27 Nov 2018
2018 has ended with Scott McLaughlin redeeming the horror finish to last year’s championship by clinching the title in Newcastle last weekend.
It was an eventful final round – including issues in the pits and an overnight penalty to title rival Shane Van Gisbergen – that ultimately resulted in McLaughlin taking out the 2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship title with 3944 points.
Only his sixth season in the championship, McLaughlin credited the positive influence of former bosses Ross and Jim Stone, and Garry Rogers, as well as current Shell V-Power Racing Team principals Dick Johnson and Roger Penske to get him his maiden title.
“I’m so relieved!” said McLaughlin
“Last year was just a massive kick in the guts, and I feel like we built all year to come back and turn that negative into a positive.
“I’m so proud to get this done for everyone at Shell V-Power Racing. It means everything.
“There are some amazing names on this trophy, and to have my name on that trophy is incredible. Taking DJR Team Penske’s first Supercars Championship is a surreal moment.”
McLaughlin only just pipped Red Bull Holden Racing Team’s Van Gisbergen to the title, after a steward’s decision overnight on the #97 Commodore’s refuelling procedure resulted in McLaughlin narrowly taking the Day 1 win.
Before that, McLaughlin had run low on fuel and was forced to surrender first place to his fellow New Zealander on the final lap to make the line.
"It was a tough one, I obviously got the news of the penalty this morning and everyone was so dejected by it and we couldn’t get going,” said Van Gisbergen.
The narrow defeat comes at the end of an overall successful season, starting with Van Gisbergen winning the opening round in Adelaide.
The final round in Newcastle also marked the last full-time start for Supercars legend and fan favourite Craig Lowndes. It was an emotional occasion not only for the Supercars community, but for Lowndes himself.
“For me, at the moment, it's a little bit... a bit numb, to be honest, knowing that I'm not getting into a car until October next year. It's a bit different” he told Supercars.
While Scott McLaughlin may have had his moment of glory, it was Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds who took top spot for the Coates Hire Newcastle 500, which was closely followed by being awared the Barry Sheene Medal at Supercars’ best and fairest for the second year in a row.
During his acceptance speech, Dave thanked the media and fans for their ongoing support for both him and team Erebus.
“This year has been exceptionally good for us at Erebus. When I first joined the team we were 16th and last year we were seventh or eighth and this year fifth. Our stocks are going up, it’s going good” he said during his speech on stage.
The high-speed 2018 championship has set the scene for the start of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, which kicks off with the Superloop Adelaide 500 from February 28 – March 3.
2018 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship Results
- Scott McLaughlin – 3944 pts
- Shane Van Gisbergen – 3873 pts
- Jamie Whincup – 3433 pts
- Craig Lowndes – 3255 pts
- David Reynolds – 3208 pts
- Chaz Mostert – 2807 pts
- Scott Pye – 2608 pts
- Rick Kelly – 2515 pts
- Fabian Coulthard – 2477 pts
- Nick Percat – 2290 pts