With the Supercars launch and testing finally getting underway this week, excitement is building quickly for the start of the new season.
The Superloop Adelaide 500 will start on February 28th and that’s when we will get the first answers to all of the questions the off-season has thrown up.
But before we find out, we’ve spoken to Fox Sports’ new punditry duo of Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes for their predictions for the 2019 season…
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Ford reveal Mustang Supercar
How will the Mustang start?
Craig Lowndes: “I think the Mustang will be competitive, but I think it’s a matter of when it will be competitive. It will be a different car to set up, I think teams will work on it pretty quickly. If the collective Ford teams help each other I think it will be up and running very quickly.”
Mark Skaife: “I think now that we’ve seen the cars in liveries and we’ve actually seen from testing and bits and pieces and the comments from the drivers, especially in the faster stuff, they feel like it’s good. One of the great things about the category is if you think about the number of cars that’ve been introduced in the ‘Car of the Future’ – or the generation of cars – have been fantastic. I see no reason why it wouldn’t come out and be competitive straight away.”
Who will lay down the early marker?
CL: “I think probably the Red Bull team, Davey Reynolds and probably Scott McLaughlin. I think in the street circuits of Adelaide you need to have confidence there so if you’ve got a car that’s 90 per cent right, you can generally get a result.”
MS: “I can’t get away from Red Bull at Adelaide. Van Gisbergen has had two 300-point weekends there in a row. The odds are always hard to keep on doing the same thing there, it’s a pretty powerful statement when you come out of there two years in a row and win all the races. I think he will still be very, very hard to beat at Adelaide. But I expect Scott to be very fast straight away and I also expect Jamie to be fast straight away.”
Who is the best driver change?
CL: “I reckon probably Mark Winterbottom. For him to slot into Car 18 with the backing of the Triple Eight side of it, I think he will have the resources and the equipment that’s proven. It’s now just a matter of him driving it.”
Mark Winterbottom’s move to Team 18 is what Craig Lowndes is excited for.Source: Supplied
MS: “Probably to see how Richie Stanaway goes with Garry Rogers. I think it’s been a very difficult period for him in his career. At the end of 2017, the whole of pitlane wanted him. By the time he was halfway through 2018, everyone had written him off. His relationship with Tickford was pretty poisonous and from the form he had shown in the Enduros in 2017 I still think – based on his credentials overseas – that he is still a good, raw talent. So it will be interesting to see in a different atmosphere and car and under a different regime whether that brings the best out of him or not.”
Which team will top the championship?
CL: “Knowing Triple Eight and the Red Bull Holden Racing team, I reckon they’ll be the pick for the team champion.”
DJR Team Penske and Red Bull Holden will go head to head again.Source: AAP
MS: “I think it’s going to be a fantastic, continued rivalry between DJR Team Penske and Red Bull Holden Racing Team. At the moment I can’t really separate those two teams. I think anyone who is bold enough to make a prediction of who will win from there is making a very hard call.”
Which driver will top the championship?
CL: “Driver will interesting. It’ll be a tough one this year, every year we keep talking about it, but I think it will probably come down to the regulars. I think Scotty McLaughlin will definitely be in the mix because he will want to defend. I think Shane, Jamie and I think Davey Reynolds will be the one who will step up more from last year. He’s got a lot of potential. I’d almost go Davey Reynolds as my pick to win it.”
Will Scott McLaughlin reign supreme again?Source: Getty Images
MS: “I think Whincup will take some beating. There were times last year when he just had a pretty average run and it was not really due to his own mistakes, he should have just got a better result – the wheel falling off at Bathurst, for instance. You just don’t see that team having those sorts of issues that regularly and, for me, you don’t win seven championships without having a really good perspective on how you win, so I anticipate him to be more in contention. But I actually think what is going to unfold is the continued maturity and continued growth from Scotty. I really recognised from him last year a really well-rounded racing driver. There were weekends where his racing was, from an experience stand point, definitely better. His qualifying is always strong, and the weekends when he has an issue, he finds ways to get back to the front…
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