We look back on some memorable Supercars moments of 2020 and ask which is your favourite, in this week’s Pirtek Poll.
Having focused on matters of performance last week, we now consider stories which might not have even been performance-related at all, or at least had some greater significance.
They include matters both directly related to what happened on the race track and otherwise, and may not even be related to an individual driver or team.
Read out shortlist and cast your vote below.
Whincup wins in Holden’s home town
When Supercars, and Australia more broadly, was rocked by news that Holden was not long for this world on the eve of a new season, it seemed fitting that one might take a first-up victory.
That Jamie Whincup was able to do so in a factory-backed entry, on an Adelaide circuit around a kilometre from where Holden was born as a saddlery in Grenfell Street, in the city where it once churned out Commodores, seemed all the more appropriate.
Randle’s round win after cancer diagnosis
In Super2, it was Thomas Randle who claimed the first round victory of the season, in Adelaide.
Supercars teams support the pandemic effort
While a global pandemic put a halt to competition, it did not cause Supercars teams to shut down completely.
Erebus Motorsport produced equipment such as e-aerosol boxes, which the Blanchard family’s CoolDrive business helped to distribute, Triple Eight Race Engineering developed a ventilator prototype, and Walkinshaw Automotive Group teamed up with a company which has traditionally been a rival to produce a CPAP machine.
The season restart
With just two qualifying sessions to show for the Australian Grand Prix event, competitors and fans had to wait for more than four months from Race 2 of the season in Adelaide in February to what was officially Race 7 (the third in practice) at Sydney Motorsport Park in late-June.
Crowds were not allowed, and there were no support categories just yet, but the Supercars Championship was finally back.
Fans return to the track
In a sign of what was to come, ‘Eastern Creek’ hosted the next event of the season also, as a result of a late switch from Winton triggered by Queensland border restrictions.
The meeting was distinguished from that which preceded it by a night race, a mixed tyre allocation, and the presence of a small number of socially distanced fans who watched from the grandstand on Brabham Straight.
Le Brocq’s first win
Jack Le Brocq broke through for his first race win in the Supercars Championship in the finale of that second Sydney event.
De Pasquale’s first win
It was first-time winners in consecutive races when Anton De Pasquale took out the opener at the Darwin Triple Crown.
McLaughlin’s unofficial Triple Crown
The first Top End event was known as the ‘Darwin Triple Crown’ as per usual, but that title would be awarded to a traditional round winner in 2020, regardless of whether or not that driver prevailed in all three races.
Ironically, the only Triple Crown winner prior to last year, Scott McLaughlin, missed out on the big trophy that weekend but swept the Darwin event which followed a week later in a dominant display.
BJR pole double and lockout
Nick Percat had already recorded two race wins for Brad Jones Racing by the time they arrived in Townsville, but it was there that he picked up a career-first Supercars Championship pole.
Mostert’s first pole for WAU
Chaz Mostert was the big move in the 2019/20 off-season, from Tickford Racing to Walkinshaw Andretti United.
He may not have won a race in his first year at Clayton, but consistently strong performances saw him take fifth in the championship with a pole along the way at The Bend, WAU’s first since 2016.
McLaughlin clinches number three
For the second year in a row, Scott McLaughlin unofficially wrapped up the championship with an event to spare.
Unlike last year’s controversial Sandown weekend, however, there were smiles all-round for the DJR Team Penske driver when he finished second in Race 30 at The Bend, securing a title which he rates as his favourite.
Waters’ Bathurst shootout lap
Cameron Waters might have finished second in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 but the lap he drove to put the #6 Tickford Mustang on pole for the Great Race was one of the highlights of the event.
On a weekend during which the pace was down due to some combination of weather plus engine and aerodynamic tweaks for 2020, Waters delivered what is officially the fastest Shootout lap at Mount Panorama, a 2:03.5592s which was 0.4429s quicker than fellow front row start Scott McLaughlin’s effort and less than a tenth away from the Kiwi’s practice/qualifying lap record.
Van Gisbergen’s Holden tribute after winning Bathurst
Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander will go down in history as the last drivers to win the Bathurst 1000 in an official Holden Racing Team entry after their triumph last October.
While few were present to witness van Gisbergen’s clinical drive in person, the unique circumstances meant he could complete a victory lap and literally fly a Holden flag which was passed to him from a fan who was watching from a trackside property.
Victorian teams’ commitment
To be fair, this constitutes more than a discreet moment, but that underlines the point that the Victorian teams put in an incredible 15-week stint away from base to ensure that the season could continue in 2020.
WAU, Tickford Racing, Erebus, Kelly Racing, and Team 18 all fled Melbourne on July 6 and did not return until after the Bathurst 1000 on October 18, which makes their effort worthy of inclusion in this shortlist.
What was your favourite Supercars moment of 2020? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.