Motor Sports - V8 Supercars - June 29, 2020

Ford Performance Mustang Supercar Wins BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint

The Ford Performance Mustang Supercar has won the highly anticipated BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint at Sydney Motorsport Park as the Supercars series returned to on-track competition for the first time in more than three months. Following victory at the season-opening Superloop Adelaide 500 in February, the Ford Performance Mustang of Shell V-Power Racing’s Scott McLaughlin recorded two pole positions, two victories and a third place, extending his championship lead to 49 points after two rounds.

Tickford Racing’s Lee Holdsworth followed McLaughlin home in the final of the weekend’s three races to make it a Ford Mustang one-two finish, with a revised format for the weekend shaking up the field as the series returned to racing for the first time since the cancelled Beaurepaires 400, which was part of the Australian Grand Prix in March. The eagerly awaited return to racing was conducted under strict conditions, with spectators not permitted, limited numbers of team personnel and event format changes that provided a fresh challenge for the teams, and delivered highly combative, exciting racing.

“What a great way to get back to racing the Mustang Supercar,” said Kay Hart, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand. “We saw some brilliant performances as the drivers and teams adapted to the new format, and to see Mustang win two of the three races was just fantastic.”

The BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint hosted Races 7, 8 and 9 of the 2020 season, with the  three races held over two days. In addition, all three were shorter 32-lap contests with a single compulsory pit-stop for tyres, with the usual refuelling banned. Typically, the series hosts longer races, however the new format was designed to adapt to the lower number of team personnel in the current COVID-19 affected conditions.

Reigning champion Scott McLaughlin drove the number 17 Shell V-Power Racing Mustang to victory in Saturdays Race 7, after scoring Armor All Pole Position. Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters (sixth), Lee Holdsworth (seventh) and Fabian Coulthard (tenth) made it four Mustangs in the Top Ten, with debutant James Courtney twelfth. Rick Kelly and Andre Heimgartner finished Race 7 in 14th and 15th respectively.

Sunday saw Races 8 and 9 completed, with the format’s reduced number of tyres allocated to each driver bringing a heightened element of strategy to both races. Qualifying for Race 8 saw McLaughlin the fastest Mustang in third, shadowed by Shell V-Power Racing teammate Fabian Coulthard in fourth and Tickford Racing’s Cameron Waters lining up in fifth.

Tickford’s Jack LeBrocq and Kelly Racing’s Andre Heimgartner lined up ninth and tenth, with Heimgartner holding onto tenth in the NED Racing Mustang for the Race 8 finish. While Le Brocq dropped to 14th, Tickford teammate James Courtney posted his first Top Ten finish in ninth, with Waters coming home sixth after an enthralling battle with McLaughlin, who finished third from third on the grid after an eventful race.

Race 9 saw McLaughlin start from Pole Position once again, with strategy expected to play a significant role. While McLaughlin posted victory, a fast-finishing Lee Holdsworth made the most of the new format, maximising his tyre choice to come home in second place behind championship leader McLaughlin. The result was Holdsworth’s best result in a Tickford Ford Mustang Supercar to date.

Ford Performance Mustang Supercar Results – BP Ultimate Sydney SuperSprint

Shell V-Power Racing Team
Saturday
Qualifying
– P1 Scott McLaughlin #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang
– P10 Fabian Coulthard #12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang

Race 7
– P1 Scott McLaughlin #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang
– P10 Fabian Coulthard #12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang

Sunday
Qualifying Race 8
– P3 Scott McLaughlin #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang
– P4 Fabian Coulthard #12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang

Race 8
– P3 Scott McLaughlin #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang
– P15 Fabian Coulthard #12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang

Qualifying Race 9
– P1 Scott McLaughlin #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang
– P7 Fabian Coulthard #12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang

Race 9
– P1 Scott McLaughlin #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang
– DNF Fabian Coulthard #12 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang

“What an interesting weekend and a great way to return to racing with three sort, sharp shiny races. We were really happy to get back to our winning ways. It was fantastic to have a couple of wins with Scott in car 17, although it was a tough way to finish Sunday afternoon for Fabian in car 12 with a crown-wheel failure. It was a really exciting way to get back to racing, though, and we’re really looking forward to Winton in a few weeks’ time.” – Dr Ryan Story, Team Principal and co-owner, Shell V-Power Racing Team.

Tickford Racing
Saturday
Qualifying Race 7
– P3 Cam Waters #6 Monster Energy Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P7 Lee Holdsworth #5 Truck Assist Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P17 Jack LeBrocq #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P21 James Courtney #44 Boost Mobile Tickford Racing Ford Mustang

Race 7
– P6 Cam Waters #6 Monster Energy Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P7 Lee Holdsworth #5 Truck Assist Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P12 James Courtney #44 Boost Mobile Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P19 Jack LeBrocq #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Ford Mustang

Sunday
Qualifying Race 8
– P5 Cam Waters #6 Monster Energy Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P8 Jack LeBrocq #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P13 Lee Holdsworth #5 Truck Assist Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P15 James Courtney #44 Boost Mobile Tickford Racing Ford Mustang

Race 8
– P6 Cam Waters #6 Monster Energy Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P9 James Courtney #44 Boost Mobile Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P13 Lee Holdsworth #5 Truck Assist Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P14 Jack LeBrocq #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Ford Mustang

Qualifying Race 9
– P4 Lee Holdsworth #5 Truck Assist Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P6 Cam Waters #6 Monster Energy Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P12 Jack LeBrocq #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P18 James Courtney #44 Boost Mobile Tickford Racing Ford Mustang

Race 9
– P2 Lee Holdsworth #5 Truck Assist Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P11 Jack LeBrocq #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P13 Cam Waters #6 Monster Energy Tickford Racing Ford Mustang
– P14 James Courtney #44 Boost Mobile Tickford Racing Ford Mustang

“You couldn’t have asked for a better event from a spectator’s point of view. We were really keen to mix up the format, and by forcing us try to different things, we ended up with great racing, which is the most important thing.

As a team, we would’ve liked to have an even better result. James [Courtney] is learning the Mustang, and Jack [LeBrocq] is, too – remember, this was only Jack’s second race in the Mustang. Cam [Waters] and Lee [Holdsworth] showed the true pace of our cars.

You have to have good and bad races when the tyre strategy is like this. Lee and his engineer purposely aimed to have a good race for Sunday afternoon, and ultimately there were others on a similar strategy, but Lee was the last car to pit – there was that element – and it took courage to hang out, as you know that you’ll have to fight back. Lee and his engineer stuck to their guns, though, and they were able execute really well and charge through. Others tried, but didn’t pull it off as successfully.” – Tim Edwards, Team Principal, Tickford Racing

Kelly Racing
Saturday
Qualifying Race 7
– P15 Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
– P16 Andre Heimgartner #7 NED Racing Ford Mustang

Race 7
– P14 Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang
– P15 Andre Heimgartner #7 NED Racing Ford Mustang

Sunday
Qualifying Race 8

– P9 Andre Heimgartner #7 NED Racing Ford Mustang
– P16 Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang

Race 8
– P10 Andre Heimgartner #7 NED Racing Ford Mustang
– P19 Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang

Sunday Qualifying Race 9
– P13 Andre Heimgartner #7 NED Racing Ford Mustang
– P17 Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang

Race 9
– P15 Andre Heimgartner #7 NED Racing Ford Mustang
– P17 Rick Kelly #15 Castrol Racing Ford Mustang

“It’s great to be back racing and to see the Ford Mustangs back on the race track. I really enjoyed the qualifying and race formats. They certainly kept us busy in pit lane, and with less crew than we would normally have it was pretty full-on, but it was great to see how our team adapted to it and every one of the eleven crew members played such an important role over the weekend.

We’re still chasing set up a lot more than we should be, but Sydney Motorsport Park is an extremely difficult place to set up a car with the tyre degradation. It really puts a magnifying glass over any issues with the car set-up, and Rick in particular really felt that. But the Mustang is still new to us, there’s clearly a lot more potential there, which we saw at times during this weekend with Andre [Heimgartner], but we just weren’t able to maximise it. With more time on track with the car we’ll get it sorted.” – Todd Kelly, Team Principal, Kelly Racing

With two rounds of the season completed, four Ford Mustang drivers are in the Top Ten overall in the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. Scott McLaughlin leads the 2020 Drivers’ Championship in the #17 Mustang, on 574 points, with Cameron Waters fourth overall on 411 points, while Lee Holdsworth’s strong result sees him sit sixth on 371 points for Tickford Racing. Andre Heimgartner is tenth overall in the NED Racing Ford Mustang for Kelly Racing.

The next round of the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will take place between 18-19 July with the Truck Assist Winton event at Winton Motor Raceway, in Benalla, Victoria.