Australian Supercars Championship Motorsport VASC

One Last Time: 2022 Supercars Season Preview

The Supercars Class of 2022. Image: Supercars

It is finally time for engines to be started, new Dunlop tyres fitted and for the lights to go out. Welcome to the start of the 2022 Supercars Championship. With 25 cars are all raring to go for the 30 races lined up this year, lets see what’s what as we head into a brand new season.

The Final Battle of supremacy for Ford and Holden

Twenty twenty-two will be the final year that Holden and Ford will go head to head on the race track. Holden fans will be hoping for a fitting end for the Commodore name, while Ford fans will be hoping that the Mustang will beat the Lion one final time.

Next year will be the debut of the Gen3 Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro, plus whatever (fingers crossed) extra manufacturers grace us with their presence. But before that, lets enjoy the end of the era where the Ford vs Holden battle was a huge part of our lives as race fans.

New faces, new numbers and new teams

Twenty five drivers will feature on the 2022 grid, which is one up from last year. There is change all throughout the pit lane with the 2022 silly season being one of the most active in recent years.

With the departure of legend Jamie Whincup moving from the cockpit to the garage, 2021 Super2 Champion Broc Feeney will take over the #88 Red Bull Ampol Commodore. Feeney will be alongside 2021 Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen who will keep his #97 rather than take on the traditional #1 reserved for the reigning champion.

Tickford are back to being a four car line-up, with James Courtney (moving from car #44 to #5 with revolving sponsorship) and Cameron Waters (#6 Monster Energy Mustang) being joined by 2020 Super2 Champion Thomas Randle (#55 Castrol Mustang) and new signing Jake Kostecki in the #56 Tradie Ford. This also marks the first time since 2018 where Tickford used the numbers #5, #6, #55 and #56.

Walkinshaw Andretti United and Nick Percat have reunited after eight years apart and will partner 2021 Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert in cars #2 (Mobil 1 NTI Racing) and #25 (Mobil 1 Optus Racing) respectively.

Bryce Fullwood departs WAU for the #14 Brad Jones Racing Middy’s Racing Commodore and will share a garage alongside Andre Heimgartner (#8 R&J Batteries Commodore), Macauley Jones (in the #96 with revolving sponsorship) and Jack Smith (#4 SCT Logistics Commodore).

After co-driving and winning Bathurst with Mostert last year, Lee Holdsworth joins Grove Racing (Penrite Racing) alongside David Reynolds, while Matt Stone Racing will feature an all-new line-up featuring Jack LeBrocq and Todd Hazelwood driving the #34 and #35 Truck Assist Commodores. Hazelwood previously drove for MSR in 2018 and 2019.

Team SYDNEY (aka Tekno Autosports) now becomes PremiAir Racing after Jonathon Web sold his team to PremiAir CEO Peter Xibberas, where Chris Pither will drive the #22 Coca-Cola Holden, while Garry Jacobson, for the first two rounds at least, will drive the #76 Subway Commodore.

Dick Johnson Racing (Will Davison and Anton DePasquale), Erebus Motorsport (Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki), Team18 (Mark Winterbottom and Scott Pye) and Tim Blanchard Racing (Tim Slade) remain unchanged for 2022.

With sponsorships deals, Shell V-Power sticks as major sponsorship with DJR, while Boost Mobile will support both of the Erebus Motorsport cars. Irwin Tools stays aboard Mark Winterbottom’s #18 Team18 Holden, while teammate Scott Pye’s Holden will feature a new look this year with Seiko coming onboard their #20 Commodore. Finally, Tim Blanchard Racing and its Ford Mustang will remain as CoolDrive Racing.

The Calendar

For the first time since 1999, Sydney Motorsport Park (SMP formerly known as Eastern Creek Raceway) will open the season with two 300km races.

The Championship will also head to Symmons Plains, Darwin, Townsville, The Bend, Sandown and of course Bathurst for the 1000, while welcoming back Barbagallo in Perth, Pukekohe in New Zealand, Newcastle (yet to be confirmed) and the Gold Coast which were knocked off the calendar due to Covid these past few years.

30 races, different formats, intense qualifying sessions and points for the fastest lap. It will sure be exciting.

Who to look out for?

For the first time in their existence, Triple Eight have employed a rookie with Broc Feeney filling very big shoes. Feeney is definitely one to keep an eye on, especially to see how he goes compared with two-time (and reigning) series Champion Shane van Gisbergen. Feeney has the talent but a rookie season is always difficult, regardless of the team and car you are driving.

Also keep an eye out on the pair of Erebus drivers, Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki. Erebus shocked the pit lane last year by choosing two rookies, but both drivers impressed immensely, including a win for Brown at SMP and multiple podiums (including at Bathurst) for Kostecki. With Boost backing both cars for 2022 and a full year under their racing belts, they could be dark horses for solid results all year.

Leading DJR driver Anton DePasquale will again be one of the leading Ford drivers and will be one to watch in qualifying after claiming the Pole Position Award last season. Qualifying is a strong suit, but will be looking for consistency in the races this year after suffering bad luck throughout many races last year.

Meanwhile, Will Davison, Mark Winterbottom and James Courtney will be all looking to break their winless streaks which stretch all the way back to 2016.

Finally, you can’t forget Chaz Mostert, now a two-time (and reigning) Bathurst 1000 winner. After two years with Walkinshaw Andretti United, the team has been sowing the seeds to get back to the front where they regularly were a decade ago.

There are many drivers who can win throughout this field, but it is who can be consistently at the front and who can beat flying Kiwi Shane van Gisbergen.

My Predictions

It will take something special to beat Shane van Gisbergen this season, but I think that we are in for something special. Broc Feeney has the talent and the machinery to be up there at the front, while Mostert will be in the mix as well.

I predict that Will Brown and Brodie Kostecki will win a race each while Will Davison will break his winless streak with two race wins throughout the year.

For the championship, I predict that it will be a three horse race for the title that will go down to the final round. Broc Feeney, Shane van Gisbergen and Chaz Mostert will fight it out with a new champion being crowned.

For Bathurst, I think it is time for a Ford to win. Which one however is yet to be determined. The Mountain usually decides that at about 6pm on that October afternoon.

Van Gisbergen and Mostert are two of Holden’s guns racing in a season where we will farewell the Commodore name. Image: Supercars

But those are just my predictions. They can (and probably will) go out of the window within a matter of minutes. The main thing is that racing is back and it will be awesome.

Welcome to the 2022 Supercars season. One last time around for an incredible era of Australian motorsport history.

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