THE Supercars Championship grid will have a very different look in 2021 with a significant shakeup in the driver market mixing up the entry list.
The championship itself will also have a different name, becoming the Repco Supercars Championship in a deal that also sees the automotive brand assuming naming rights sponsorship of the Bathurst 1000.
The new year will also see a new TV broadcast deal as Seven becomes the sport’s new free-to-air television partner, while FOX SPORTS, Foxtel and Kayo remain its subscription TV partner.
The 2021 season will also mark the last for the Gen2 platform that was originally introduced as the Car of the Future in 2013.
It will also be the final year the Holden Commodore appears on the grid; although the Holden marque has been retired by General Motors, the Commodore will race on for a final season before being replaced by a Gen3-specification Chevrolet Camaro in 2022.
An announcement that Garry Jacobson will join Fabian Coulthard in the two-car Team Sydney means the full grid has now been confirmed ahead of the season-opener at Bathurst in February.
The most significant change to the grid is the departure of reigning three-time Supercars champion Scott McLaughlin to race in the IndyCar Series, and the exit of Team Penske after six years in the series.
The team will continue on but with the Dick Johnson Racing name returning – with Ben Croke appointed as Team Principal – and the rechristened squad heads into its 41st season of racing with a completely new driver lineup in the form of Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale.
It’s a homecoming for Davison – he raced for DJR from 2006 to 2008, his first years as a full-time driver in the championship – after finding himself suddenly out of a full-time seat during 2020 when 23Red Racing closed its doors during Supercars’ COVID-induced mid season halt.
It’s all change at Erebus Motorsport with De Pasquale and David Reynolds both leaving the squad – the latter just one season into a 10-year-deal – and long-term primary sponsor Penrite also ending a relationship that dates back to the middle of the 2015 season.
Reynolds has finally been formally announced at Kelly Grove Racing after months of rumours; he’ll team with Andre Heimgartner following Rick Kelly‘s decision to step back from full-time driving.
The 2017 Bathurst winner will be joined at the team by both Penrite and his long-term race engineer Alistair McVean, who moved to the team in December.
The new team name also signifies that the Kelly family’s team has also undergone a major change for 2021 with the Grove Group becoming equal partners in the team.
Erebus has selected two rising stars to fill its two vacant seats.
Brodie Kostecki will graduate from the Super2 Series to take up the seat in the #99 car, joining Will Brown who will take over driving the #9 Holden.
Erebus has also announced that it has recruited George Commins as a race engineer in 2021.
A Supercars veteran who has also worked for Williams in Formula 1 and Arden in Formula Renault 3.5 – he race engineered future F1 race winner Pierre Gasly in 2014 – Commins had been with Kelly Racing since returning to Australia in 2015 where he served as Rick Kelly’s race engineer.
Tickford Racing has confirmed a downsized three-car lineup which has Lee Holdsworth out of a drive.
The team was unable to secure a new Racing Entitlements Contract (REC) to replace the one that underpinned it’s fourth entry – previously leased from ex-23Red Racing owner Phil Munday but now sold to Brad Jones Racing – and Holdsworth and Tickford have mutually agreed to part ways despite Lee possessing a contract for 2021.
Jack Le Brocq will move across to the team’s Truck Assist-backed #5 Mustang following the end of Supercheap Auto’s title sponsorship of its #55 entry.
Tickford will continue to be led by Bathurst 1000 pole-winner Cameron Waters (and sponsor Monster Energy), who is in the middle of a multi-year deal announced in October 2019, while a new deal announced during the 2020 Bathurst 1000 weekend sees James Courtney continue with the team into 2021.
Team SYDNEY also has an all-new lineup having parted ways its 2020 pilots Alex Davison and Chris Pither.
Fabian Coulthard turned down an enduro-only drive with DJR to race full-time with Team SYDNEY, for whom he will drive the Local Legends-backed #19 Holden for the Jonathon and Kobe Webb-run squad.
The second car will be driven by Jacobson, who debuted in the main game with Kelly Racing in 2019 before spending 2020 in a Matt Stone Racing Holden.
Team SYDNEY’s lineup is bolstered by the return of Dr Geoffrey Slater to the squad.
Slater was the squad’s race engineer during Shane van Gisbergen’s years at the then-TEKNO Autosports and engineered Webb and Will Davison’s Bathurst 1000 win in 2016.
After several successful seasons working in the United States at Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s factory-backed BMW GT team, Slater returns to Team SYDNEY in the role of Team Manager Technical.
Another big change is the addition of a brand new team to the grid with the Blanchard Racing Team striking out on its own after several seasons operated by Brad Jones Racing.
Tim Slade returns to a full-time role as the driver of the #3 Tim Blanchard Racing Ford Mustang.
READ MORE: Slade returns with new Supercars squad
Despite the exit of Jacobson, Matt Stone Racing heads into the season with a familiar lineup as Jake Kostecki and Zane Goddard move into full-time drives after sharing a car last season.
A handful of teams head into the new year with unchanged lineups.
Triple Eight Race Engineering heads that list, with former champions Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen continuing their partnership into a sixth season.
One thing that will change at Triple Eight is the team’s name: it will race as Red Bull Ampol Racing as the petrol brand takes over the joint naming-rights sponsorship position previously held by Holden, while Supercheap Auto also joins the squad as a sponsor.
FLASHBACK: Ampol’s last stint on a V8 Supercar
Another change will occur in the team’s engineering lineup with van Gisbergen’s race engineer Grant McPherson ending his five-year stint with Triple Eight to join Walkinshaw Andretti United.
Triple Eight has responded by moving Whincup’s longtime engineer David Cauchi onto van Gisbergen’s car and recruiting Wes McDougall for the seven-time champion.
The vastly experienced McPherson – who, prior to joining Triple Eight, spent almost eight years with Tickford Racing between 2007 and 2014 – joins WAU in the role of Head of Performance, leading its engineering group under Technical Director, Carl Faux.
WAU is another team that retains a stable driver lineup with Chaz Mostert and Bryce Fullwood both remaining for a second season, while its key commercial partners Mobil, Appliances Online and Middy’s Electrical are also staying onboard.
Fellow Commodore runners Team 18 will also roll into 2021 with an unchanged driver lineup in the form of Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye.
However, a significant change at Team 18 has occured behind the scenes with the recruitment of veteran Garry Rogers Motorsport engineer Richard Hollway to serve as the squad’s new Head of Engineering.
At Brad Jones Racing, Nick Percat will remain with the squad until the end of 2022 and Todd Hazelwood has been confirmed as staying for the 2021 season, while Jack Smith is also officially confirmed as continuing with the team.
With Tim Blanchard taking his REC to run his own team, BJR purchased the REC that previously underpinned Phil Munday’s 23Red Racing entry in order to field Macauley Jones in 2021.
ENTRY LIST: 2021 Repco Supercars Championship
|Dick Johnson Racing||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT|
|Dick Johnson Racing||Anton de Pasquale||Ford Mustang GT|
|Triple Eight Race Engineering||Jamie Whincup||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Triple Eight Race Engineering||Shane van Gisbergen||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Tickford Racing||Cameron Waters||Ford Mustang GT|
|Tickford Racing||James Courtney||Ford Mustang GT|
|Tickford Racing||Jack Le Brocq||Ford Mustang GT|
|Erebus Motorsport||Will Brown||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Erebus Motorsport||Brodie Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team 18||Mark Winterbottom||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team 18||Scott Pye||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Walkinshaw Andretti United||Bryce Fullwood||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Walkinshaw Andretti United||Chaz Mostert||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Nick Percat||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Jack Smith||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Kelly Grove Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT|
|Kelly Grove Racing||David Reynolds||Ford Mustang GT|
|Blanchard Racing Team||Tim Slade||Ford Mustang GT|
|Team SYDNEY||Fabian Coulthard||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team SYDNEY||Garry Jacobson||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Matt Stone Racing||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Matt Stone Racing||Zane Goddard||Holden Commodore ZB|