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HomeNewsTop 5: Race-winning chassis of the Car of the Future era

Top 5: Race-winning chassis of the Car of the Future era

A SIGNIFICANT chapter of Supercars history came to a close at the VALO Adelaide 500 with the end of the Car of the Future era.

Supercars introduced its first control chassis for the 2013 season, the rules package initially rechristened ‘New Generation’ upon their racing debut and then evolved into ‘Gen2’ in 2017.

A total of 103 individual Car of the Future chassis raced in Supercars Championship events across the platform’s 10-year lifespan, beginning on the streets of Adelaide in 2013 and ending in the same place earlier this month.

Remarkably, almost 60 percent of the cars built won at least one championship race!

Here are the five chassis that earnt the greatest number of race wins across the Car of the Future era.

No.5 – FPR 1217 (14 wins)

The control chassis at the heart of all COTF/NG/Gen2 cars allowed cars to be changed to different models or even different manufacturers, but this is the only chassis in the top five to have undergone a mid-life transformation.

Best known as Mark Winterbottom’s 2015 title-winning car, FPR 1217 was Frosty’s car from new in 2014 when it was originally an FG Falcon.

Its first four wins came in that guise, two of which came at Pukekohe to earn the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy.

Converted to FG X panelwork for the 2015 season, Winterbottom went on a tear through the early to middle-part of the season, earning nine wins across Barbagallo, Winton, Townsville, Queensland Raceway and the Sandown 500.

The chassis’ final win came in Winterbottom’s hands at Barbagallo in 2016, then was passed to Cam Waters, Jason Bright and Richie Stanaway across the next couple of seasons, before returning to Winterbottom’s hands for late 2018 to end its main game career.

Winterbottom on his way to FPR 1217’s first win at Winton in 2014. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

No.4 – DJRTP04 (17 wins)

It’s fitting that this chassis earnt 17 wins given it was the car that made the #17 a champion for the first time in almost three decades.

Built brand new by DJR Team Penske as an FG X Falcon for 2017, DJRTP04 is synonymous with Scott McLaughlin’s arrival as a championship contender in Supercars.

The Kiwi nearly nabbed the title in his first season with DJRTP, claiming eight wins and a string of pole positions – including his famed ‘three’ in the Top 10 Shootout at Bathurst – but dramatically lost the championship in the final moments of the last race at Newcastle.

McLaughlin rebounded with nine wins the following year to claim the first of three championships on the bounce.

He was reunited with the car earlier this year when it arrived in the United States on its way to its new home in Team Penske’s museum.

McLaughlin and Alex Premat celebrate winning the Sunday race at the 2017 Gold Coast 600 after starting from 13th on the grid. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley

No.3 – DJRTP06 (18 wins)

This car is unlucky not to be one spot higher on this list given that it didn’t even race for a full season, but it earnt plenty of silverware in its short competition life.

DJRTP06 was built by DJR Team Penske for the 2019 season, the debut season of the Ford Mustang GT.

McLaughlin gave the new model a win in its first race at the Adelaide 500 and claimed at least one race win (and often more) at every race meeting it started bar its last one.

Its 18th and last win came at the Bathurst 1000 before being written off in a violent crash during Sunday qualifying at the Gold Coast 600.

The run of success underpinned McLaughlin’s second Supercars title, and although the car missed its coronation it does live on.

Its chassis was subsequently fully repaired by PACE Engineering and its Bathurst-winning panels and hardware were refitted by DJR ahead of a plan for it to join DJRTP04 in the Team Penske museum in the future.

McLaughlin piloted DJRTP06 for the bulk of the 2019 season. Pic: Supplied

No.2 – 888A-037 (22 wins)

The first Holden on the list is also the only chassis in the top five to have been driven to victory by more than one primary driver.

Triple Eight Race Engineering built this chassis in mid-2013 to replace Jamie Whincup’s original Car of the Future chassis, and he and Paul Dumbrell christened ‘Elizabeth’ with a win on debut at the Sandown 500.

Another win followed at Phillip Island before Whincup effectively sealed his fifth Supercars title with his maiden victory at Sydney Olympic Park.

He used this car to romp to his sixth title a year later, Whincup’s tally of 14 wins coming despite an early-season lull.

Whincup’s rough 2015 season included a pair of wins in 888A-037, including in the first race of the season at Adelaide and in his final round aboard the car at Sydney Motorsport Park before it reverted to the team’s spare, and its final wins came from off the bench.

A high-speed tyre blowout and crash for Craig Lowndes at Pukekohe saw 888A-037 recalled to race duties for the final two rounds of 2015 to support his championship bid, and he won a pair of races at the penultimate event at Phillip Island.

Whincup and Dumbrell won back to back Sandown 500s in 2013 and 2014 (pictured). Pic: Supplied

No.1 – 888A-054 (39 wins)

This is the chassis that now holds the outright ATCC/SC record for the most race wins, a feat that is all the more remarkable given it went winless for the first six months of its life.

Built new by Triple Eight for the start of the 2020 season, ‘Chastitii’ has been with Shane van Gisbergen for its entire racing history to date.

Unlucky not to post a win on debut at the Adelaide 500, it wasn’t until Townsville in September that van Gisbergen opened 888A-054’s account with a pair of victories, before claiming another at The Bend a fortnight later.

Van Gisbergen then drove the car to his first Bathurst 1000 victory alongside Garth Tander – and it hasn’t really stopped winning since.

SVG took 14 wins on his way to winning his second Supercars Championship last year, then set a new record for wins in a season with 21 race victories – including another Bathurst 1000 win with Tander – on his way to winning his third championship in 2022. All up, this chassis won almost 43 percent of the races it started and took just over 12 percent of all the race wins on offer during the COTF era.

Van Gisbergen and Tander won the Bathurst 1000 twice aboard 888A-054. Pic: an1images.com / Scott Wensley
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