Penske Racing

2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Season Review

January 6, 2020

The 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season was a record-breaking year for DJR Team Penske with the Shell V-Power Ford team winning both the team and driver championships – along with the biggest race on the series calendar.

DJR Team Penske worked with Ford to develop the new Mustang for its Supercars chassis and 2019 saw the debut of the new Mustang on the grid after 17 years of the Ford Falcon being used in series competition.

The new car certainly meshed well with the Shell V-Power team as both the No. 12 and No. 17 Ford Mustangs generated a remarkable 20 wins in 2019, breaking the series record for most in a season. DJR Team Penske also secured its second team title in three seasons while driver Scott McLaughlin claimed his second consecutive driver’s championship. McLaughlin also shattered the record for most wins in a season with 18 – eclipsing the previous record of 16 set by Craig Lowndes in 1996 – and he eclipsed the Team Penske mark held by Mark Donohue for most race wins in a championship season.

The team and the new car got the 2019 Supercars season off to a strong start as driver Fabian Coulthard won the pole in the No. 12 Ford Mustang at the season-opening race in Adelaide before McLaughlin captured his first win of the season.  The next day, McLaughlin set the tone for the season and completed the sweep in the No. 17 Ford Mustang at Adelaide winning the second race of the weekend from the pole position. 

Wins and podiums continued for the team when the series moved to Melbourne as McLaughlin led Coulthard to a 1-2 start and finish in the third race of the season.  McLaughlin captured the pole and win in Race 4 and he won the pole for Race 5 but was unable to start the race after a bizarre incident heading to the grid caused too much damage for the team to repair.  The No. 17 team bounced back for the final race of the Melbourne weekend as McLaughlin started second and claimed the victory to make it five victories in the first six races of the season.

As the series moved to Tasmania, the DJR Team Penske Mustangs experienced more success.  McLaughlin won the opening race of the weekend before finishing fourth the following day. Coulthard produced second-place finishes in the No. 12 Shell V-Power Mustang in both races as he moved up to second in the series championship standings behind his teammate.

Coulthard continued his momentum when the series visited Phillip Island for Rounds 9 and 10 of the championship. McLaughlin won the opening race of the weekend while Coulthard came home second and the next day the two DJR Team Penske drivers swapped finishing positions. Coulthard earned his first victory of the year while McLaughlin finished second to lead another winning weekend for the team.

In the first of two PIRTEK Perth SuperNight races, McLaughlin started from the pole but Coulthard passed his teammate and produced his second consecutive race win. McLaughlin then closed the weekend with a win in Perth to further cement his standing at the top of the series standings.

Winton hosted Rounds 13 and 14 and McLaughlin continued his winning ways, sweeping both races, while Coulthard recovered from a tough opening race to finish second behind his teammate in final event of the weekend.

McLaughlin completed another clean sweep of the weekend at Darwin as he and the No. 17 Shell V-Power Mustang team won both poles and both races to complete a dominant first half of the 2019 season. Coulthard finished the first half of the year with a third-place finish in the final race of the weekend as the DJR Team Penske drivers were positioned 1-2 in the championship standings with 14 wins in 16 races.

McLaughlin claimed his 13th win of the season in the opener at Townsville while Coulthard posted two top-five results – including a runner-up finish in the final race of the weekend.  At Ipswich, McLaughlin won the pole for both races in the No. 17 Ford Mustang and he secured his 14th win of the year in the second race of the weekend.

At the next series stop, McLaughlin made it three wins in a row as he swept both races at Tailem Bend. While he finished just off the podium in fourth place in the opening race at Pukekohe, McLaughlin returned to Victory Lane to close the weekend as he produced win No. 17 for the No. 17 Ford Mustang team.

The legendary Bathurst 1000 marked the 25th race of the 2019 season and if offered a new opportunity to shine for the DJR Team Penske team. Looking for his first win in the historic 1000-kilometer endurance race at the Mount Panorama circuit, McLaughlin was teamed with co-driver Alexandre Prémat in the No. 17 Ford, while Coulthard was paired with Tony D’Alberto.  McLaughlin won his second Bathurst pole and then he and Prémat claimed an historic victory – the first for Team Penske after joining forces with the legendary Dick Johnson Racing team in 2015.

With the Bathurst triumph in hand, the Shell V-Power team focused on maximizing its championship opportunities to close out the special season. McLaughlin clinched the driver’s title at the second-to-last event of the year in Melbourne before both McLaughlin and Coulthard produced podium results at Newscastle as DJR Team Penske secured the prestigious team championship for the second time in three seasons.

"We came here with a goal and that was to wrap up the teams' championship," said Coulthard, after the season finale. "Our results over the weekend have done enough to do that. Our boys at Shell V-Power racing did an unbelievable job and gave us both great cars, so it's a credit to them."

For the season, Coulthard and the No. 12 Shell V-Power team earned two wins and 11 podium finishes while claiming fourth in the series championship standings.

"I'm so glad to finally be able to celebrate with my team. We won the teams’ championship too, that's bloody awesome,” said McLaughlin, looking back on the memorable 2019 season that included 15 poles and 22 podium finishes to go along with the record 18 race victories. “I think anytime an organization can take 20 wins is pretty impressive. I couldn't be prouder to be with this team."

After a season for the record books in 2019, DJR Team Penske looks forward to defending its championships and vying for another Bathurst 1000 win with both McLaughlin and Coulthard returning to the team in 2020.

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