It’s with a heavy heart that we remind you that we’ve reached the end of the Motorsport season in 2015. In a tour which has taken us across continents and oceans, and to legendary and new race tracks all over the world, the Coates Hire Sydney 500 marks the end of an epic journey which may well end with history in the making.
The V8 Supercar season reaches it’s climax around the streets of Sydney Olympic Park and with both the drivers and teams championships still up for grabs, the final racing weekend in 2015 looks set to be a spectacular finale. As Mark Winterbottom goes for championship glory, and Prodrive Racing Australia aim to win their first teams title, here are four things to look out for in Sydney this weekend.
Can Owen and Reynolds be the rear guard Frosty desperately needs? After his clash with SVG effectively ruled Reynolds out of the championship running, the Bottle-O Falcon, so often a frontruner in 2015 disappeared into the midfield for the rest of the Philip Island weekend. No doubt with his expulsion from the championship race fresh on his mind, Reynolds can be forgiven for a below par performance on the Island but Prodrive Racing Australia need the departing Reynolds on top of his game this weekend if they are to leave Sydney with one or both trophies. With James Courtney openly coming out and pledging his support to Lowndes and Holden, Frosty needs all the help he can get from Reynolds to take points off the veteran in all three races. Lowndes himself has a perfect rear gunner in the form of Jamie Whincup who snatched 3rd place off Winterbottom on the last lap at Philip Island so don’t be surprised when we see plenty of team orders played out this weekend. The returning Steve Owen (in place of Waters) needs to get up to speed quickly if he is to play a part in the outcome of the weekend.
Will Volvo win a race in 2015? Volvo and Scott McLaughlin have recovered from an underwhelming start to the season to finish the year as one of the fastest packages on the grid. A healthy collection of podiums from the last few rounds has announced GRM’s arrival back on the V8 Supercars top table and the Coates Hire Sydney 500 represents McLaughlin’s last chance to win a race this season. With the arrival of Moffat at the team next year in place of David Wall we can expect two very competitive Volvo S60’s battling at the front of the field next season instead of the usual lone car which we’ve become so accustomed to over the last two seasons. The potential for greatness is most certainly there, and with a bit of luck, Volvo and McLaughlin could soon find themselves heading into the final weekend of the season firmly in the championship hunt.
Can SVG sign off with something special? Admit it, the thought of Whincup, Lowndes and SVG at Triple Eight next season is a mouthwatering prospect, and the kiwi will be keen to sign off his Tekno Autosports career with a win for the team he achieved so much with in the last three seasons. Sydney will mark his 240th V8SC race, and still at the tender age of just 26, Van Gisbergen will surely go on to achieve great things over at Triple Eight Racing Australia. With such a strong driver line up in place for next season, it would be an extremely safe bet indeed to assume that Triple Eight are already hot favorites for the 2016 teams crown.
Can Frosty do it? As Lowndes rightly mentioned at Philip Island, the championship is Winterbottom’s to lose. By finishing 7th or above in all three races Frosty can ensure he wins his maiden V8SC crown by Sunday night. It’s been a remarkable season for Winterbottom and Prodrive, so often the championship’s nearly men, this weekend marks the perfect opportunity for both team and driver to send out a strong message to Red Bull Racing Australia and the rest of the gird. If Mostert hadn’t been injured in that horrible Bathurst crash, Winterbottom may well have nearly been home and dry but one more weekend like many he has enjoyed in 2015 will ensure the Championship stays blue over the winter break.
Image thanks to www.foxsports.com.au