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.
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.
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
|1||Mark Winterbottom||500||2005 Hidden Valley||2021 The Bend *|
|2||Rick Kelly||457||2002 Canberra||2017 Symmons Plains|
|3||Shane van Gisbergen||429||2007 Oran Park||2021 The Bend *|
|4||Fabian Coulthard||412||2008 Adelaide||2021 The Bend *|
|5||Jamie Whincup||404||2008 Barbagallo||2021 The Bend *|
|6||Steven Johnson||390||1999 QLD 500||2012 Sydney|
|7||Will Davison||360||2006 Adelaide||2017 Symmons Plains|
|8||Todd Kelly||347||2000 Bathurst||2012 Bathurst|
|9||Michael Caruso||343||2008 Adelaide||2018 Newcastle|
|10||Steve Richards||338||1999 Winton||2010 Sydney|