The 2020 Virgin Australian Supercars Championship is right around the corner.
DJR Team Penske are ready to continue their dominant streak that began in 2018. But a late resurgence from Triple Eight towards the backend of last season, winning seven races on the trot, means that the new year brings in a mist of uncertainty.
How will Kelly Racing fare in the Mustang GT after seven seasons with the Nissan Altima? And will Hampton Downs become the new home of Supercars in New Zealand?
We ask Velocity News’ editors and contributors to give us some of their season predictions.
Who will win the drivers’ championship?
Alex Schultz (editor in chief): Shane can Gisbergen. McLaughlin is the obvious answer, but I think he may feel he has nothing more to prove and may be thinking about his future in Indycar.
Josh Ritchie (Motorsport news editor): Going by recent form, you’d have to presume that McLaughlin is in the hotseat for this championship. DJR Team Penske have also been the benchmark team over the past few seasons, and there is little to suggest that will change. However, with the new parity changes coming in and such, both Whincup and Van Gisbergen will also be strong contenders for the title.
Zane Shackleton (Motor Racing editor): Jamie Whincup. He has never gone more than three years without winning a title since 2008 and his late surge last season suggests he won’t ensure that record is broken in 2020.
Who will win the manufacturers’ championship?
JR: Most probably Ford.
Who is the dark horse to win the drivers’ championship?
AS: Fabian Coulthard
JR: Cameron Waters. His results have been improving year-on-year, and with a more prominent role at Tickford following the departure of Mostert, Waters could be given that little extra boost needed to help get him to the front.
ZS: Anton De Pasquale if his consistency improves slightly and luck goes his way for once.
Who will be the most improved team?
AS: Kelly Racing.
JR: Most probably Kelly Racing. Although, that is dependent on whether they can make the most of the Mustang GT. It’s not a given that success will follow immediately after stepping into new equipment.
ZS: Team Sydney (Tekno Autosports). Their experienced driving combination will help guide the team and engineers into developing a much more competitive car than last season.
Who will win at Bathurst?
AS: Anything can happen at Bathurst, but I’m gonna say Scotty.
JR: One of the Triple Eight pairings. Unsure as to which.
ZS: Whoever pairs with Craig Lowndes.
Which team has the best livery?
AS: For me it’s Rick Kelly’s Castrol Ford Mustang.
JR: That’s subjective! But if I were to choose – Scott Pye’s Dewalt Commodore.
ZS: Cam Waters’ Monster Energy Mustang
Will Supercars stay at Hampton Downs after 2020?
AS: I think it will either stay at Hampton or Pukekohe could share the hosting in a bi-annually kind of thing.
JR: Hampton Downs’ resource consent which limits the venues’ crowd capacity to 20,000 will play against that idea, unless the Waikato District Council decides to expand on it. Otherwise, it appears that this is likely to be a one-off event.
ZS: Likely – Pukekohe Park’s lifeline is the Supercars, and even losing it for one year will mean the park struggles to ensure their facilities are of leading class and deserved of hosting the New Zealand round.
Who will win the season opener at the Superloop 500 in Adelaide?
AS: Shane can Gisbergen, it’s a track he likes.
JR: Going by the history of Superloop 500, as well as form heading into the event, my guess is that McLaughlin should take the honours.
ZS: McLaughlin. He was definitely sandbagging at testing and he shines at this street circuit.
Photo Credit: edgephotographics