• PAYCE Head Office, Sydney NSW.

New Champions Crowned at Newcastle in 2018

An Excitement Filled Meeting Delivers a New Champion to Close the 2018 Season – Brian Boyd.

PAYCE Managing Director, Brian Boyd said the Newcastle 500 meeting was expected to produce exciting racing as the season finale, with a number of championships going down to the wire.

Newcastle 500 Championship Came Down to the very Last Race – Brian Boyd

"Two days of racing delivered just that, with plenty of drama included," Brian said.

"The windy conditions over Friday and Saturday were unsettling for all teams, but Sunday's weather was near perfect and took at least one potential issue out of the equation, allowing teams to focus on settings and pit strategies.

"Congratulations to Scott McLaughlin for securing the Supercars Drivers Championship after what can only be described as a stellar year," Brian said.

"As was the case last year, it came down to the very last race – the 31st of the season.

Fans were Thrilled to see Garth Tander Qualify for the Top Ten Shootout - Brian Boyd

"The Wilson Security Racing GRM team has had an ordinary year in Supercars and their loyal fans were thrilled to see Garth Tander qualify for the Top Ten Shootout on Sunday and then jump up six positions in the shootout to sit on the second row of the grid for the race.

"Garry Rogers and the GRM team also picked up their maiden win in a major championship, with Chris Pither continuing his good form through the season to be crowned Super2 Series Champion for 2018.

"In the Paynter Dixon Touring Car Masters final round, Team PAYCE driver John Bowe was determined to push points leader, Steven Johnson, to the limit over the last three championship races," Brian Boyd commented.

"Despite JB's win plus two second placings, reigning champion, Johnson amassed sufficient points once the worse three results were discarded to take back-to-back titles. JB was certainly not disgraced and once again finished the season as round winner and championship runner-up."

Brian Boyd congratulated all Team PAYCE members for contributing to some of the best racing in recent times in their respective categories throughout the season.

Virgin Australia Supercars - GRM Team was hoping to Finish the Season on a High - Brian Boyd

Brian said Friday's strong wind gusts had all teams guessing as the conditions were totally different to the inaugural meeting last year.

"The Wilson Security Racing GRM team was hoping to finish the season on a high with Garth's expertise on street circuits. Unfortunately, the two practice sessions on Friday and the one on Saturday had both Garth and James Golding well down the order.

"The two title contenders, Scott McLaughlin and Shane van Gisbergen, were on the pace straight away and it was evident that the championship fight would be close.

"Van Gisbergen won the first round, putting the #97 Commodore on pole for the Saturday race, with Scotty two spots back in third. Whincup got the best start and led off the front row, but surrendered the lead to van Gisbergen on lap 2 in order to maximise points for his teammate," Brian Boyd reported.

"As the race progressed, McLaughlin came off best in the pit stops and snatched the lead as Winterbottom took a drive-through, while van Gisbergen slipped back to seventh.

"With 18 laps remaining, fuel consumption became an issue for McLaughlin and he was instructed to conserve. Van Gisbergen on the other hand did not have a fuel issue as he had taken an extra pit stop and he started to gain on McLaughlin in the closing laps.

"On the last lap, van Gisbergen stormed past McLaughlin to take the chequered flag for what was to be a short-lived win.

"Amid his team's celebrations, they learnt there had been a breach of pit rules and the #97 car was not off the air jacks and on the ground before the fuel hose was completed.

"Sunday morning and the final ruling was a 25 second penalty that took van Gisbergen down the order to fifth, effectively widening the points gap and giving McLaughlin a bit more breathing space," Brian recapped.

"In the GRM camp, they had to settle with James Golding's 20th place and Garth Tander's 22nd place."

Garth Tander put in a Quick Time to Cecure a 4th Place on the Grid on Sunday - Brian Boyd

Brian said Sunday was straight into qualifying and again the top contenders were at or near the top. McLaughlin finished on top of the times, with van Gisgergen close behind.

"Garth Tander put in a quick time that got him into the Top Ten Shootout and he later proceeded to convert a 10th place on the grid to a 4th place when only three drivers could better his time in the shootout, one being Reynolds who claimed pole.

"Sunday's race got away without incident and Reynolds soon established a comfortable lead until McLaughlin took over after the first pit stop with an undercut," Brian said.

"From there McLaughlin effectively led till the last lap when he was instructed to conserve fuel and the fast-charging Reynolds swept past to take the chequered flag.

"In the GRM camp, they were pleased to have Garth bring the #33 car home in 8th place after some intense battles. James Golding struck a number of problems that required several unscheduled pit stops and he finished 23rd.

"Congratulations to Scotty on a well-deserved title after performing strongly through the year and dealing positively with the pressure from many quarters," Brian Boyd finished.

Go Team PAYCE!