CAMPBELLFIELD, Victoria, Australia – Welcome back to Race Chaser Online’s 2017 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship season previews! More Fords on tap today with a look at half of the Prodrive Racing Australia drivers.
Prodrive Racing Australia
No. 55 – Chaz Mostert, Supercheap Auto Ford Falcon FGX (REC with Rod Nash Racing)
No. 56 – Jason Bright, MEGA Bulk Fuels Ford Falcon FGX (REC with Britek Motorsport)
2016 DRIVERS POINTS FINISH: Chaz Mostert – 7th, Jason Bright – 17th
2016 HIGHEST RACE FINISH: Chaz’ five third-place finishes across the course of the season
In the REC half of Prodrive Racing Australia, it was Chaz Mostert that ruled the roost in 2016.
It was a strategic move by PRA to move Mostert over to the No. 55 for the 2016 season more than anything, as the team wanted to avoid the problem of double-stacking Mostert and Mark Winterbottom in the pits during races. When David Reynolds left at the end of 2015 for Erebus Motorsport, it opened up the seat for PRA to slide Mostert over.
In his first season behind the wheel of the No. 55, Mostert started off well (with a podium at Adelaide), fell off a bit until the end of the Australian fall, came on strong in the winter months (with podiums at all of Darwin, Queensland Raceway, and Sydney Motorsport Park) and held steady in the spring (with another podium at Pukekohe) to end the season.
Last season, Mostert was paired by the No. 111 of Super Black Racing in the pit boom. However, with the sudden passing of team owner Tony Lentino in the middle of the season, Super Black Racing fell apart and sold off their REC.
For 2017, Mostert will be joined by Supercars stalwart Jason Bright. Bright brings the REC that he owns through Britek Motorsport over to the team and will compete in his own car for the first time since 2009.
If ever there were a textbook case of “man in desperate need of a change in scenery” within Supercars, Jason Bright in 2016 was that example.
By his standards, it was not a good season. He finished entirely off the podium for the first time since 2008 and posted his worst average start and finish numbers since 2008 as well.
It wasn’t really a matter of bad luck – Bright only recorded four DNFs and one DNS all season – but more of a general stasis. Even on television, Bright looked like a driver who had become tired of seeing the same scenery and needed to shake things up and do something new to revitalize his career. Hence the move to Prodrive, where he once ran in 2005.
For him, all of the “fresh new start” clichés apply here. With new sponsor MEGA Bulk Fuels, Bright should be energized to surprise people and return to the form of 2013, when he won twice and finished on the podium eight times.
As for Mostert, the fact that he didn’t win a race all season for the first time in his career won’t sit well with him. Supercheap Auto has returned to the No. 55 in a move that has brought more sponsorship money to that car than it has seen in its Supercars career, and Mostert would love nothing more than to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Supercheap Auto’s involvement in Supercars by winning a few races – including the Bathurst 1000, which Supercheap Auto is the naming rights sponsor to and which Mostert has won once before.
For more information on Prodrive Racing Australia, visit www.prodriveracing.com.au
For more information on the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, visit www.supercars.com.
About the Writer
James Pike is a multi-faceted reporter for Race Chaser Online and an analyst on the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
He is the lead correspondent for Race Chaser Online’s coverage of Australian Supercars and also covers regional touring series events in the Carolinas. He is a graduate of the Motorsports Management program at Belmont Abbey College and currently resides in Winston-Salem, N.C.
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