With there being a number of noteworthy performances in the 2020 Supercars Championship, we ask which driver impressed you the most, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
Scott Pye, Team 18 (9th, three podiums)
Team 18, in its first year as a two-car squad, was arguably the most improved operation this year.
It finished sixth in the teams’ standings while its pilots, Scott Pye and Mark Winterbottom, ended up ninth and 10th respectively in the drivers’ championship.
Pye’s qualifying results were not spectacular but he was one of the better racers in the field, at one point reeling off nine straight top 10 finishes and ultimately pipping Winterbottom by 20 points, all told.
Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering (3rd, four wins, three poles, won Bathurst 1000)
Shane van Gisbergen had a tough year by his standards, but capped off the season with victory in the most important race of all, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The New Zealander’s performance that Sunday was a clinical drive deserving of victory in the Great Race, with he and Garth Tander leading all but one of the latter 106 laps.
Van Gisbergen picked up three other race wins in 2020, including some canny driving in Townsville which helped Triple Eight Race Engineering to a one-two.
Bryce Fullwood, Walkinshaw Andretti United (18th, 1 podium)
Bryce Fullwood might have dominated the 2019 Super2 Series, but he would not be the first driver to do something like that and then fail in the big time.
However, after a rocky start to life as a full-time Supercars Championship driver in Adelaide, Fullwood picked up a series of solid results including a maiden podium at The Bend.
It was therefore hardly a surprise that Walkinshaw Andretti United announced it had re-signed the 22-year-old Territorian at the Mount Panorama season finale.
Cameron Waters, Tickford Racing (2nd, one win, one pole, second in Bathurst 1000)
Cameron Waters flew under the radar at times but had his best season yet, beaten in the championship only by Scott McLaughlin.
The 2015 Super2 Series winner graced the podium only once in the first four completed events but notched up a first solo race win in a run of four straight podiums to round out the season.
Waters’ 2:03.5592s to qualify on pole for the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 was mighty, and he went on to finish second with Will Davison in the #6 Tickford Mustang.
Chaz Mostert, Walkinshaw Andretti United (5th, five podiums, one pole, third in Bathurst 1000)
Chaz Mostert was the big off-season mover ahead of 2020 and certainly gave Walkinshaw Andretti United cause for optimism when he broke the practice record in Adelaide.
He left the opening event with a second placing in Race 2 and third spot in the championship, a position he held for the most part until struggling in race conditions in the twin events at The Bend.
Mostert did, however, bag WAU’s first pole since 2016 at Tailem Bend, and secured fifth in the standings with a podium at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 alongside Warren Luff.
Nick Percat, Brad Jones Racing (7th, two wins, one pole)
After 27 completed races in 2020, four drivers could boast multiple victories: Scott McLaughlin, Shane van Gisbergen, Jamie Whincup, and Nick Percat.
Both of the latter’s may have come at Sydney Motorsport Park, and one in particular was heavily tyre-influenced, but the Brad Jones Racing steerer finished in the top five on nine occasions.
In a display of one-lap pace, Percat also qualified in the top five in seven sessions, including his first ever pole position, at Townsville.
Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske (1st, 13 wins, 15 poles)
Scott McLaughlin led the championship at the end of all but the first race of the season and (unofficially) sealed the title with an event to spare.
Along the way, he racked up a huge haul of race wins and pole positions yet again, and even when the tyre allocation rendered a perfect weekend all but impossible, he accumulated solid points.
DJR Team Penske most likely had the best cars in the field, but McLaughlin achieved some big individual performances, including a sweep of the Darwin SuperSprint with a combined winning margin of 26 seconds across the three races.
Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering (4th, four wins, six poles)
Such are the standards which Jamie Whincup has set, fourth seems as a subpar result come season’s end for the seven-time champion.
However, Whincup was first or second in the championship all year until crashing out of the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
He arguably deserves consideration in the list for having the equal second-highest number of race wins, his total of four matched by team-mate Shane van Gisbergen, and looked the only driver who could possibly have denied Scott McLaughlin the title.
Who impressed you most in the 2020 Supercars Championship; one of the aforementioned eight, or someone else? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.