For the first time since 2012 V8 Supercars will race at Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend as a fitting, albeit temporary, finale to the regular season ahead of the all-important PIRTEK Enduro Cup starting next month.
Unlike every other circuit on the schedule, teams hold no race data on the track formerly known as Eastern Creek International Raceway on account of the existing Cars of the Future having never raced there.
All teams have tested at the track but early-season testing holds little sway when it comes to race set-up, especially since there have been eight rounds and a further two test days since.
And when the race was last contested, it’s no surprise that Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom were the most dominant. Lowndesy and JDub won a race apiece, with the former also claiming a second-place finish in Sunday’s race.
And two years on, little has changed in the V8 landscape despite the introduction of three new manufacturers and a host of young guns challenging the pecking order.
Whincup, Winterbottom and Lowndes hold the top three positions in the rankings respectively, ensuring the greatest rivalry in modern V8 Supercars remains well and truly alive.
There will be three races contested this weekend, with two 100km battles on Saturday before the coveted 200km finale on Sunday which awards as many points to the winner as the previous two race wins combined.
Craig in particular will be desperate to take that 150-point haul given he is 162-points adrift of the lead. But he has form on his side following a dominant performance in Queensland where he brought home more points than any other driver. It’s also his last race weekend with his current car, which he has campaigned since the start of the 2013 season, so expect him to be throwing it around at a circuit where he won his first ever V8 race on debut.
Jamie made sure the presence of the Red Bull Holdens was well and truly felt at QR and it should be no surprise on account of his qualifying and race speed that he should be favourite to extend his lead and be Lowndes’ No.1 challenger.
All in all, with the Sandown 500 next month and this being the last solo driver event for the next three months, expect some statements to be made.
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