Motorsport: Final showdown for 2012 marks end of an era

Jamie Whincup of Triple Eight Racing was officially named 2012 series winner. Photo / EDGE photographics
Jamie Whincup of Triple Eight Racing was officially named 2012 series winner. Photo / EDGE photographics

A curtain closed on an era in V8 Supercar racing at the Sydney 500 last weekend around the streets of Homebush.

For 20 years, Ford and Holden have battled for supremacy. But from next year, Nissan and Mercedes AMG will join them.

The Nissan and AMG Mercedes V8 engines are currently undergoing parity testing to ensure there isn't a horsepower advantage in any camp - including Ford and Holden.

Kelly racing is replacing their Holdens with two Nissan Altimas and Stone Brothers Racing are leaving Ford after 17 years and are now in partnership with Erebus Racing, building three Mercedes AMG race cars.

Honours were evenly split over the weekend with Craig Lowndes' Triple Eight Holden winning Saturday's race and FPR's Will Davison taking Sunday's 250km race.

Ford had the last say, as John Bowe won the first V8 Supercars race and Davison won the last. However, the numbers show that in the past 20 years, Holden have won 11 championships to Ford's nine and have had 350 race wins to Ford's 218.

Saturday's race was one of the most bizarre on record. Kiwi driver Shane van Gisbergen is retiring from the championship this year and wanted to go out with a bang, which he did - but not on his own terms.

On the opening lap, van Gisbergen was punted into the wall, damaging his steering. Shortly after he was crashed into by the medical safety car. Five laps later, Greg Murphy was out with steering failure, followed by Fabian Coulthard. And in-car temperatures were so hot - at times around 60C - that David Reynolds had to pit due to one of his boots melting.

Up front, Jamie Whincup deliberately stopped in the pit lane to let teammate Lowndes past during a safety car period, pushing Lowndes into third place.

"Great call by the team," said Lowndes. "Jamie gave me the win. It was a scenario we talked about and we were very mindful of a 1-2 in the championship."

Then-leader Tim Slade, who earlier in the day claimed a career first pole position, made a mistake with 12 laps to go allowing Lowndes through.

HRT pilot James Courtney had to conserve fuel in the closing laps and finished third, picking up his first podium of the season.

Race two on Sunday began badly for the Kiwi drivers, with van Gisbergen again out on the first lap with a broken diff yoke and Murphy punted into the wall. Coulthard stayed safe, coming home 15th.

Davison finally managed to get a win at the season-ending race after coming very close in the past, with Lowndes having to settle for second and Courtney with another third.

Whincup had the championship wrapped up two weeks prior and he was officially crowned the 2012 series winner - his fourth championship.


V8 Supercars points 2012


1. Jamie Whincup . .3861

2. Craig Lowndes . . 3522

3. Mark Winterbottom . . 3457

4. Will Davison . . 3049

5. Tim Slade . . 2790

6. Shane van Gisbergen . . 2554

7. Garth Tander . . 2462

8. Lee Holdsworth . . 2189

- NZ Herald

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