POLL: Who impressed you most in 2017?
The 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship saw a number of commendable performances throughout the season.
From Scott McLaughlin’s incredible speed, Jamie Whincup’s graft to stay in the title fight, and the underdog Bathurst 1000 win by David Reynolds/Luke Youlden and Erebus Motorsport, a number of drivers stood tall this year.
But who was the most impressive? Read our list of contenders below and cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
Jamie Whincup (1st, 4 race wins)
Jamie Whincup took until Race 14 of the championship to notch up his first race win in one of his most challenging seasons to date.
Despite his car not possessing the pace of the DJR Team Penske Falcons, Whincup and his Triple Eight team managed to keep themselves in the hunt until the very end.
Now a seven-time champion, the 34-year-old declared his most recent triumph his greatest, and having all but cruised to some of his first six it is easy to understand why.
Scott McLaughlin (2nd, 8 race wins)
Scott McLaughlin dominated for vast swathes of the season, including an incredible run of seven pole positions in a row and six wins in nine races during the middle of the year.
The young New Zealander clearly displayed the greatest raw pace, including his record-breaking pole lap at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, and gained the upper hand on team-mate Fabian Coulthard.
However, McLaughlin’s points tally took a major hit with an engine-related DNF at Mount Panorama and he ultimately let the title slip in a controversial conclusion to the championship in Newcastle.
Chaz Mostert (5th, 3 race wins)
Mostert rode Prodrive Racing Australia’s upturn in the second half of the season, taking his second win of the season at Queensland Raceway before putting himself firmly in championship contention by winning the Pirtek Enduro Cup with Steve Owen.
While being turned around by team-mates in Pukekohe proved costly, Mostert established himself as PRA’s lead driver as he finished fifth in the championship.
David Reynolds (7th, Bathurst 1000 winner)
David Reynolds and Luke Youlden broke through for their first Bathurst 1000 wins in one of the championship’s minnow teams, Erebus Motorsport, in 2017.
While the Mountain always throws up its fair share of drama, the result was hardly a fluke considering Reynolds’ two other podiums at Phillip Island and the final race of the season in Newcastle, and top fives also at Symmons Plains, Winton, and the Saturday race in Newcastle.
The Supercars ‘class clown’ was awarded the Barry Sheene Medal at the championship’s Gala Awards night after he, engineer Alistair McVean, and team manager Barry Ryan combined to bat well above their average this year.
Cameron Waters (8th, Sandown 500 winner)
Cameron Waters came into 2017 under some pressure to deliver off the back of a 19th position finish in his first full season in the championship.
Sitting 10th off the back of a solid season prior to the Pirtek Enduro Cup, Waters and Richie Stanaway broke through for their maiden victories in the Sandown 500 and backed up a one-two for Prodrive in Race 21 at the Gold Coast 600.
Waters also got on the podium on the Sunday in Pukekohe, having been cleared of wrongdoing in a three-way team-mate tango.
Garth Tander (9th, Race 5 podium)
Garth Tander returned to his old home in the form of Garry Rogers Motorsport amid the team’s rush to build four brand new Commodores for an assault on the Supercars Championship and Super2 Series after losing the right to run Volvos.
Despite the struggle to even get cars on the track at the start of the year, Tander managed to finish ninth in the championship with a fourth placing with James Golding at Sandown arguably his best performance.
Scott Pye (12th, Bathurst 1000 runner-up)
In a season of upheaval for the now ex-factory Holden team, Scott Pye flew under the radar to finish two places outside the top 10 in the standings.
The obvious highlight of his season was Bathurst where he and Warren Luff finished second after the latter’s superb opening stint.
However, Pye also finished a full nine championship positions ahead of highly-rated team-mate James Courtney in a season which he recently labelled his best ever.
Richie Stanaway (28th, Sandown 500 winner)
Despite competing only as a Pirtek Enduro Cup co-driver, Stanaway made his mark on Supercars in 2017 with stellar drives in the Sandown 500 and also in the rain at Bathurst.
The former factory Aston Martin World Endurance Championship driver did not at all look out of place mixing it with the championship’s full-timers despite his inexperience in the category.
Aside from victory in the Sandown 500, Stanaway also notched up a race win in just his first Super2 round start a month earlier at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Who was your most impressive performer in Supercars in 2017? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.