The two form teams of this year’s V8 Supercar Championship fittingly claimed a win-apiece in the Sydney 500 for the final round of the series at Sydney’s Olympic Park.
Veteran Craig Lowndes scored a win in Saturday’s (Dec 1) 250Klm enduro for TeamVodafone, while Will Davison brought the curtain down on the season, scoring an effortless win for FPR (Ford Performance Racing) in Sunday’s finale—Lowndes finished second.
Champion-elect Jamie Whincup had a disappointing finish to a stellar year with a pair of 5th-place finishes, including deliberately stopping in pit lane to let his teammate Lowndes past during a safety car, pushing Lowndes into second position in his direct battle with Mark Winterbottom for second in the Championship.
Whincup, Lowndes and TeamVodafone dominated 2012 from mid-season, including the teams championship and a one-two finish in the driver’s championship. Whincup took the Bathurst 1000 crown (partnered with Paul Dumbrell); Lowndes won the Sandown 500 (partnered with Warren Luff); and together, Whincup and Lowndes had 19 race wins across the season, including 12 for Whincup.
End of an Era
Historically, a chapter of the V8 Supercars Championship closed with the final race in Sydney under the current technical regulations. Introduction of the “Car of the Future” marks the biggest technical shake-up to hit the championship in 20 years.
With all-new cars built under “COTF” regulations being introduced for the 2013 championship, the current generation of cars will filter back into the second tier Dunlop Supercar series from next year onwards.
It’s also the last time that Holden and Ford will hold exclusive place on the V8 Supercar grid ahead of the arrival of Nissan and the Mercedes-Benz racecars next year.
The incoming manufacturers bring with them double overhead cam engine technology, while all of the new cars will feature larger wheels and tyres, independent rear suspension, a transaxle gearbox, a mid-mounted fuel cell and a control chassis/roll-cage design.
Since the Australian Touring Car Championship/V8 Supercars Championship moved to the current 5-litre Holden versus Ford rulebook for the start of the 1993 season, Holden has dominated all of the major categories of success. Craig Lowndes’s victory was the 350th race win by a Holden in the “V8 era” compared to Ford’s 218.
Scott McLaughlin has taken out the 2012 Dunlop Series Title in the final race of the season at Sydney Olympic Park.
A first-place on Saturday and third-place finish in the season’s final race on Sunday was enough to crown the 19-year-old Fujitsu Ford driver by 76 points from the Holden of Scott Pye, who had an admirable debut season. Young FPR driver Chaz Mostert was 23 points further back.
Graham Jacobs is a Motorsport writer from NSW, Australia.
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