If there’s one thing we love about sport in general, it’s facts and stats, and there’s no shortage of either ahead of this weekend’s Pitcher Partners Sydney 300 – the headline event of the 2021 Motor Racing Australia season, and leg 2 of the 2021 Australian 1000 Series.
While it’s slightly difficult to draw upon statistics when you’ve only staged one event, we’re very lucky that the history of these 300km races dates back to 2008.
Since then, when the popular format was devised and put into practice – with the running of the first Wakefield 300 – by the Australian Autosport Alliance (AASA), another five venues, all over the eastern seaboard, have tried their hand at hosting one of these races… some with more success than others.
While the rules and regulations have been slightly tweaked and amended along the way, the principals remain the same.
There’s no denying the popularity of these events, which have established themselves as the pinnacle of any grassroots motorsport season, and that’s highlighted by how well embraced and celebrated this edition of the Sydney 300 has been, before we even get to the big dance itself.
On Saturday, drivers from four different states, and the ACT, will contest a 300 like no other.
Race commentator Zak Caban, who’ll call his 13th ‘300’ this Saturday night, takes a look at some race facts and stats of interest, taking into account not just the Sydney incarnation of the event, but all the others as well.
- In the history of the 300km races, dating back to 2008, FIFTY drivers have claimed an outright victory. Nathan Jess (Wakefield 2009, Winton 2014 & 2016, Willowbank 2015) and Jake Shelly (Wakefield 2012, 2013 & 2015, Winton 2015) are the most successful drivers in 300 history, claiming four wins each.
– Nathan Jess’ success came with no less than THREE different co-drivers (Matthew Thompson, Jeff Davy and Ryan Reynolds).
– Adam and Craig Burgess are the most successful combination in event history – with three outright wins.
- Of the thirty-five 300’s contested, since 2008, only FOUR have been won from Pole Position. The only time the race was won from POLE by a non-outright (Division 1 or A) car, was the 2016 Lakeside 300, won by the Division 2 Targa Racing BMW Z3M entry, of Nick Leontsinis and Adam Dodd.
- This will be the 24th ‘300’ sanctioned by the Australian Autosport Alliance (AASA). RACERS have sanctioned 10 editions of the race, while the 2017 & 2018 Phillip Island 300’s were sanctioned by Motorsport Australia (formerly CAMS).
- Grid position #4 has produced more outright winners than any other starting position in 300 history, with the winners coming from the outside of the second row on EIGHT (8) occasions.
The inside of the second row has produced the winner on SIX (6) occasions, with grid positions 1, 2, 5 and 8 producing four race winners each.
- Not so lucky 7?
No one has won a 300 starting from grid position #7. The race has been won from 6th and 10th once, and 9th twice.
- Mitsubishi has never won a 300 outside of Goulburn… with back-to-back triumphs for Jake Shelly and Michael Shaw, in 2012 and 2013, plus victory for Trevan & John Spiteri, and Urs & Tom Muller in the Wakefield races of 2018 (the first and only time a venue has staged two separate 300 weekends in a calendar year), the Japanese Manufacturers only success in these endurance races.
- The 2019 Sydney 300 produced the most thrilling finish in history, with a change for the lead off the final corner.
Consequently, the inaugural Sydney race provided us with the second smallest winning margin ever (+0.6897), and the fastest 300 ever run in NSW (2:34:45.1004), with an average speed of 116.58km/h)
Only the 2018 Willowbank 300 boasts a smaller end margin between first and second (+0.2018).
- The most cars to finish on the lead lap is FOUR, and it’s only occurred three times in 300 history – the last time was here in 2019… before that, the 2017 Lakeside 300, and the rain soaked 2012 Wakefield 300* saw four cars finish on the lead lap.
*The 2012 Wakefield 300 went time-certain after 127 of the scheduled 137 laps.
- Mazda is the most successful manufacturer in 300 history – with SEVEN (7) wins, closely followed by BMW and the Future Racer* (6).
SEVEN of the NINE manufacturers that have won a 300 feature on the grid this weekend.
*After the 2016 Winton 300, the AASA deemed the Future Racer cars ineligible for future 300km events.
- With 44 entries, this is the biggest field to line up for a 300 since the 2016 Winton 300, which had 44 entries, and 42 cars starting the 100-lap race.
- Back in their prime, these events were over-subscribed. To accommodate that, the 2014 and 2015 Wakefield and Winton 300’s were held over two races each – the headline 300km affair for the top half of the field (Divisions 1-3), and a B-main, over approximately 280km, for the bottom half of the field (Divisions 4-7).
- These 300km races have been held in every month of the year, except January and December.
This will be the fifth ‘300’ to be run in the month of May – behind the 2014, 2015 and 2017 Willowbank 300’s, and the 2019 Wakefield 300.
Incidentally, Wakefield Park has staged the event in more months than any other venue – February, March, May, July and November.
- 13 different manufacturers on the grid is a Sydney 300 record – the previous best was 9, in 2019. 14 different manufacturers featured on the grid in the recent Wakefield 300, of which AUDI, PORSCHE, PROTON and RENAULT don’t feature here.
MERCEDES, KIA, and VOLKSWAGEN weren’t represented in the recent Wakefield 300, but the three brands feature in the Sydney 300 field.
– Hyundai and Ford were represented in the 2019 Sydney 300, but have no entries in 2021.
- Of the 86 Drivers lining up this Saturday Night, 43 – exactly 50% – contested February’s Wakefield 300, and 43 didn’t.
Of the two or three driver entries, FIFTEEN pairings are identical to the recent Wakefield 300, while a sixteenth pairing is now a trio, with Terry Johnson joining the team of Michael and Mitchell Hall.
SEVEN of Saturday’s driver pairings are exactly the same as the last Sydney 300 (2019).
28 drivers on this grid competed in the 2019 Sydney 300, meaning a whopping FIFTY-EIGHT drivers will be competing in their first Sydney 300 this weekend.
- Terry Denovan (Wakefield 2020) and Todd Herring** (2021) are the only drivers to have won this race flying solo.
Competitors have only had that option since 2019.
On Saturday night, FIVE other drivers will be looking to emulate the success of the last TWO Wakefield 300 winners.
Seven single-driver entries is a 300 record.
**Verne Johnson is listed as a race winner in the 2021 Wakefield 300, but he actually didn’t complete a lap in the race itself.
Whilst Johnson did clock laps in both practice and qualifying, he sat the race out, meaning he’s the only winner in 300 history to have not driven in the race itself.
Of course, with drivers now eligible to contest these races solo, gone are regulations surrounding minimum and maximum driving laps, which is exactly why Herring was allowed to complete all 137 laps of the Wakefield 300, en-route to his second triumph in a 300, after the Sydney 300 of 2019.
Saturday’s Pitcher Partners Sydney 300 is set to be the most thrilling in years, with high excitement surrounding the spectacle that will be the main race being staged under lights for the first time ever.
FREE admission for spectators is added incentive to venture trackside, but if you can’t be there, for whatever reason, the platforms of Blend Line TV will have you covered, with LIVE coverage of the Pitcher Partners Sydney 300 from 10:30am AEST, across YouTube and Facebook.
Motor Racing Australia is proudly supported by: Pitcher Partners, ClubRacer Engineering, TrackDay Club, Liquid Clothing Co, and Liquid Race Apparel.