Speedcafe.com takes a look back at the biggest talking points from the 2015 V8 Supercars Championship.
Today’s second instalment counts down to number one.
CLICK HERE to view 10th through 6th.
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The V8 Supercars Championship battle was rocked by major injuries to two of its biggest stars this season.
James Courtney missed three events when he was struck by pit equipment hurled into the air by the downdraught of a Navy helicopter at Sydney Motorsport Park, causing five fractured ribs and a punctured lung.
Chaz Mostert later saw his season ended instantly when a misjudgement in qualifying at Bathurst triggered a ferocious accident that left him with a broken leg and fractured wrist.
Bathurst also saw Scott Pye break a rib that he bravely carried through the following event on the Gold Coast, which proved the scene of Courtney’s triumphant return.
4) Silly season
The length and depth of the silly season appeared greater than ever before in 2015, kicking off in a major way in the days after the Clipsal 500.
Triple Eight’s early move to snaffle Shane van Gisbergen and expand to three cars set the tone for a year of shuffling that touched every team on the grid.
Fabian Coulthard and David Reynolds garnered much of the spotlight, with their eventual moves to DJR Team Penske and Erebus respectively not confirmed until after Bathurst.
Other out-of-contract drivers including Tim Slade and James Moffat endured significant uncertainty before locking away moves to BJR and Volvo, while Will Davison raised eyebrows by severing his contract with Erebus in order to seek greener pastures at Tekno.
3) Bathurst 12 Hour
V8 Supercars’ pre-season ‘SuperTest’ at Sydney Motorsport Park was run in the shadow of the Bathurst 12 Hour due to a date clash that had made major headlines the previous year.
Questions over how V8 Supercars would handle the scenario in 2016 were eventually answered when news broke that the category was angling to buy out existing promoter James O’Brien.
The deal, finally signed off in August, proved just as contentious as the initial clash, raising scepticism over V8 Supercars’ motivations.
Stressing a desire to grow its already sizeable events business, the only major change seen so far has been the return of V8 Supercars drivers to the event, benefitting all concerned.
The introduction of the new pay television-focussed media rights deal was a highly emotive topic among the public and a watershed moment for the category.
Despite more than a year’s warning since the deal was first announced, the first event without live free-to-air coverage in March triggered a social media firestorm.
Those reading the raw live audience ratings also endured a rude shock as numbers predictably plummeted.
V8 Supercars in turn eagerly pointed out that an increase in replays and other programming saw the overall viewership marginally grow, leaving the debate open as to the deal’s true impact.
1) Marcos Ambrose
The season was just one championship event old when Marcos Ambrose delivered the bombshell that he was stepping down from full-time duties in DJR Team Penske’s #17 Ford.
Expressing fears that he was hurting the team’s progress as he struggled to adapt to the current generation cars, the news triggered more questions than answers.
It squarely threw the spotlight on the category’s tight testing and tyre restrictions, while uncertainty over when Ambrose would return to the wheel rolled on for months.
In the end, Ambrose ran solidly as a co-driver in the endurance races before quietly informing Roger Penske last month that his days in the category were over.