Toowoomba’s racing sensation, Will Brown, showcased his exceptional skills yet again in Townsville, dominating Race 16 of the 2023 Supercars season on Saturday. Piloting the No. 9 Coca-Cola Chevrolet Camaro, Brown clinched a resounding victory, marking his fourth win of the year and fifth of his career. This triumph also holds special significance for Brown’s Erebus team as it represents their first-ever triumph in North Queensland and their 14th win overall. Additionally, this achievement marks the team’s sixth win in 2023.
With this outstanding performance, the 25-year-old native of Toowoomba now leads the championship standings. This ascent to the top comes as a result of mechanical issues that hindered his teammate, Brodie Kostecki, who had been leading the championship since Race 6 in Melbourne back in April.
The second-place finisher in the race was the young and talented Broc Feeney, representing the Red Bull Camaro team. Demonstrating remarkable progress, Feeney continues to climb through the ranks. Chaz Mostert, representing Ford, secured the final spot on the podium, marking Ford’s best performance in 2023.
Meanwhile, defending Supercars Champion Shane van Gisbergen, renowned for his NASCAR debut win in Chicago just a few days ago, finished in fourth place in the championship standings, trailing the new leader Brown by 110 points.
Reflecting on his impressive victory, Brown expressed his satisfaction with his car’s performance, stating, “88 laps around here is a long time, but felt good in there, the car was mega quick on old tyres.” Leveraging his advantage in the first stint due to exceptional tire life, Brown capitalized on his strengths to secure a remarkable win. He also expressed his delight at sporting the orange numbers, symbolizing his position as the new leader halfway through the season.
The race experienced its sole safety car intervention during Lap 69, prompted by Todd Hazelwood’s halted car, the No. 3 CoolDrive Ford Mustang. The safety car period bunched up the field for a restart with 16 laps remaining. Despite intense pressure from Feeney and other competitors, Brown managed to maintain his composure and extend his lead in the closing laps, securing a victory with a comfortable 3.3-second gap over Feeney from Triple Eight.
Kostecki, who started the race from his equal worst position of 15th, faced a setback when he lost the use of first and second gear midway through the race. This issue significantly impacted his acceleration and overall performance, ultimately resulting in a disappointing 19th-place finish.
Feeney’s outstanding performance earned him his sixth consecutive podium finish and his ninth podium in 16 races in 2023. While he remains in third place in the championship standings, he now trails Kostecki by just one point and Brown by a margin of 44 points.
Chaz Mostert of Walkinshaw Andretti United adopted a unique three-stop strategy, the only leading car to do so. Leveraging the late safety car period, Mostert skillfully maneuvered his No. 25 Mobil 1 Optus Ford Mustang to secure a commendable third-place finish, marking his first podium appearance since the season opener in Newcastle.
In the closing laps, reigning champion Shane van Gisbergen overtook Cam Waters of Ford’s Monster Energy team, securing a fourth-place finish, with Waters following closely behind.