Highlights from the 2018 Coates Hire Newcastle 500
As auto mechanics, we're always in the mood for some auto-sports. Our passion for vehicles runs in our business DNA, and, between shipping out parts compatible for Volvo Trucks and getting our hands dirty under-the-hood, we caught Race 31 of Supercars Coates Hire Newcastle 500. After all, it's a supercar race that takes place in our hometown — of course we weren't going to miss it!
So, between drooling over supercars and daydreams of holding the Supercars trophy, we thought it would be a great idea to give our readers an overview of the Supercars Championship (or The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship as it's officially known) and this year's event. This post is going to break down what happened at the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, what drivers you need to be watching out for, and, yes, we're going to drool over some of the supercars.
Let's jump in!
What is Supercars Championship?
Before we start, let's quickly go over what Supercars is all about for any of our readers that aren't familiar with the sport. Supercars Championship is a national racing event that primarily takes place in Australia. Of course, Supercars has some international events — many of which take place in New Zealand.
Really, Supercars is all about, well, cars. But, these aren't just any cars. These are aerodynamic, 5.0-litre V8, heavy-duty, colourfully painted, electronic fuel injection dream machines. These are the cars that your car dreams about at night while you're asleep. These cars would make your car turn on the 80s station and go into full-blown inspirational montage mode.
Not only is Supercars filled with incredible cars and an action-packed atmosphere, but Newcastle is home to the Supercars Championship final event for the next 3 years as part of a 5-year deal!
The Newcastle-Supercar 5-Year Deal
That's right! In 2016, Supercars announced that it would host its final event in Newcastle for the next 5 years! This deal is predicted to bring close to $57 million to the Hunter region. This event is called the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, and it takes place in the East End on a large street circuit. As a side note, next years Coates Hire Newcastle 500 is going to feature Kiss.
Highlights from 2018 Coates Hire Newcastle 500
Now, that we've covered the basics, onto this year's event. If you didn't catch it on TV or in-person, the race was amazing, drama filled, and action-packed. Having the race here in the Hunter region is fantastic, especially for our managing director David Body — a Supercars superfan — who had to travel to catch the 2015 finals.
Before we jump into the craziness of this year's event, let's go over a quick overview of the drivers and teams that competed at this year's event.
Here's a quick overview of some of the drivers. This is by no means an exhaustive list. We'll admit it; we're partial to the hometown heroes.
"It is good that you know the streets a little bit better than everyone else and you kind of want to put on a better performance being at home." - Charlotte Poynting
The hometown hero. Charlotte Poynting is a Newcastle native who raced in the ECB SuperUtes Series finale. SuperUtes races are a new event for Supercars, and they showcase some of the incredible power of these utility vehicles. Charlotte competed in the event, and, even though she didn't take home the prize — that honour belongs to Ryal Harris — she did showcase some impeccable skills, and she has plenty of youth in her favour for title runs over the next few years.
"We battle hard and fair and get on with it." - Scott McLaughlin
Scott McLaughlin is this year's Supercars champion as he took second in the Coates Hire Newcastle this year. Scott drives the Ford FG X Falcon for Team Penske, and he's been racking up an incredible scorecard in his young age. In fact, he's the youngest person to ever win in a Supercar. Scott is the current golden boy of Supercars — though we're not sure if our next driver would agree.
Shane van Gisbergen
"We always talk about the next thing, but times like that … you have to take a second to really appreciate those moments." - Shane van Gisbergen
Shane van Gisbergen came in second this year, which we'll touch on in the race recap in a minute, but it's safe to say that Shane is an incredible racer. Shane drives the Holden ZB Commodore and is on Team Triple Eight. This year, we saw a bit of a rivalry between Team Penske and Team Triple Eight, which both Scott and Shane think will continue into next year's events.
"It really is about confidence with the whole car," - Aaren Russell
Aaren Russell is another hometown favourite, and he raced for Team Triton where he made had a good showing at the 2018 Bathurst 1000. He may not drive a Volvo, but we'll always root for a fellow Novocastrian.
There were plenty of other drivers. Here's a full list.
If you follow Supercars, you'll know that this race was drama-filled before it even started. The finale was all about Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen. It seemed like Shane was going to go toe-to-toe with McLaughlin after his big Saturday win in the tournament. But, after the race was said-and-done, Shane received a penalty for a refuelling infringement. Shane's fuel hose was left attached while his car was being dropped to the ground, which is against regulations. Of course, Triple Eight argued that it was a team penalty, not a direct penalty towards Shane since it was the pit crew who made the original mistake. Unfortunately for Shane, officials didn't see it that way.
"While we accept that the infringement was the result of a mistake and that no sporting advantage was intended, we agree with the DRD that by permitting the coupling to remain connected while a Car is lowered allows the Car to take on more fuel than it otherwise could." - Supercars Officials.
The penalty took McLaughlin's lead from 2 points to 53 points with one race remaining. This meant that McLaughlin only had to come in the top 5 in the next race to seal the win.
And, that's exactly what happened. McLaughlin finished 2nd after allowing David Reynolds to pass at Roger Penske's direction. The final pictures of the event have McLaughlin standing atop the hood of his car, proudly waving his well-deserved trophy in the air. It was a crazy year for Supercars, and a great event to have here at home in the Hunter Region.
Elsewhere on the track, Craig Lowndes was surrounded by fans as he was set to compete in his last race. The legend didn't manage to create a fairytale finish, but he's obvious record book material. Luckily, he's been enjoying plenty of puzzles in his spare time.
Ryal Harris also took home the ECB SuperUtes Series title after missing out on the 2017 trophy due to a 10-point contact penalty. This marks his 3rd SuperUtes championship.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship 2018 Coates Hire Newcastle 500 was an incredible event filled with gorgeous rides, action, drama, and tonnes of Novocastrian spirit. After an exciting lead-up, Scott McLaughlin took second, securing the trophy. We were sad to see Craig Lowndes end his spectacular career, but his drive and passion live on in Supercars.
Thank you for the incredible event Newcastle! We'll see you all again next year for another Coates Hire Newcastle 500.