an ultimately successful year with three consecutive round wins.
2004 – Jones, Youlden series tie
Of all the Development Series title fights, 2004 undoubtedly provided the most dramatic finish, with Andrew Jones beating Luke Youlden on a countback of wins.
Jones had crucially led the duo to the chequered flag in the very last race of the season, securing the title with second place.
2005 – Rain red flags wild Bathurst
The 2005 season saw the Development Series race for points at Bathurst for the first time.
Sprinkles of rain, however, played havoc with the second encounter, which was red flagged early when points leader Dean Canto speared off at the Chase.
More chaos after the restart saw a second red flag and the race abandoned for good, much to the benefit of the eventual series winner.
2006 – Thompson dominates Bathurst
Former karting hotshot Andrew Thompson was a quiet achiever in his first Development Series season until storming to prominence with a pole and two wins at Bathurst.
The youngster’s outstanding performance was the shining light in an otherwise black weekend for the category, which saw the tragic death of Kiwi Mark Porter.
2007 – Owen Kelly last to first
Owen Kelly made just one event start in the 2007 season, steering an Image Racing prepared Ford at Oran Park.
After tyre troubles in Race 1, Kelly remarkably stormed from the pitlane to victory in a wet Race 2, before concluding the weekend with a second win.
2007 – D’Alberto holds on for title
Tony D’Alberto had been the class of the field for much of the 2007 season, but clinching the title in the Phillip Island finale proved a nerve wracking affair.
Rival Michael Caruso charged to a double victory while D’Alberto was forced to recover from a clash with Dale Wood in the second heat, eventually taking ninth in the race and the title by just five points.
2008 – Tim Slade’s first win
V8 Supercars’ final appearance at Goulburn’s Wakefield Park saw maiden race and round wins for future star Tim Slade.
Avoiding a multi-car melee at the start of Race 3, Slade sealed the result with a second place finish behind the experienced Dean Canto.
2008 – Grant Denyer’s first win
Splitting his time between racing and television, Grant Denyer’s improving form behind the wheel netted a maiden win in the reverse top 10 grid second race at Sandown in 2008.
Denyer, who would go on to win again at the following event at Queensland Raceway, held off Michael Trimble as rain began to fall in the closing stages.
2009 – James Moffat wins on debut
James Moffat and Sonic Motor Racing Services both stepped up to the Development Series in 2009, kicking off their campaign with victory on debut in Adelaide.
Starting the weekend devoid of major sponsorship, a win in the opening heat gained plenty of attention and set up the rising star for a strong first season.
2010 – Taz Douglas’ winning return
The hard working privateer had spent the bulk of the year on the sidelines while undergoing an ultimately successful fight against lymphatic cancer.
2011 – Jason Richards wins in Adelaide
The Adelaide win came a week before Richards made his final start in the main series at Albert Park. He passed away the following December.
2012 – Percat and Mostert’s Bathurst battle
There was no love lost on or on track between factory backed youngsters Nick Percat and Chaz Mostert at Bathurst in 2012.
Percat narrowly edged Mostert for victory in the second race and round before an equally tense press conference saw the Holden star take umbrage at the Ford driver’s claim of making a ‘rookie error’.
2012 – McLaughlin wins four-way fight
Widely regarded as the most talent-laden season in the history of the Development Series, Scott McLaughlin kept his cool to win the title in Sydney.
Mistakes proved costly for both Mostert and Percat, allowing Scott Pye to sneak into second overall in his debut year.
2013 – Casey Stoner’s V8 experiment
Retired two-time MotoGP world champion Casey Stoner attracted unprecedented interest to the series for 2013, making his car racing debut in a Red Bull backed Triple Eight Holden.
It would prove a torrid season however as Stoner found himself caught up in a series of accidents, eventually quitting racing at year’s end.
2014 – Dumbrell’s Bathurst, title double
Paul Dumbrell’s return to the series 12 years after his previous title was designed to keep him fresh for the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
After a mixed start to the year, a mid-season spurt saw the Eggleston Holden driver in a position to capitalise on a crash from rival Ash Walsh in the new Bathurst 250 showpiece event; winning the race and wrapping up the title in one swoop.
2015 – Dumbrell, Waters Clipsal battle
What is expected to be a season long scrap between Dumbrell and rising Ford star Cameron Waters got off to a sensational start in Adelaide.
Which is your most memorable Dunlop Series moment? Vote now on this week’s Pirtek Poll.
Have a favourite Dunlop Series memory not mentioned? Let us know in the comments section.