The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship stays in Australia’s north with the Townsville street circuit welcoming the Championship this weekend.
Since last time:
New look Slade
Last month’s Triple Crown proved memorable for Brad Jones Racing – but not for the right reasons as all full time entries suffered heavy damage throughout the weekend.
While the cars were fixed temporarily for Sunday, further post-stop analysis on the cars’ damage prompted a car change for Tim Slade’s Commodore.
The South Australian will now start BJR’s 600th Virgin Australia Supercars Championship race in the Holden that has been used for the team’s 2019 wildcard entries – most recently being Jack Smith.
Ahead of the round, a number of teams have opted to mix things up and change some of the liveries on some of the cars.
Most notably, Erebus Motorsport has replaced the regular black and red scheme on their David Reynolds and Anton De Pasquale Holdens with an Army-inspired camouflage livery, with the two drivers also wearing special camouflage gloves throughout the meeting.
Rick Kelly's #15 Nissan Altima will be donned with a big 100 across the weekend in celebration of Castrol's centenarian anniversary in Australia. Kelly's new livery will feature a variety of historic and classic Castrol logos, after the brand has been with Kelly for the majority of 18-year career,
James Courtney's Mobil 1 MEGA Racing Holden has also seen a change to his car, with a subtle change to highlight MEGA’s northern subsidiary to take up to prominent side slot.
Pither out, Caruso in
Garry Rogers Motorsport is facing a tough decision with their main man Richie Stanaway after he was once again ruled out for the Watpac Townsville 400.
Still suffering from ongoing neck issues, the team have given themselves until the end of the month to decide on whether Stanaway returns or whether they look at other options for the remainder of the season.
In the meantime, the squad have announced they will replace previous temporary driver, 2018 Super2 champion Chris Pither, with Michael Caruso, the driver making his return to GRM six-and-a-half years after leaving in 2013.
Trials to light up Townsville
This weekend will see the Championship’s new LED informational panels trialled with selected cars to test the new feature aimed at helping fans follow the track action.
The panels will be able to provide a variety of information for fans including current position, car number, pitstop time and an abbreviation of a driver's name.
There are seven cars expected to sport the panels including current leader Scott McLaughlin and James Courtney’s new-look Holden, while Triple Eight, Kelly Racing and Walkinshaw Andretti United are also taking part in the trial.
Scott McLaughlin is closing in on back-to-back titles, as well as being on track for a few extra records with the Kiwi chasing Craig Lowndes’ incredible 16 wins in a single season record.
Good weekends at Hidden Valley for David Reynolds and Chaz Mostert saw the two drivers jump Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup to move into third and fourth respectively.
Nick Percat and Cameron Waters have switched positions, with the latter slowly creeping up the standings, while Lee Holdsworth has replaced Tim Slade to break into the top 10 for the first time this year.
Championship Top 10
1 Scott McLaughlin 1946 points
2 Fabian Coulthard 1627
3 David Reynolds 1487
4 Chaz Mostert 1400
5 Shane van Gisbergen 1399
6 Jamie Whincup 1390
7 Cameron Waters 1225
8 Nick Percat 1183
9 Will Davison 1136
10 Lee Holdsworth 1056
This round last year
Pole: Scott McLaughlin
Winner: Jamie Whincup
Runner Up: Shane van Gisbergen
Third: Scott McLaughlin
Pole: Shane van Gisbergen
Winner: Shane van Gisbergen
Runner Up: Jamie Whincup
Third: Scott McLaughlin
#2 Holden ZB - Scott Pye
#3 Nissan Altima - Garry Jacobson
#5 Ford Mustang - Lee Holdsworth
#6 Ford Mustang - Cameron Waters
#7 Nissan Altima - Andre Heimgartner
#8 Holden ZB - Nick Percat
#9 Holden ZB - David Reynolds
#14 Holden ZB - Tim Slade
#17 Ford Mustang - Scott McLaughlin
#18 Holden ZB - Mark Winterbottom
#19 Holden ZB - Jack Le Brocq
#21 Holden ZB - Macauley Jones
#22 Holden ZB - James Courtney
#23 Ford GT - Will Davison
#33 Holden ZB – Michael Caruso
#34 Holden ZB - James Golding
#35 Holden ZB - Todd Hazelwood
#55 Ford Mustang - Chaz Mostert
#78 Nissan Altima - Simona De Silvestro
#88 Holden ZB - Jamie Whincup
#97 Holden ZB - Shane van Gisbergen
#99 Holden ZB - Anton De Pasquale
#100 Nissan Altima - Rick Kelly
#333 Ford Mustang - Fabian Coulthard
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Friday 5 July
10:55 – 11:25 Practice 1
14:25 – 14:55 Practice 2
Saturday 6 July
9:55 – 10:25 Practice 3
13:45 – 14:25 ARMOR ALL Qualifying – Race 15
16:45 – 15:45 Race 15
Sunday 7 July
09.55 – 10.15 ARMOR ALL Qualifying - Race 16
11:35 – 12:05 ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout - Race 16
14:00 - 15:30 Race 16
(All times listed are QLD local times)