2011 International V8 Supercars Championship
|2011 V8 Supercars season|
The 2011 International V8 Supercar Championship was an FIA sanctioned international motor racing series for V8 Supercars. It is the thirteenth V8 Supercar Championship Series and the fifteenth series in which V8 Supercars contested the premier Australian touring car title. It was the first since the series was elevated to the 'International category' status by the FIA. The championship began on 10 February in the Middle East at Abu Dhabi's Yas Marina Circuit and finished on 4 December at the Homebush Street Circuit. It was contested over 28 races at 15 events. These events were held in all states of Australia and in the Northern Territory as well as in the United Arab Emirates, and New Zealand. The 52nd Australian Touring Car Championship title was awarded to Jamie Whincup by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport.
Triple Eight Race Engineering Holden driver Jamie Whincup won the championship by 35 points over his team mate Craig Lowndes. The best placed Ford driver was Ford Performance Racing's Mark Winterbottom, 458 points behind Whincup. Stone Brothers Racing driver Shane Van Gisbergen finished in fourth, 38 points behind Winterbottom, with the Holden Racing Team's Garth Tander a further 98 points back in fifth.
Whincup won ten races during the course of the season, one shared with French driver Sébastien Bourdais at the Gold Coast. He finished on the podium in nine of the first eleven races, setting up a strong points lead. His team mate Lowndes chipped away at the lead, winning four races in a row in the middle of the season, one with Mark Skaife at Phillip Island, and briefly led the championship after the Bathurst 1000. Lowndes won his fifth race at the title decider in Sydney but this was not enough to take the crown away from Whincup. The other thirteen race wins were shared between eight other drivers. Reigning champion James Courtney won the second race of the year in Abu Dhabi while his team mate Tander won three races, including one race at the Clipsal 500 and the Bathurst 1000 with Nick Percat. Rick Kelly also won three races, taking his first race win since 2008 and the first for Kelly Racing at the Hamilton 400. Van Gisbergen won the first race of his career at the Hamilton 400 before scoring his second at Hidden Valley. Brad Jones Racing were another team to win their first championship race, with Jason Bright taking his first win since 2006 at Barbagallo and backing it up with another win at Winton. Winterbottom took his first win in just under a year at the Gold Coast, winning the Sunday race with British driver Richard Lyons, before winning the final race of the season in Sydney.
Teams and drivers
The following teams and drivers have been confirmed for the 2011 series.
- ^ – Dan Wheldon was originally scheduled to drive alongside James Courtney at the Gold Coast 600, but was killed in an accident at the 2011 IZOD IndyCar World Championship one week before the race.
- ^ – Tony D'Alberto was forced to sit out the L&H 500 after being diagnosed with chicken pox. Taz Douglas replaced him for the event.
- ^ – Will Power was due to take part in the Gold Coast 600, but was forced to withdraw after sustaining a back injury at the IZOD IndyCar World Championship.
- ^ – Jason Bright was injured and unable to take part in Race 24 at Symmons Plains. Cameron McConville replaced him for the race. Bright later withdrew from the next race at Sandown, where he was replaced by his endurance co-driver Andrew Jones.
- ^ – Tony Kanaan decided not to participate in the Gold Coast 600 following the death of Dan Wheldon.
Team and driver changes
Walkinshaw Racing downsized to a single-car team, with the #10 Racing Entitlement Contract initially placed for sale, but was subsequently purchased by organising body V8 Supercar Australia to achieve their long-held ambition to reduce the grid to twenty-eight cars.
2010 Walkinshaw Performance endurance co-driver David Reynolds joined Kelly Racing in the #16 Commodore, replacing Tony Ricciardello. Greg Murphy also joined Kelly Racing, replacing the outgoing Jason Bargwanna.
After a long-running dispute over the ownership of Dick Johnson Racing, co-owner Charlie Schwerkolt sold his stake in the team and left with the #18 Racing Entitlement Contract, but has leased it back to Dick Johnson Racing for the purposes of running two cars in 2011. James Moffat was later announced as the driver for Car #18.
Brad Jones Racing was the last team to confirm its driver line-up, with Jason Bargwanna joining the team while Jason Richards was undergoing treatment with Adreno Cortical Carcinoma during the season. Richards died in December 2011.
Only two endurance race wild cards were approved for in 2011. Fujitsu Series team Miles Racing applied for one to run Ashley Walsh and Chaz Mostert but the team later elected not to utilise it. Kelly Racing entered a fifth car under the Banner of Shannons Mars Racing in which the winner of the Shannons Supercar Showdown television show competition would co-drive with the shows narrator and experienced driver Grant Denyer. At the shows conlcusion a week prior to the Bathurst 1000, leading Formula Ford driver Cameron Waters was announced the winner.
The following events make up the 2011 series. The event at Barbagallo Raceway was reinstated with the Western Australian Government providing $5 million to redevelop the circuit. The Desert 400 was scrapped with V8 Supercars stating that the decision not to hold the event was because the circuit's international racing calendar was too full for an early season date.
Points are awarded to the driver or drivers of a car that completes 75% of the race distance and is running at the completion of the final lap. The different points scales adapt to each event, having one, two or three races, making sure that a driver gets 300 points if they win all races of the event.
Std. denotes all races except the Trading Post Perth Challenge, Coates Hire Ipswich 300, L&H 500, and the Bathurst 1000. These four events have unique rules.
Trading Post Perth Challenge: This event consisted of three races. The total points were divided between each race evenly.
Coates Hire Ipswich 300: This event consisted of three races. Due to their short length, Races 16 and 17 only awarded half the points of a usual race. Race 18 used the standard points system.
L&H 500: The Phillip Island event was split into two qualifying races and a 500-kilometre feature race. The two drivers per team were grouped into separate qualifying races that counted towards drivers' individual point totals and towards the starting grid for the feature race. The two drivers then shared one car for the 500-kilometre endurance race.
Bathurst: Two drivers shared one car for the race.
Bold - Pole position
Bold - Pole position
- (s) denotes a single-car team.
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