The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship is back and staying in the sunshine state as the category heads to Queensland Raceway for the Century Batteries Ipswich SuperSprint.
Since last time:
Records to be broken
When a third tier of the Supercars chain was introduced in 2019, it was only a matter of time before the Kumho Super3 Series would see all three tiers (Supercars, Super2 and Super3) at a single meeting.
It may have taken until the second half of the season, but finally the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, Dunlop Super2 Series and Kumho Super3 Series will all be racing at the same track on the same weekend.
With 24 cars in the first division, 17 in the second and 20 in the third, a history-making 61 Supercars will be in action in Ipswich, making it a landmark weekend for the category.
Ballast changes for QR
Earlier this month, the Supercars Commission ratified a plan to change the ballasts in all Supercars on the grid.
This means a redistribution of ballast on all cars, while maintaining the current CoG (Centre of Gravity) parity which has been the talk of the Championship in 2019.
The latest changes means the Holden Commodores will have all ballast (6.8kg) removed, while 9kg of ballast will be removed from the Ford Mustangs’ roofs and composite parts will be replaced by steel roof beams in the Mustang.
The existing engine ballast of the Nissan Altima will be lowered to the sump.
De Pasquale rewarded
Anton De Pasquale will look to continue his strong start to life as a Supercars driver after Erebus extended his contract.
While the exact duration and terms of the contract has not been revealed, Erebus confirmed the 23-year-old will be with the team “in 2020 and beyond”.
The extension comes off the back of a breakout season from De Pasquale, who has secured a number of top 10 placings, as well as a career-high third in Phillip Island.
Caruso gets a second chance
Richie Stanaway is still on the mend with the nerve impingement in his neck and while there is a chance he could return to The Bend Motorsport Park next month, Garry Rogers Motorsport still needed a replacement for Ipswich.
After PIRTEK Enduro Cup co-driver Chris Pither took over in Winton and raced at the Hidden Valley round, Michael Caruso took over for Townsville earlier this month.
Despite qualifying last in both races and finishing 22nd in the first race, a dramatic improvement in the second saw him place ninth, which was enough for the team to nominate Caruso for his second drive of the season this weekend.
There wasn’t much movement in the outright standings after a dramatic weekend in Townsville, however Fabian Coulthard closed the gap on Scott McLaughlin to under 300 points.
A collision between McLaughlin and fellow title rival David Reynolds in the second race saw the outright leader finish 11th, but Reynolds was severely impacted, limping to a disappointing 20th.
As a result, Reynolds went from third to fifth in the outright standings, dropping below Chaz Mostert and race 18 winner Shane van Gisbergen, who managed to win his second race for the year.
The rest of the top 10 were unchanged, while a fourth place to De Pasquale saw him end the weekend at a season high 11th overall.
Championship Top 10
1 Scott McLaughlin 2168 points
2 Fabian Coulthard 1876
3 Shane van Gisbergen 1669
4 Chaz Mostert 1640
5 David Reynolds 1634
6 Jamie Whincup 1528
7 Cameron Waters 1396
8 Nick Percat 1321
9 Will Davison 1274
10 Lee Holdsworth 1224
This round last year
Pole: Scott McLaughlin
Winner: Scott McLaughlin
Runner Up: Shane van Gisbergen
Third: Craig Lowndes
Pole: Scott McLaughlin
Winner: Shane van Gisbergen
Runner Up: Scott McLaughlin
Third: Chaz Mostert
#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
The Support Categories
Dunlop Super2 Series
ECB SuperUtes Series
Aussie Racing Cars
Touring Car Masters
Friday 26 July
11:35 – 12:05 Practice 1
14:55 – 15:25 Practice 2
Saturday 27 July
10:35 – 11:05 Practice 3
13:25 – 14:05 ARMOR ALL Qualifying – Race 19
16:15 – 17:10 Race 19
Sunday 28 July
09.30 – 10.00 Practice 4
11:20 – 12:00 ARMOR ALL Qualifying - Race 20
14:10 - 15:35 Race 20
(All times listed are QLD local times (AEST))