Gentleman, start your engines.
We’ve all pulled out the calculator, done the numbers, and realised pretty darn quickly that the Red Bull Racing Australia duo of Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen are in a race of their own heading into the final event of the 2016 Supercars Championship.
Now, none of this locking of the horns bull****. These two will charge on ‘til the very end, fair and square, with even a possible victor announced come Saturday afternoon (but, we kind of hope not, we love a good race to the finish line!).
There is going to be plenty of heat on the streets of Sydney Olympic Park, so let’s break down the competitors via their lifelines – their Race Engineers.
In the blue corner…….
Race Engineer / Jamie Whincup / Car #88
Championship Standing: P2 – 2,898 points – 191 points behind leader
In a nutshell: It has been a long hard year of racing and, despite a few small wounds, we are in good shape. Although, it is a long shot championship-wise for car #88, we will race hard ‘til the final flag drops.
On Homebush: Street circuits can throw up a lot of surprises, but as always, if you have a fast car you can minimise the risk of getting caught up in those surprises. So, we will do our best to have a fast car and see how it plays out.
Best track this year: Bathurst. It is such an interesting engineering challenge to make a car fast around there and very satisfying when you get it right.
Worst track this year: Winton. I don’t get along with Winton and I have never had a fast car there. I will keep trying and one day I will get a win.
Best moment this year: Pole at Bathurst. We showed good speed in all the lead-up and it was nice to be rewarded with a pole.
And in the Red corner…..
Grant “Shippy” McPherson
Race Engineer / Shane Van Gisbergen / Car #97
Championship Standing: P1 – 3,089 points
In a nutshell: I’m very excited to head to Homebush and see if we can close this season out with some more great results.
On Homebush: Homebush is one of the most challenging tracks on our calendar because it is completely unforgiving. Our priority is to ensure that we qualify in front of the carnage and have a good clean weekend.
Best track this year: Gold Coast was a great event for car #97. To win on Saturday, even with a penalty, and to finish second on Sunday after queuing was a testament to some brilliant driving by both Shane and Alex.
Worst track this year: Phillip Island was probably our weakest circuit for speed; we just didn’t quite get the car working well that weekend.
Best moment this year: Winning the PIRTEK Enduro Cup is the highlight of our year so far. While we only got one win during that period, to maintain our consistency and get on every podium showed that the whole group had a faultless run.
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