The Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2019

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The Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2019
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Dec 19, 2019, 8:37 PM

After a season of dominance and controversy, we rank our 10 best Supercars drivers of 2019.

What a year of Supercars racing. A runaway champion shrouded in controversy, shunting teammates, an intriguing silly season... 2019 had it all.

Ranking the field was no mean feat. Factors such as the dominant debut of the Mustang and the twin-spring ban rocked the first half of the season. There's then the post-Bend era, which included Triple Eight drivers winning the final seven races.

Oh yeah, there's also the little matter of one of the most controversial Bathurst 1000s of all time.

Luckily we're not scared of a challenge. Here's out Top 10 of 2019.

10. Anton De Pasquale

Third place Anton De Pasquale, Erebus Motorsport Holden

Third place Anton De Pasquale, Erebus Motorsport Holden

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

Team: Erebus Motorsport
Best Finish: 3rd
Best Qualifying: 4th
Championship Position: 14th

De Pasquale's star continued to rise in 2019.

The Erebus young gun broke through for a maiden podium at Phillip Island behind a dominant Penske pair, before adding another third place to his CV with a fine showing in the opener at The Bend.

He also improved on his championship position by six spots compared to 2018, and only lost ground in our Top 10 (he was ninth last year) through gains made by others, rather than his own performance.

The big question now is, how long will he stay at Erebus? De Pasquale has been linked to both of the big two, DJR Team Penske and Triple Eight, with rumours of a move as soon as 2021. Erebus has Will Brown waiting in the wings, but would also run three cars in the future if it could tempt De Pasquale into staying put. It will be fascinating to see what 2020 brings.

9. Chaz Mostert

Chaz Mostert, Tickford Racing Ford

Chaz Mostert, Tickford Racing Ford

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Tickford Racing
Wins: 1
Poles: 4
Championship Position: 5th

Chaz Mostert finishes four spots lower in this year's list compared to last year, despite climbing a position in the standings.

Why? He didn't have a disaster of a season by any stretch, but, given he's considered a full-blown A-grade driver it would have been nice to see him push Scott McLaughlin a little more often, particularly at the height of the Mustang's power.

There was also a costly pair of run-ins with teammate Cam Waters, the Bathurst tangle a particularly embarrassing gaffe for Mostert (although it also served to highlight how hard it was to follow cars with the late-2019 aero levels).

On his day Mostert will still super quick, though, and with a fresh bout of motivation from his Walkinshaw Andretti United move, it'll be very interesting to see how his 2020 season shakes out.

8. Nick Percat

Nick Percat, Brad Jones Racing Holden

Nick Percat, Brad Jones Racing Holden

Photo by: Daniel Kalisz

Team: Brad Jones Racing
Best Finish: 4th
Best Qualifying: 4th
Championship Position: 9th

This was the year Nick Percat made his position as BJR's team leader clear.

Having only just shaded teammate Tim Slade last year, Percat was the Holden team's absolute stand-out in 2019. Slade did get the team's only two podiums, but Percat was both consistent and quick on his way to ninth in the points (six spots clear of the other side of the garage).

The difference between the two ultimately contributed to Slade parting ways with the team at the end of the season. If Percat keeps it up, the incoming Todd Hazelwood is going to have a heck of a benchmark to aim for in 2020.

7. Fabian Coulthard

Race winner Fabian Coulthard, DJR Team Penske

Race winner Fabian Coulthard, DJR Team Penske

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: DJR Team Penske
Wins: 2
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 4th

There's little doubt that the move to the Mustang, and the boost in rear-end grip that came with it, worked well for Fabian Coulthard. After being trounced by teammate McLaughlin last season, Coulthard was five spots better in the standings this time around.

You could, of course, still make an argument that finishing the season 16 wins and 814 points down on your teammate isn't good enough... but the complicating factor is that DJRTP operates with a clear number one driver.

The Bathurst saga was proof of that.

6. Andre Heimgartner

Andre Heimgartner, Kelly Racing Nissan

Andre Heimgartner, Kelly Racing Nissan

Photo by: Kelly Racing

Team: Kelly Racing
Best Finish: 2nd
Best Qualifying: 2nd
Championship Position: 16th

Last season you could sense that Andre Heimgartner was building to something. There were flashes of speed, but not quite often enough.

This season, however, he really started to deliver on the promise. He wasn't the same kind of standout from the Nissan drivers as Rick Kelly was in 2018, but just finishing ahead of a proven gun like Kelly in the standings this year was a remarkable achievement.

The Mustang may not be a silver bullet for Kelly Racing, but there's a decent chance it will be a step up from the Altima. Should that be the case, Heimgartner vs Kelly may be one of the most interesting battles of the 2020 season.

5. David Reynolds

David Reynolds, Erebus Motorsport Holden

David Reynolds, Erebus Motorsport Holden

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

Team: Erebus Motorsport
Best Finish: 2nd
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 6th

It was an action-packed season for David Reynolds. He was the most outspoken of the Holden drivers about parity early in the season, engaged in an ongoing feud with Scott McLaughlin (which came to a head when they crashed in Townsville), flirted with the driver market and then inked a record-breaking 10-year deal with his Erebus squad.

What his season was missing, however, was consistent absolute front-running pace. The team did look like one of the handier of the Holden runners early on when the Mustang was dominant, but didn't get the same gain from the post-Pukekohe aero change as Triple Eight.

It was a decent season for Reynolds, but surely, on what should be a more consistently-level playing field, he'll be looking for more in 2020.

4. Cam Waters

Cameron Waters, Tickford Racing Ford

Cameron Waters, Tickford Racing Ford

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

Team: Tickford Racing
Best Finish: 2nd
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 7th

This was the year that Cam Waters had to (consistently) close the gap to Chaz Mostert... and that's exactly what he did.

His start to the season was particularly impressive, despite some missed opportunities. He could have easily been on the podium twice in Adelaide, had it not been for a failed cool suit during Saturday's opening heat. And at Albert Park there could have been three podiums from the four races had it not been for a bizarre out-lap shunt with McLaughlin.

The biggest missed opportunity of his season was, of course, that Bathurst shunt with Mostert. But, with six podiums and seventh in the points, it was still a breakout year for Waters.

Now, attention turns to how he'll fare as Tickford's team leader in 2020.

3. Jamie Whincup

Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Jamie Whincup, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

Team: Triple Eight Race Engineering
Wins: 5
Poles: 3
Championship Position: 3rd

As was the case this time last year, Jamie Whincup's GOAT-like success makes every outside of title contention seem like an abject failure.

Of course, his 2019 campaign wasn't an abject failure. Like most of the Holden drivers, hopes of mounting a title fight were dashed if not in Adelaide, then certainly at Albert Park, where the Mustang's early advantage became abundantly clear.

When the aero form swung back towards the Holdens from Pukekohe onwards, Whincup returned to his winning ways. Uncharacteristic mistakes in Townsville and Newcastle aside, it wound up being a decent season for the seven-time champion.

What will be interesting to see next year is if he can mount his first proper title charge since 2017. That may well determine whether he continues beyond 2020, or hangs up his helmet.

2. Shane van Gisbergen

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Shane van Gisbergen, Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden

Photo by: Dirk Klynsmith / Motorsport Images

Team: Triple Eight Race Engineering
Wins: 5
Poles: 3
Championship Position: 2nd

There was never really a title fight this season, but at least Shane van Gisbergen managed to stave off the inevitable until the end of the penultimate weekend.

Even when the Mustang was at its most dominant, it was van Gisbergen that took his rare chances. He took Holden's first win of the season at Symmons, where the Ford struggled with drag, before adding a second in difficult wet conditions in Townsville.

Once the aero change came along he added six podiums from the last nine races, three of which were wins. There would have been a fourth had it not been for the heartbreaking suspension failure at Sandown.

You'd imagine 'Giz' will be keen to really take the fight to Scott McLaughlin in 2020.

1. Scott McLaughlin

Champion Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford

Champion Scott McLaughlin, DJR Team Penske Ford

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

Team: DJR Team Penske
Wins: 18
Poles: 15
Championship Position: 1st

A record number of wins in a Supercars season. A record number of wins for a Team Penske driver in a single season. A non-existent title fight. A Bathurst 1000 crown. What a 2019 it was for Scott McLaughlin.

On paper it looks as straightforward as it gets, but there were challenges en route to a second consecutive title.

For much of the season the new Mustang was accused of having a significant aero advantage, which, for some, took the shine off his winning streak – despite there being five other Fords in the field that couldn't touch the #17.

Then there was Bathurst and its pair of cheating scandals, starting with the go-slow order that played into McLaughlin's hands, followed by the qualifying engine breach.

But, while he copped the brunt of the criticism, nothing that happened around McLaughlin was directly within his control. All he ever did was drive what he had underneath him as fast as it would go.

And, massive Gold Coast shunt aside, he did it to absolute perfection.

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