How V8s leading drivers shape up for 2016



No.1 – Ford FG X Falcon – Prodrive Australia

Age: 34

Best championship result: Winner (2015)

Last season: Winner

It will take some getting used to Winterbottom racing around in the No.1 car but there’s no doubt the career Ford man earned it. Will the Falcon FG X continue to dominate in 2016? Unlikely but there will be no let up from this ferociously-competitive racer.


No. 88 – Holden VF Commodore – Red Bull Racing

Age: 33

Best championship result: Winner (2008, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014)

Last season: 5th

The first time since 2011 he won’t start as reigning champ but still takes the front garage courtesy of a constructors championship win. Brings the best form of any driver into the new season – if the 2015 title was decided on the last three meets, Whincup would still be champ.


No.888 – Holden VF Commodore – Team Vortex

Age: 41

Best championship result: Winner (1996, 1998, 1999)

Last season: 2nd

Against the odds, the smiling assassin returns for another series. Lowndes saddles up for his 20th season and there’s no reason to doubt he won’t be up with the pacesetters again. Took Winterbottom to the line for last year’s championship and always finds a way to compete.


No.55 – Ford FG X Falcon – Rod Nash Racing

Age: 23

Best championship result: 7th (2014)

Last season: 11th

A horror crash at Bathurst ended his season and his bid for a maiden championship but Mostert is expected to be back all guns blazing in 2016. The determined young gun moves to Rod Nash Racing but will continue as one of Ford’s lead drivers.


No.97 – Holden Commodore – Red Bull Racing

Age: 26

Best championship result: 2nd (2014)

Last season: 4th

Enters the season as the best chance for a Kiwi champion since Jim Richards 25 years ago after his move to the expanded Triple Eight garage. Might find his style a little cramped in the same garage as Whincup but will appreciate the engineering upgrade.


No.8 – Volvo S60 – Garry Rogers Motorsport

Age: 22

Best championship result: 5th (2014)

Last season: 8th

The likeable New Zealander has shown his ability to qualify and needs to translate his speed into race wins. Cruel fortune dogged his racing in 2015 but McLaughlin still posted three second places. Should make solid gains alongside new teammate James Moffat.


No.12 – Ford Falcon X – DJR Team Penske

Age: 33

Best championship result: 6th (2013)

Last season: 7th

Completed the always controversial move from a Commodore to a Falcon in the off-season, lured by DJR Team Penske’s largesse. Will certainly improve their fortunes from the unfortunate second coming of Marcos Ambrose but how high is the team’s ceiling?


No.2 – Holden VF Commodore – Holden Racing Team

Age: 38

Best championship result: Winner (2007)

Last season: 6th

Claimed the Enduro Cup in an otherwise disappointing 2015 where three third-place finishes were as good as it got for the former champ. The HRT veteran is hungry to lead a championship campaign for his team almost a decade after his sole series win.


No.22 – Holden VF Commodore – Holden Racing Team

Age: 35

Best championship result: Winner (2010)

Last season: 10th

An unfortunate pit lane accident cruelled his 2015 campaign but a victorious return to the driver’s seat at Surfers Paradise shows this championship winner still has game. Led the series after Clipsal last year and could easily start with another bang.


No.15 – Nissan Altima L33 – Nissan Motorsport

Age: 33

Best championship result: Winner (2006)

Last season: 9th

Still Nissan’s best hope for an unlikely push towards the top ranks of the sport, and four podiums in 2015 show the Altima isn’t far away. A decade on from his dramatic championship win, the younger of the two Kelly brothers has shown his drive and innovation.


No.9 – Holden VF Commodore – Erebus Motorsport

Age: 30

Best championship result: 3rd (2015)

Last season: 3rd

Last year’s surprise championship contender was still in the hunt until the penultimate meet of the season despite being forced out of his Rod Nash drive. The always-opinionated driver signed with Erebus and returns to a Commodore but is unlikely to repeat his breakout 2015.

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