It’s official! Red Bull Racing Australia has completed a fairytale debut season in V8 Supercars by claiming the 2013 driver and teams championships on the streets of Sydney this afternoon.
And the words of winner Jamie Whincup: “Ye, hoo, ye, he, hoooooooo!!!”
“Unbelievable,” said an elated Whincup.
“Number five – I can’t believe it. It’s a massive deal. We dedicate our lives to sport and this is what for.
“It’s just a huge team effort. It’s been a tough year with this new car. And a big thanks goes to Lowndesy. It’s just as much his as it is mine. We worked really hard together on these cars and to get the 1-2, it couldn’t be any better.”
Lowndesy won the very first race of 2013 for Red Bull way back in February and J-Dub bookended the season in Sydney today with yet another victory for Red Bull, and the biggest one of all – his fifth V8 Supercars title and his third successive.
After 13 rounds across Australia, New Zealand and the USA, the V8 Supercars championship fight came down to a battle between the two VF Commodores of J-Dub and Lowndsey on the streets of Sydney in the final round of the year.
They finished first and 15th respectively in Saturday’s 250km race to put the teams’ championship out of reach for rivals FPR and secure the coveted title for the first time as Red Bull Racing Australia.
It also assured that before Sunday’s final race the Red Bull team had already secured a one-two finish for the season – it was just a matter of who finished where.
J-Dub’s win on Saturday, his 11th of the season, meant he needed to finish only 18th or better to claim his fifth championship at the ripe old age of 30, while Lowndesy’s chances of victory relied on his finishing inside the top five and Whincup finishing 22nd or worse.
And like he’s done all year, J-Dub set the pace from the outset and set fastest laps one another to be among the leaders, while remaining somewhat measured by his standards, and relegate the majority of his rivals to mere bystanders.
“I know we only had to finish 18th but I just couldn’t help myself from having a crack,” J-Dub continues.
“I live for this stuff. I love it. And to do it in the first year of Car of the Future, on an even platform, it means even more,”
Lowndesy was one of a select few near on par with his team-mate and driving like a man possessed got himself into contention to steal the crown with the required top-five finish. But Whincup qualified quickest, had track position and never gave it up to finish a safe but narrow third – minus a few heart-stopping moments – and become the youngest driver ever to notch up five championships.
Three-timeschampion Lowndesy, whose last title came in 1999, could be forgiven for rueing the inexplicable efforts of championship rival Mark Winterbottom, who for the second time in as many rounds made unnecessary contact with the No.888 Red Bull Commodore to ruin Lowndes’ chances of a podium finish on Saturday and extend the gap to Whincup.
Regardless, Lowndesy and J-Dub undoubtedly established themselves as the two best drivers of the 2013 season and have the spoils to prove it.
“He was a champ and he deserved it,” Lowndes said.
“He was fast all weekend and he was fast all year. It’s a credit to him and we pushed him hard. He’s a legend.
“We have got a great relationship and work very hard together to make sure both cars are up the front. He had a great run today and what a helluva year.”
Making the result even more phenomenal for Red Bull Racing Australia is that the Triple Eight Race Engineering crew that make up the team managed to pull off the coup with the brand new Car of the Future, that for the first time saw every team on a level playing field with controlled chassis, motor, tyres and componentry in 2013.
Meanwhile, two-time MotoGP champion Casey Stoner signed off his debut season on four wheels with a top-10 finish. The 28-year-old suffered a trying initiation to V8 Supercars, with many of the seven rounds he contested in the Dunlop Development Series plagued with safety cars and incidents.
However, he showed serious potential and proved himself quick enough to run with the frontrunners by season’s end.
“I would have liked more time in the car, for sure, but I’ve enjoyed the challenge of driving and I can’t thank Pirtek, Red Bull, all my sponsors and fans for supporting me this year,” Stoner said.
“I feel sorry for the team because I don’t think we ever really got to show our true potential but this weekend the car was great.”
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