The Season So Far
There’s no debating the fact that the 2016 V8 Supercars season has been one of the greatest in recent motorsport history. Drivers have crashed, broken legs, triumphed out of nowhere, and constantly leapfrogged each other in a year of racing that’s gone down as one of the most unpredictable ever.
Even now, after 6 rounds and the season about to hit it’s halfway point, the title picture is no clearer than the very start of the season (and about as close). A mere 75 points separate 1st from 5th in the championship standings, the equivalent of HALF a long-format race win.
The Castrol Edge Townsville 400 is one of 3 ‘Super Street’ events on the Supercars calendar, the other two being the Sydney 500 and the Clipsal 500. Not quite a full-blown Enduro and not quite a Sprint either, the weekend will consist of two 200km races, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
Despite being a street circuit by definition, a good majority of the Townsville Street Circuit is comprised of specially constructed, permanent racing roads which snake their way through the city’s Reid Park. The main straight of Townsville Street Circuit also features a permanent pit building which also caters to the Australian GT and Formula championships which regularly visit.
Challenging, open and fast, the Townsville Street Circuit is about as close to a proper raceway as it’s possible to get in the middle of a city, and for this reason it’s a favourite of many drivers in the V8 Supercars series.
The Major Contenders
Jamie Whincup holds all the cards going into this weekend’s action. As current V8 Supercars series leader and the most successful driver in Townsville 400 history (winning almost half of the Supercars races ever held at the track), Whincup also claimed 2 podiums at the first Superstreet event in Adelaide back in march. Naturally, it’s hard to imagine him being beaten from such a strong position.
Last year’s Castrol Townsville 400 winner, Frosty currently sits 4th on the Championship ladder after a catastrophic 20th place finish in the last race of the most recent round in Darwin. As one of the most successful drivers ever to grace the streets of Townsville, he’ll be keen to bounce back in a big way.
Ol’ reliable, Lowndsey enters this weekend’s Castrol Edge Townsville 400 2nd on the leaderboard of his (staggering) 21st season in V8 supercars. Spurred on by a podium finish in Darwin and resting a mere 30 points from the summit of the leaderboard, a win at an unpredictable track such as Townsville could catapult him clear in his hunt for a 4th Supercars title.
Still riding high from of a double win at Philip Island, Scott McLaughlin has kept up his momentum and goes into the Castrol Edge Townsville 400 3rd in the championship standings. One of the first to guide the Garry Rodgers Volvo to any considerable success in V8 Supercars, the 23-year-old is one of the purest talents in the series right now, and definitely one to watch
Shane Van Gisbergen
The world-beating Shane Van Gisbergen has settled into a new season of V8’s nicely since his move to Red Bull Racing this year, sitting 5th in the championship standings and coming into the weekend fresh off the back of a victory at last month’s Darwin Triple Crown.