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 with Seven becoming 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.
The most significant change on 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, 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 when 23Red Racing closed its doors during Supercars’ COVID-induced mid season halt in 2020.
De Pasquale’s recruitment has been a persistent rumour throughout the 2020 season, but his former team Erebus Motorsport still has both its seats filled for 2021.
Both David Reynolds and Will Brown are contracted to race with the team next year – although rumours continue to swirl about Reynolds future with the team, despite recently signing a 10-year deal that still has nine years remaining.
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.
FLASHBACK: Ampol’s last stint on a V8 Supercar
Fellow Commodore runners Team 18 and Walkinshaw Andretti United will also continue with their driving lineups from this year, with Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye at the former and Chaz Mostert and Bryce Fullwood at the latter.
Every other team on the grid has one or more seats still to be confirmed.
Tickford Racing is yet to confirm its full driver lineup, but Bathurst 1000 pole-winner Cameron Waters (and sponsor Monster Energy) is in the middle of a multi-year deal announced in October 2019, while a new deal announced during the 2020 Bathurst 1000 weekend will see James Courtney continue with the team into 2021.
Andre Heimgartner will have a new teammate at Kelly Racing next year with Rick Kelly’s decision to step down from full-time Supercars racing leaving the team’s #15 Ford vacant.
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 expected to continue with the team into 2021.
BJR has purchased the Racing Entitlements Contract that previously underpinned Phil Munday’s 23Red Racing entry – which, after the team’s closure, underpinned Courtney’s Tickford Racing entry in 2020 – which has secured Macauley Jones seat with the team for 2021.
The announcement also confirms rumours that Tim Blanchard‘s CoolDrive-backed entry will depart BJR and run in a different form with a new driver.
Team Sydney and Matt Stone Racing are also yet to announce any drivers for the 2021 season.
CONFIRMED DRIVERS: 2021 Repco Supercars Championship (as of 20/11/2020)
|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|
|Erebus Motorsport||David Reynolds||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Erebus Motorsport||Will Brown||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||Macauley Jones||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Kelly Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Ford Mustang GT|