STATS CORNER: THE MARATHON MEN OF SUPERCARS

Mark Winterbottom chalked up his 500th straight championship race at The Bend, the first driver in ATCC/Supercars Championship history to achieve this unique feat. Photo: Supplied.

MARK Winterbottom achieved a unique feat at The Bend Motorsport Park recently of becoming the first driver to start 500 consecutive races in the history of the Australian Touring Car/Supercars Championship.

‘Frosty’ started his streak at Hidden Valley in 2005 during his time driving the Orrcon Falcon BA for Mark Larkham’s team in his second full-time season in the category.

His streak began after missing races in China due to his car hitting a dislodged grate – the damage was too great for the car to be repaired on site and continue racing, hence why his consecutive streak of races started began in the next round in Darwin.

V8 Sleuth reader Darren Morton has pondered the question: ‘Who are the top 10 consecutive race starters over Supercars and ATCC history?’

The good news for Frosty is that he’s got a fairly big margin on the next active driver in the Repco Supercars Championship who could catch him.

Shane van Gisbergen is the next best on the list in terms of active drivers, his 429 consecutive race streak kicking off from his debut at Oran Park in 2007.

Shane van Gisbergen has not missed a Supercars Championship race since making his debut in the Team Kiwi Falcon run by Stone Brothers at Oran Park in 2007. Photo: an1images.com / Justin Deeley.

However, the Kiwi isn’t second on the overall list – that spot is held by Rick Kelly, who started 457 races in a row from Canberra 2002 to Symmons Plains 2017, his streak ended by the multi-car crash on Saturday afternoon that turned his Nissan Altima into a smashed write-off unable to start on Sunday.

The 2017 Symmons Plains accident cost a lot of cash … Photo: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith.

That same Symmons Plains shunt in 2017 also ended the consecutive race starts streak of Will Davison, who sits seventh on the list with 360 consecutive races from Adelaide 2006 to Symmons Plains 2017.

Four currently active streaks fill four of the top five positions – Mark Winterbottom’s 500, van Gisbergen’s 429, Fabian Coulthard’s 412 and Jamie Whincup’s 404.

The postponement of this weekend’s Winton SuperSprint means the Merlin Darwin Triple Crown at Hidden Valley is the next scheduled event on the Repco Supercars Championship calendar on June 18-20.

THE TOP 10 OF MOST CONSECUTIVE RACE STARTS IN ATCC/SUPERCARS CHAMPIONSHIP HISTORY

RANKDRIVERRACE STREAKSTARTEDENDED/CURRENT
1Mark Winterbottom5002005 Hidden Valley2021 The Bend *
2Rick Kelly4572002 Canberra2017 Symmons Plains
3Shane van Gisbergen4292007 Oran Park2021 The Bend *
4Fabian Coulthard4122008 Adelaide2021 The Bend *
5Jamie Whincup4042008 Barbagallo2021 The Bend *
6Steven Johnson3901999 QLD 5002012 Sydney
7Will Davison3602006 Adelaide2017 Symmons Plains
8Todd Kelly3472000 Bathurst2012 Bathurst
9Michael Caruso3432008 Adelaide2018 Newcastle
10Steve Richards3381999 Winton2010 Sydney
Stats courtesy AN1 Data
With over 20 years in the Australian motorsport industry, Noonan is the head of V8 Sleuth. He’s held a range of roles including working in television with Seven and Ten, print media and public relations. With a specialty in Australian motorsport history, he’s known around racing paddocks as ’the Sleuth’ and started his motorsport media career in 1997.