Will Davison will win Supercars races in 2021.
Chaz Mostert is near-certain to add to his victory total.
It’s the same for Scott Pye and Nick Percat.
But, looking at the 24-strong driver line-up ahead of the Mount Panorama 500 that will open this year’s championship, there are four drivers who are most likely to battle for the championship through another torrid and unpredictable season.
And there is also David Reynolds.
Why pick ‘Crazy Dave’ alongside the contenders for the title? Became he, more than almost anyone, must make a success of this year’s campaign after a miserable 2020 season that saw him slump from a serious front-runner into a troubled and dispirited mid-fielder.
Reynolds has picked up the pieces from a shattered and shattering season at Erebus and now he has to prove to everyone – but mostly himself – that he can still do it. He has plenty of the right pieces to do the job in 2021, from his newly-arrived baby son to the stabilising return of Luke Youlden as his Bathurst co-driver, as well as a Ford Mustang from Kelly Grove Racing and a tough team-mate – Andre Heimgartner – to drive him forward.
There is a question mark over Reynolds, but the biggest question mark is over the likely title fighters in 2021.
Here, then, are the Race News picks for the front-line four with the best packages and the strongest claims:
- Shane van Gisbergen
The Giz should win. He has been the toughest challenger to Scott McLaughlin in recent years and, despite some inconsistencies last year, is a racers’ racer with incredible speed and a unique ability to read the on-track situation. His pass on McLaughlin at Townsville last year, when he also cleared the way for Jamie Whincup to follow him through, was masterful. He will set a tough benchmark this year and anyone who can beat him over the season will deserve the crown.
- Cam Waters
Waters has flown under the radar in recent years, and keeps himself to himself, but popped up last year with enough speed and consistency to finish the season in second place. His team boss Tim Edwards said he is “burning” for this year’s title and he kept fresh with summer sprintcar racing that proved he has a racer’s heart and an appetite for tough racing. He needs to erupt out of the blocks and so starting the championship at Bathurst, where he won last year, gives him a great chance to fight from the front.
- Anton de Pasquale
The early focus at the re-born Dick Johnson Racing squad has been on the proven strengths of Davison, but it’s de Pasquale – nickname ’Stan’ – who has more potential for the coming year, as well as the ones that will follow. After serving his time at Erebus and contributing to Reynolds’ decline in 2020, he now has everything he needs to get the job done in Supercars. He is talented and focussed and was hard on the gas from the first pre-season lap in his new Shell Mustang. He will be the break-out star this year and could easily become the champion.
- Jamie Whincup
Just like his hero, tennis legend Roger Federer, Whincup continually finds ways to re-invent himself and renew his ability to run at the front. In his last full-time season in the main game, J-Dub has a point to prove as a driver before he becomes a team boss. “That’s what we’re here for,” he said at the season launch. He might not have the ultimate speed of his early years, but he is rock solid, reliable and consistent over a long campaign. Whincup already has seven titles and nothing to prove, but people have bet against him in the past and lost, big. He has the enthusiasm of a rookie and cannot be discounted.