Supercars: The championship permutations
Jamie Whincup has little margin for error at this weekend’s title-deciding Coates Hire Newcastle 500 despite leading the championship by 30 points.
While the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is technically a five-way fight, it is realistically a race between Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Jamie Whincup and Shell V-Power Racing’s Scott McLaughlin.
Whincup may have a slim points advantage, but McLaughlin can at least take comfort in the fact that he only has to equal the six-time champion’s overall points haul owing to his seven races wins this year outnumbering Whincup’s three.
In the event of a tie between the two drivers, the New Zealander would be crowned champion owing to the first tie-break being the count of race wins for each driver.
Below, Speedcafe.com presents some key thresholds which will determine which way the championship swings come Sunday afternoon.
Scenario 1: Whincup’s minimum guaranteed result
Whincup can guarantee that he wins the championship with a pair of second placings.
With second position being awarded 138 points per race, he would move to 3126 championship points.
Should McLaughlin win both of those races, the 150 points for each would only take him to 3120 points.
If Whincup wins one of the two races, he needs only to finish fifth in the other, amassing a total of 3111 points.
McLaughlin could win one race and finish second in the other but he would only have 3108 points at season’s end.
Scenario 2: Worst-case for either driver
If McLaughlin fails to finish on Saturday, Whincup can seal the title with a race to spare by finishing third. He would collect 129 points, moving 159 ahead of McLaughlin.
If McLaughlin fails to finish on Saturday and Whincup finishes fourth, he is only 150 points ahead and McLaughlin could theoretically snatch the championship on a countback if he was to win the Sunday race.
If Whincup fails to finish on Saturday and McLaughlin wins, he would move into the lead by 120 points. A 25th position result on Sunday would at least invoke the countback, making for a brand new champion.
To see a range of other scenarios detailing what Whincup or McLaughlin need to achieve on Sunday to win the championship, view Speedcafe.com’s Championship Predictor.
The other drivers
Chaz Mostert and Shane van Gisbergen will most likely be out of mathematical contention by the end of Saturday.
Fabian Coulthard’s situation is not as difficult, but he must finish ahead of Whincup and probably McLaughlin on Saturday, and hope that Whincup finishes no higher than fourth.
Championship points: Top 5
|5||Shane van Gisbergen||-276||4*|
* Not including Race 3 at Symmons Plains, for which no points were awarded.
Points allocation per race: Newcastle 500