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2014 V8 Supercars - Driver/Team Changes

2013 was a thrilling year for the V8 Supercars, and while Holden’s Jamie Whincup once again took the title, there were signs that other teams, manufacturers and younger drivers are gearing up to bring Whincup’s reign of titles to an end. Will 2014 be that year?

Here will be your guide to every team and driver roster update for season 2014. Only drivers confirmed for 2014 are listed.

Triple 8 Race Engineering (Red Bull Racing):
Jamie Whincup #1/Craig Lowndes #888

Of course Whincup and Lowndes will be back once again to throw down the gauntlet. One notable change will be behind the scenes, as team principal Adrian Burgess has defected to Holden Racing Team. It is clear Burgess was held in high esteem at RBR – and no wonder. Wherever Burgess has been in recent years, success has followed. How significant a loss will he be?

Holden Racing Team:
Garth Tander #2/James Courtney #22

In recent seasons Holden’s factory team has been trailing the likes of 888 badly. There were signs of recovery in 2013 however, as veteran Tander lead home a 1-2 victory at Townsville and also won at Phillip Island; 2010 champ Courtney also grabbed a much-needed win at Winton. And as already mentioned, Adrian Burgess arriving from 888 could prove to be the shot in the arm the team needs. There’s only so long a giant like HRT can stay in the doldrums – don’t expect a return to the late 90s heyday just yet, when Mark Skaife was consistently laying the smack down on the field, but watch for them to start threatening the top order again on a more consistent basis in 2014.

James Rosenberg Racing (HRT Sub-Team):
Nick Percat #47

The #47 struggled in 2013 with Tim Slade desperately trying to get some pace out of the below-par Erebus Mercedes. With Slade moving to another HRT subsidiary, Rosenberg also jumped ship and came under the HRT banner, with hotshot HRT development driver Nick Percat taking the seat for 2014.

Walkinshaw Racing (HRT Sub-Team):
Tim Slade #66

‘The Enforcer’ Russell Ingall retired at season’s end, and it’s a tough ask for anyone to fill the shoes of the grizzled veteran. Slade will aim to do that, and look to get his career back on track after a tricky 2013, having finished 5th in points in 2012.

Ford Performance Racing:
Mark Winterbottom #5/Chaz Mostert #6

Even if they failed once again to dethrone Whincup, it was still a strong year for FPR -  ‘Frosty’s victory at the Bathurst 1000 obviously the highlight. Development driver Chaz Mostert will step up alongside him in 2014, replacing Will Davison. A deal this year saw Mostert drive for Dick Johnson Racing, and boy did it pay dividends. Mostert impressed, taking a debut victory at Queensland Raceway. He definitely has the capability to impress next year in one of the best teams on the grid, and with the calm head of Frosty alongside he should have no problems slotting in to the big time. The question remains though – can FPR put together a strong enough campaign across a whole season to defeat 888? So far they have been close, but not close enough.

Charlie Schwerkolt Racing (FPR Sub-Team):
Jack Perkins #18

Alex Davison did a solid job for Schwerkolt but no more. So ever the gambler, Schwerkolt is throwing in youngster Jack Perkins (son of the legend Larry) for his first full-time ride in V8s since 2009. Medical problems and poor rides have prevented Perkins Jr from really making his mark on the series thus far, making potential 2014 form hard to predict.

Rod Nash Racing (FPR Sub-Team):
David Reynolds #55

Reynolds backed up a solid breakthrough year in 2012 with another top-10 points finish in 2013, including his first race victory at Surfers’ Paradise. He’s a growing talent and will continue to develop in 2014 – watch for him to be a dark horse for more wins.

Tekno Autosports:
#97 Shane Van Gisbergen

Fan favourite ‘SVG’ elected to walk away from the sport he had become disenfranchised with at the end of 2012 – until Tekno offered him a ride in a Triple 8-prepared Commodore. Cue the fastest U-turn in history and many furious Ford fans. But the move paid off, and ‘The Giz’ took stunning wins at Adelaide and Sydney. There are mutterings that 2014 could be the year that Tekno spring a championship surprise, and with equipment from the best team on the grid and the most exciting young talent around behind the wheel, the optimism is well-founded. And the team downsizing to just one car may well be a blessing in disguise, although it does mean team stalwart Jonathan Webb is out in the cold for now.

Brad Jones Racing:
Jason Bright #8/Fabian Coulthard #14

BJR started the season at a monster pace, with Bright nabbing 2 wins and Coulthard 3 in the first five rounds. They couldn’t keep up the pace, but still season 2013 was a strong one for BJR. The only confirmed change is David Wall departing the #21; otherwise, the core stars Coulthard and Bright will be returning, and have been boisterous in recent interviews about their chances of title success in 2014. Certainly they feel they can build on their 6th and 7th-place points finishes respectively. They certainly have the drivers to keep pace with 888 – whether they have the R&D resources and car equipment is another question.

Nissan Motorsport:
Rick Kelly #7/Todd Kelly #15 & Michael Caruso #36/James Moffat #360

Slow and steady was the name of the game for Nissan in their first V8 season. The Kelly brothers led from the front in development, and were rewarded with gradually improving results – a brilliant victory for Moffat at Winton the obvious highlight. A stable driver lineup and renewed aerodynamics development in the off-season means the Nissan juggernaut is only growing stronger by the day. Their time will come – not sure if it’ll be in 2014, though.

Photo: Speedcafe.com

Volvo Polestar Racing (previously Garry Rogers Motorsport):
Scott McLaughlin #33

Volvo are throwing the kitchen sink at their V8 entry, with the elite Polestar Racing squad developing the S60 cars. And in partnering with Garry Rogers Motorsport they have chosen a strong team which consistently unearths young talent, demonstrated again in 2013 with young Kiwi McLaughlin taking 2 wins in his debut season. Frenchman Alex Premat hasn’t fared so well, and his seat is in doubt for 2014. The rumor is Polestar fancy bringing in one of their big guns, suspected to be Robert Dahlgren; although Rickard Rydell is an outside bet. Either way, don’t expect wins right off the bat, but I have a sneaky feeling the Swedish machines will be mixing it at the sharp end sooner rather than later.

Erebus Motorsport:
Lee Holdsworth #4

In 2012, Stone Brothers Racing were nipping at the heels of the top guns. Then they jumped ship to AMG Mercedes in a customer program with Erebus Racing and paid the price for a lack of support from the factory. Results went south, star driver Shane Van Gisbergen jumped ship, and his German replacement Maro Engel had a stinking season in an underpowered under-developed C63. Holdsworth’s valiant efforts in a trying season (a 4th at Sandown his best result) have been rewarded and he will stay on: his teammate is unclear for now, as Engel returns to familiar territory in GT racing, whilst Slade and Rosenberg Racing (Car #47) both move to HRT. There are mutterings that it could be outgoing FPR stalwart Will Davison, and as much as that would be a massive coup for the team, it isn’t the drivers that are the problem – it’s the car. And without full manufacturer support, it remains to be seen how much improvements can be made over the off-season.

Dick Johnson Racing:
Scott Pye #16/David Wall #17

By December 2012 DJR was facing the threat of extinction. That they survived season 2013 was largely down to a sponsorship deal from Wilson Security and a development deal from FPR. Both paid off well, with rookie Mostert taking a brilliant win. Another youngster Scott Pye fills his shoes – he will be hoping for better after a difficult debut year where he became more famous for his spectacular crashes than any results. Fellow sophomore David Wall comes onboard in a deal that ensures Wilson Security will continue as a sponsor, forming a young and potentially exciting partnership geared towards future success. So 2014 will be about rebuilding – and with ex-FPR principal Campbell Little on board and continued support from FPR, the climb back up the standings begins here.

Tony D’Alberto Racing is rumoured to be in negotiations to come under another team’s banner, whilst there has been no news yet regarding Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport – who having seen both drivers depart are currently with no confirmed drivers for 2014, but are promising ‘announcements in the coming weeks’. NASCAR giants Penske Racing are rumored to be investigating a potential V8 entry for Ford, after head of motorsport Tim Cindric was present at the Sydney 500.

All information is correct at time of going to publication.

Tags: Beyond The Flag Charlie Schwerkolt Racing Chaz Mostert Craig Lowndes David Reynolds Dick Johnson Racing Erebus Racing Ford Garth Tander Holden Jack Perkins James Courtney James Moffat Jamie Whincup Mark Winterbottom Michael Caruso Nissan Motorsport Penske Racing Rick Kelly Rod Nash Racing Scott McLaughlin Shane Van Gisbergen Tekno Autosports Tim Slade Todd Kelly V8 Supercars Volvo Polestar Racing

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