HOLDEN drivers Macauley Jones and Fabian Coulthard are on the edge of matching an unwanted marker in the Repco Supercars Championship.
They have both recorded six failures to finish so far this year, just one shy of the most in a single season during the current Car of the Future era that started in 2013.
Five drivers have the ominous honour of chalking up seven DNFs in a campaign during that time, four of which were during seasons in which they were driving new packages.
Todd Kelly (2013, Nissan), Michael Caruso (2013, Nissan), Lee Holdsworth (2013, Erebus Mercedes), Robert Dahlgren (2014, GRM Volvo) and Alex Rullo (2017, LDM Holden) each recorded seven DNFs.
Jones’ tale of woe in 2021 started with engine issues in Race 1 at the Mount Panorama 500, before an incident holed an oil cooler in Race 4 at Sandown.
Involvement in a multi-car incident took him out of Race 10 at The Bend before a shocker at the Townsville SuperSprint included two crashes and a clutch failure.
Accidents have been directly responsible for half of Coulthard’s failures to finish in 2021; striking trouble at Symmons Plains (Race 7), Hidden Valley (Race 12) and the Townsville 500 (Race 16).
A driveline failure in Sydney last Sunday is the Team Sydney Holden’s only mechanical DNF though, as his other two were unusual cases.
In Race 10 at The Bend he’d pitted to replace a flat tyre only for the race to finish before he’d reached pit exit, while he ran out of fuel on the last lap of Race 17 at the Townsville SuperSprint.
What’s the all-time record?
Even if they fail to finish all nine races that remain this year, neither Jones nor Coulthard will match the all-time record for DNFs in a season!
The most failures to finish in a single ATCC/Supercars Championship campaign stands at 16, recorded by Paul Morris while driving a VE Commodore for his eponymous team in 2007.
That total included three DNFs at Pukekohe; a weekend that finished with a clash with old sparring partner Brad Jones that sent the Sirromet Commodore into a barrel-roll at the final corner.
Next in the order are Jason Bright (13 in 2007), Andrew Jones (12 in 2007) and 11 each for John Faulkner (2002), Steve Owen (2007) and Alan Gurr (2007).
As you may have noticed, the 2007 season is the common denominator in five of those top six.
That year V8 Supercars only awarded points to the top 15 finishers, which meant anyone who struck trouble and was out of the points had little incentive to struggle on to the chequered flag.
There were also a mammoth 37 races during that year; six more than will comprise the 2021 season.