The Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020

After a Supercars season like no other, we rank the 10 best drivers of 2020.

The Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020

There's no prizes for guessing who tops the list this year.

But behind a dominant champion, there were some fascinating storylines to follow in 2020. Contenders in and out of seats, thrilling intra-team tussles, a fairytale Bathurst 1000 win and some performances that bode very well for the near future.

Here's our Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2020.

10. James Courtney

 

Team: Team Sydney/Tickford Racing
Best Finish: 2nd
Best Qualifying: 3rd
Championship Position: 13th

James Courtney deserves a spot on the list through his tenacity alone.

Earlier this year the 2010 series champ's career was in a tailspin following his split with Team Sydney after just a single round.

After flirting with an Erebus wildcard deal, Courtney's fortunes took a remarkable turn when the pandemic set in and Will Davison was left in the cold by sponsor Milwaukee Tools.

That opened the door for Courtney and backer Boost Mobile to jump in the fourth Tickford Mustang – and it wasn't a chance JC was about to waste.

No testing meant Courtney had to do all his learning on race weekends (his first time in the car was Practice 1 in Sydney in June), but he still finished up with a second place and three fourths. A decent haul, all things considered.

9. Andre Heimgartner

 

Team: Kelly Racing
Best Finish: 2nd
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 14th

For the second year running Andre Heimgartner finished ahead of highly-rated teammate Rick Kelly in the final standings.

In the first year running the Ford Mustang package, the Kelly Racing squad's form was tough to read in 2020. Dealing with the 100-plus day road trip didn't help, particularly given the team was banking on developing its engines during the season, but there were still flashes of speed.

When the cars were on song, it was Heimgartner leading the way for KR. He took a career-first pole at Sydney Motorsport Park, matched his career-best finish with a pair of seconds and finished in the Top 10 on 11 occasions.

8. Anton De Pasquale

 

Team: Erebus Motorsport
Wins: 1
Best Qualifying: 3rd
Championship Position: 8th

Last year Anton De Pasquale closed the gap to Erebus teammate David Reynolds. This year he comprehensively beat him.

It wasn't necessarily a straight fight within the team, as Reynolds was without race engineer Al McVean – who didn't take part in the border rush – for much of the season.

But in a tough year for the team there was little doubt De Pasquale was the form driver, banking a career-first win at Hidden Valley and finishing four spots clear of Reynolds in the standings.

Not it's time for the next step in his young career, as a driver with the race-winning Dick Johnson Racing outfit beckons.

7. Scott Pye

 

Team: Team 18
Best Finish: 3rd
Best Qualifying: 3rd
Championship Position: 9th

Team 18 gave us one of the most fascinating intra-team battles of 2020.

While Mark Winterbottom had the upper hand early in the season, Scott Pye came home with serious wind in his sails.

Pairing Pye with experienced race engineer Phil Keed proved to be a masterstroke from the squad, the duo combining for a first podium together at Hidden Valley.

Qualifying pace was a consistent weak spot, but Pye almost always made huge gains in races. There were some genuine 'how'd he do that?' moments as he edged Winterbottom – a Bathurst and series winner – in the standings.

6. Nick Percat

 

Team: Brad Jones Racing
Wins: 2
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 7th

It was little surprise to see Nick Percat, a fast, calculating race driver, profit from the new post-pandemic break tyre rules.

The South Aussie doubled his wins tally with a pair of victories across the Sydney Motorsport Park double-header, he and Brad Jones Racing perfectly picking when to use their good rubber.

Even as the rules settled across the season Percat continued to punch above BJR's weight, seventh in the points – 10 spots clear of his nearest teammate – a well-deserved outcome.

5. Jamie Whincup

 

Team: Triple Eight Race Engineering
Wins: 4
Poles: 5
Championship Position: 4th

It feels like it was years ago now, but back in March it was perfectly reasonable to think Jamie Whincup would really challenge for an eighth title.

He won the first race of the season in Adelaide and took a pole for one of the Albert Park races that didn't go ahead.

Then the season went into its hiatus, and when the racing returned, Triple Eight struggled to get it right.

Whincup did manage to keep the title fight mathematically going until the penultimate round at The Bend, but, wins at Hidden Valley and Townsville aside, he never really looked like running down Scott McLaughlin.

His season then ended on a sour note with another Bathurst 1000 blunder, this time a shunt at The Cutting while trying to pass Brodie Kostecki.

To add salt to the wound, the DNF dumped Whincup from second to fourth in the final standings.

4. Chaz Mostert

 

Team: Walkinshaw Andretti United
Best Finish: 2nd
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 5th

The move to Walkinshaw Andretti United has proven to be a stroke of genius for Chaz Mostert.

Off the back of a somewhat unconvincing 2019 campaign, at least by Mostert's standards, he was back to his best this season. Both he and the squad seemed to benefit from a fresh bout of enthusiasm, which yielded a pole and five podiums.

A win doesn't feel all that far away, and with WAU adding Grant McPherson to its impressive engineering line-up next season, who knows? Perhaps Mostert will be a genuine title contender.

3. Shane van Gisbergen

 

Team: Triple Eight Race Engineering
Wins: 4
Poles: 3
Championship Position: 3rd

It wasn't a great season for Shane van Gisbergen. But as the old saying goes, one good day at Mount Panorama can turn a whole season around.

And boy did van Gisbergen have a good day at Mount Panorama. The Kiwi finally claimed a Bathurst 1000 crown after barging into the lead during a brief rain shower, conditions just made for his flamboyant driving style, and then putting in a flawless drive over the remaining 100-odd laps to hold off a clearly faster Cam Waters.

Not only was it his first Bathurst win, but the last for a factory Holden. A fitting end to an era.

2. Cam Waters

 

Team: Tickford Racing
Wins: 1
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 2nd

Last year Cam Waters closed the gap to then-Tickford team leader Chaz Mostert. This year he took on the squad's leader role – and ran with it.

It was a coming of age season for Waters. He showed he's ready to join the category's elite with a brilliant campaign. From the word go he had one-lap speed to burn, while a new engineering direction from Townsville onwards saw his race pace significantly improve.

He took his first solo race win at The Bend and would have won the Bathurst 1000 had it not been for that rain shower while he wasn't in the car.

With Scott McLaughlin now gone, Waters looks ready to become Ford’s new poster boy.

1. Scott McLaughlin

 

Team: DJR Team Penske
Wins: 13
Poles: 15
Championship Position: 1st

It had to be. This wasn't quite as impressive as his 2018 title, but boy-oh-boy it was close.

There was no asterisk this year. After aero re-homologation before the season, it was actually the Triple Eight Holdens that rolled out looking the speedier package when the 2020 season kicked off.

But post-pandemic, McLaughlin was in a league of his own. He and DJR Team Penske got their heads around the limited tyre set rules and sprint race formats so impressively quickly. McLaughlin almost always won when he could and maximised when he couldn't.

It was the perfect send-off as he embarks on a whole new challenge in IndyCar.

shares
comments
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

Previous article

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

Next article

Randle joins Tickford on multi-year deal

Randle joins Tickford on multi-year deal
Load comments
How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star Prime

How taming his temper shaped Supercars' slow-burn star

His decision to leave Brad Jones Racing was the biggest shock of the Australian Supercars silly season so far. But for Nick Percat, it comes as the culmination of a personal journey that has made him into one of the most rounded drivers in the series, now in search of a seat that can make him a champion

Supercars
Sep 17, 2021
Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8 Prime

Why replacing Supercars' GOAT with a teenager is worth the risk for T8

On the face of it, picking an 18-year-old rookie to replace arguably the greatest Supercars driver of all time is a risky move. But as Jamie Whincup takes up a team principal role and hands his car to Broc Feeney, it's one that he is confident will be rewarded in the fullness of time - time which wasn't afforded to Whincup in his early days

Supercars
Sep 1, 2021
How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention Prime

How Randle went from fighting cancer to battling for Supercars contention

After his fledgling career was paused by a battle with testicular cancer, Thomas Randle then had to wrestle with finding a drive in Supercars after he got the all-clear. It's been a long road for the Melbourne native but, after two lengthy battles, he's finally got a full-time drive to look forward to

Supercars
Jun 29, 2021
How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle Prime

How crisis talks over Supercars’ Gen3 future could leave it without a paddle

With Supercars’ Gen3 era on the horizon, a shift is set to take place – in more ways than one – but, as has become clear in recent weeks, the plan to bin the stick and use paddles with electronic assisted shift has been met with fierce opposition

Supercars
May 24, 2021
Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske? Prime

Can DJR still be a Supercars powerhouse after Penske?

Roger Penske's whirlwind Australian Supercars sojourn is over. After six seasons, three drivers' titles, three teams' championships and a Bathurst 1000 crown, The Captain has sold his controlling stake in Dick Johnson Racing back to the squad and walked away from the category.

Supercars
Feb 26, 2021
Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader? Prime

Can Whincup be Triple Eight's ruthless leader?

Supercars' most successful team of the past 15 years is set for a radical shakeup next year when Jamie Whincup retires from driving and takes over the reins at Triple Eight. But does he have what it takes to be the new Roland Dane?

Supercars
Feb 8, 2021
How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year Prime

How a lifetime Supercars deal broke down in one year

David Reynolds inked what was effectively a lifetime deal with Erebus in 2019 – only to walk out a year later. What went wrong?

Supercars
Dec 18, 2020
Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester" Prime

Why Supercars now needs a new "human salt harvester"

Scott McLaughlin has been a controversial figure in Supercars over the past few years but, as he heads off to a fresh challenge in IndyCar, the Australian tin-top series needs to find someone else to fill his drama-filled boots as the category enters a new era...

Supercars
Nov 3, 2020