Doric Power Rankings: GC500
THE GOLD COAST was back, and it was back with a bang!
A massive crowd turned out for the return of the legendary Surfers streets at the weekend with a party to remember – even if the Supercars races weren’t.
As always, an event of this scope generates plenty of discussion which fill the (admittedly broad) criteria of ‘Hot’, ‘Not’ and ‘What’. This is convenient, because that’s exactly what this column deals in…
Welcome to the Doric Power Rankings from the epic Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.
In wrapping up his third title with his 21st win from 32 races, 12th win in 14 races, and fifth win straight, the big question is: what will Shane van Gisbergen do next? Surely smoking the field by 17sec like he did on Saturday isn’t as fun as blasting through the forest in a rally car, or taking on sports car’s best, or something left of field, such as NASCAR. Another donging and masterclass, capped with simply ridiculous skids. Five stars, would recommend, if any international team owners need a driver…
2. Carrera Cup
THE one-make Porsches never cease to entertain on the Gold Coast and this year was no exception. From Aaron Love’s remarkable burn from the stern – he went from 15th to first in 22 laps – there was so much more. Furious battling, an outright title showdown, dramas and a pro-am title battle that ended up changing hands three times and decided on a countback. What a weekend. What a season.
3. The Gold Coast
The Gold Coast 500 came back with an almighty bang at the weekend, with an enormous show across four days – three on track – that injected serious life into Surfers Paradise once again. This felt properly old-school party town this year.. we dare not draw comparisons to the mythical Indy era but the vibe was there. We’d believe Supercars if they announced over 200,000 people attended (2019 was 197,000 and this year was absolutely larger by mass of people lining the fences alone).
This is an important event for Supercars and it is important it succeeds. It wasn’t perfect (see ‘NOT’), but this year it had the same ‘How good is it to be back’ vibe akin to the Grand Prix, which made it incredibly special. Perhaps putting 2010 aside, this was certainly the best one of the short-circuit GC era.
3(a). Boost Mobile
Adding to the event theme of this particular ranking, congratulations must go to Boost Mobile for their efforts in activating on their event sponsorship. They. Were. Everywhere. They were on the caps give to the school kids, they were on the helicopters, they were on the people doing the watersports in the infield and they were on the airport baggage claim travellators at the airport as well (something our editor got a good, detailed look at on Thursday).
In a lesson of ‘how to activate your sponsorship 101’, this has to go near the top of the tree when it comes to recent efforts.
Love or hate Peter Adderton, he sure gets it done.
4. Chaz Mostert
Chaz is on song at the moment and with his double podium effort at the weekend surged back into the top three in the championship, with Cam Waters in second not that far up the road.
Since Race 2 at Sandown Chaz has gone 2-4-4-2-6-2-3-2 to outscore everyone except SVG, just adding to the fact WAU will look back at Winton and Wanneroo – the two consecutive rounds where Chaz didn’t get a trophy – as opportunities lost.
It feels good for Car 25 and with Nick Percat coming into some form, perhaps this is where we start believing that Chaz will be a contender for the title in 2023.
5. David Reynolds
David Reynolds being on-song is a good thing for the sport. His absolute smoking of the field in Saturday’s top-ten shootout by a margin of 0.4sec was great to see, ditto leading the field away, albeit with a steering wheel that wanted to part company with the race car. His first podium since Winton was well-earned.
6. Scott McLaughlin
The local connection in the Bus Bros returned for Adult Schoolies, and we are absolutely here for the antics and social media content. While there are multiple current drivers who could lose a personality contest to their own cardboard cutout, Scotty on tour is an absolute breath of fresh air. We cannot wait to see him more involved in the broadcast in Adelaide, but we kind of wish he was mailing it in from the corporate suite a couple of tins deep…
7. Will Davison
Will put a tough race day at Bathurst behind him with some solid drives. Fastest in opening practice, he was in the conversation early in race one until another tardy service curtailed his charge, although he was strong in the final laps. And in race two, he was about the only person who even seemed to try and fend of the inevitable SVG pass, even if it turned out to be a forlorn cause.
The naysayers, of which there were a few, expected carnage, canoes and lots of yellows in S5000s first street race.
Instead, S5000 delivered three completely Safety Car free races (the only support category to do so) and while the races most certainly were not thrillers, the remarkably spectacular nature of the cars on the GC street circuit more than made up for that, as did the push-to-pass (or push to not be passed) system, which worked superbly.
There were questions over their ability to tackle the kerbs, but not one suspension issue was reported, save for the corners crunched off cars when the drivers hit the wall.
All it needs now is another five or six cars and they will, finally, be on to something here.
Also hot: Nathan Herne, no longer the bridesmaid.
9. TV Things
- Live chatting to James Courtney during Friday practice was simply awesome.
- Great to have Jack Perkins back on board, with some great analysis following the Sunday fracas. He’s very good at TV.
- Mark Larkham continues to be a national treasure.
10. Not going time certain
For all the complaints about time certainty, kudos to Supercars and their broadcasters is deserved on Sunday when they extended the cut-off period by more than enough of a margin to get the race in, despite the lengthy red flag. This required feedback from the promoter plus Channels 7 and Fox Sports – the former especially with the precious news to think of. Good job.
- BJR – Pit stop champions yet again.
- James Golding – putting his car in the top-ten shootout on Sunday. Also see: Not.
- Mark Winterbottom – Ninth and sixth, solid.
- Chris Pither – Ninth on Sunday, a good effort to dodge the carnage and bring it home.
- Brodie Kostecki – Fifth on Sunday.
- Briony Ingerson winning the Changmai Thai Invitational
- Carrera Cup Gala – the least boring presentation night held in a long time.
- Gold Coast Indy Flashbacks
Ben Bargwanna did it
Scott McLaughlin corner
1. That crash
Says it all, really. Enormous. Costly. Dangerous. Expensive.
2. Tyre bundles
Clearly, that crash would not have happened if James Golding didn’t smash a tyre stack into the path of Thomas Randle, with the rest of the field subsequently wadding up into the mess.
What are the answers? We can’t profess to have one… elsewhere there are bollards, but we’ve been there, tried that, and it doesn’t work on the GC. We’ve tried no bundles, and everyone just takes the absolute piss out of the chicanes, and cause different types of accidents.
The two chicane complexes on the Gold Coast are two of the most exciting sections of racetrack in the world, but making them as safe as possible is tough…
3. Poor Tickford
What on earth do these guys have to do? They are properly snakebitten.
Cam Waters clouted the fence in race, did a 360, smoked it up, and somehow carried on with a somewhat decent race car, eventually finishing fifth. In race two, he faded late to place seventh.
After qualifying seventh for the opener, James Courtney finished eighth, before being comprehensively wiped out in the race two stack, where the black and teal Mustang was sent skyward. The crew performed a miracle (HOT) to get the car on track, where Courtney received a drive-through for corner cutting, before returning to the pits when the car’s bonnet collapsed. Despite the various traumas, the car was classified a finisher in 17th some 21 laps off the pace.
After making the Saturday shootout and finishing 11th, Thomas Randle repeated the effort on Sunday, but unfortunately was the first on the scene of the mega-shunt. The crew performed their second miracle of the day and resurrected the Castrol Mustang, however, the car died on the track, necessitating the final safety car.
Jake Kostecki meanwhile was looking to make amends after a fraught weekend for the Tradie Mustang at Bathurst, but after finishing 23rd on Saturday, but after largely dodging the pile-on, he wound up stuffed in the fence at the top end of the track. Returned to the track 17 laps down, finished 15th.
So much potential, such a large repair bill.
4. Scott Pye
Race 1 – Needed a splash and dash after a fuel miscalculation on lap 80 of 85, was set for a top-ten but finished 17th.
Race 2 – Running 7th, copped a 15sec penalty for issue under the final safety car, then got drop punted at the final hairpin and ended up PNowhere. So much potential, but nothing to show for it.
5. Anton’s DSQ
Disqualified from the Sunday race for having a tyre fitted to the car that was under the mandated 17psi.
It was a tough end to a difficult day for De Pasquale – running in eighth up to the final safety car, he pitted for new tyres, and re-emerged in 13th, before only making it back to 11th before being rubbed out. Now placed fifth in the standings.
6. Stunts going wrong
One of the great things about the Gold Coast event is the quantity of sideshows to keep the masses entertained, but over the weekend there were a fair share of stunts that sadly resulted in shunts.
7. Mechanical failures
We’re getting to the end of the main game life of the current generation of race car, and they are proving to be far from bulletproof.
Point in case being Will Brown’s power steering failure in race one, below, Andre Heimgartner’s engine failure at roughly the same time, Chris Pither had power steering issues in practice two, the same session Brown had alternator failure.
Multiple mechanical issues also developed in race two, although it appears many stemmed from crash damage earned in the early stacks on the mill.
8. MSR tech breach
Ran incorrect data logging rates on Todd Hazelwood’s car on Friday, which was deleted from the practice results (who cares), before receiving a five-grid spot penalty for Saturday and a 50-point team championship penalty, with the relevant data deleted.
9. Will Brown drop punting Pye
Awkward stuff, which earned the Erebus pilot a 15sec penalty that dropped him out of the top ten. It was subsequently reported in the media that Erebus wished to protest a non-protestable penalty.
10. It was just a bit boring
Let’s be honest: Both Supercars races were less than thrillers and we’re not sure why. You can’t default to blaming ‘aero’, because the GC circuit is perhaps the least aero-sensitive track on the schedule. Was it the drivers being knackered after doing the longest-ever single-driver races in the event’s history? Was it the heat? The tyre?
The bottom line is that both races were pretty flat, with the utterly inevitable feeling that Shane van Gisbergen would end up in the lead in both of them – despite him not leading early in each race.
There were moments in each and Sunday was certainly a bit better in terms of the scraps for the final spot on the podium and in the midfield.. but really, the fact is these races were pretty flat.
Also, the program was about one support category short – Friday was almost pointless, and there was a reasonable amount of downtime over the weekend.
Let’s hope Adelaide is better. And bring back two-drivers races..
- Joey Mawson getting penalised at the start of S5000 Race 3 for exactly the same thing Will Davison did in Supercars race 2; only to get away with it… Consistency in race control?
- It’s still the worst track on the calendar for getting around – though it’s a good problem to have
- Chad Neylon’s Garlic Prawns
- Porsche 992 GT3 Cup Car front splitters
- Porsche 992 GT3 Cup Car front right radiators
- Ryal Harris’ cutting his hand quite badly in his race one shunt in the SuperUtes
- The first shunt of the weekend:
So much going on…
Stand back, give them space
Whiteboard on Reynolds’ steering issues