After more than eight months and 32 races at 15 different stops around the country, Scott McLaughlin is now formally the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Champion.
The DJR Team Penske driver enjoyed a dominant season in the CAMS Australian Touring Car Championship, securing 18 wins and an extra four podiums – along with Bathurst 1000 honours
While the Bathurst win was McLaughlin’s last time on top of the podium for the year, his season was won in the first half of the season where he twice won six consecutive races in every start he had.
As the championship wrapped up with the Newcastle 500, like he had done in all but two occasions all year, McLaughlin ended his second consecutive title season with two-top five finishes, including a second place in the first race.
Despite not finishing the year with a race win, McLaughlin was still thrilled to finally officially celebrate the championship – which also included DJR Team Penske claiming team honours over nearest rival Red Bull Holden Racing Team.
"I'm so glad to finally be able to celebrate with my team," McLaughlin said.
"We won the teams championship too, that's bloody awesome.
"I think anytime an organisation can win 18 wins in a single car, but then 20 wins as an organisation is pretty impressive.
"When chips are down, like Gold Coast after the crash there, to come back and we don't care what's been said, we just get on with it and I couldn't be prouder."
Finishing second and third in the outright championship were the winners of the final round with Triple Eight’s Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup, each claiming a race win in Newcastle.
On Saturday, like he had done in 2018, van Gisbergen took out the first race over McLaughlin after controlling the race and beating his compatriot by more than 10 seconds, while Fabian Coutlhard finished third after capitalising on an error from Whincup.
“Awesome day for us, shame about Jamie making a mistake there, that would've been great team points,” van Gisbergen said after Saturday’s race.
“Thanks to the guys, the car was awesome. I had a cool start, good battle and then forced our way through, so pretty cool.”
Whincup redeemed himself in the final race of the season though, picking up his 118th career win over Coulthard in second, while Tim Slade ended his four year tenure at Brad Jones Racing with an impressive third place finish.
"I'm really proud of everyone, they fought hard until the end," Whincup said.
"We didn't have that much performance at the start of the year, but we chipped away and two wins this weekend for the team gives us confidence going into next year that we can certainly be contenders.
"It wasn't much of a battle, unfortunately car #17 disappeared up the road a bit, but hopefully we can take it to them next year, but congratulations to Scotty he did a great a job."
Coulthard’s two podium finishes in Newcastle saw him end the 2019 season in fourth place outright, with Chaz Mostert rounding the top five for the second time in his career.
The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship now has a three month break, before getting back into it with the Superloop Adelaide 500 to kick start the 2020 season in February.
2019 Drivers' Championship Standings
1. Scott McLaughlin
2. Shane van Gisbergen (Holden)
3. Jamie Whincup (Holden)
4. Fabian Coulthard
5. Chaz Mostert
5. David Reynolds (Holden)
7. Cameron Waters
8. Will Davison
9. Nick Percat (Holden)
10. Lee Holdsworth
2019 Teams' Championship Standings
1. Shell V-Power Racing Team
2. Red Bull Holden Racing Team
3. Tickford Racing 1
4. Tickford Racing 2
5. Penrite Racing - Erebus
Photos: Edge Photographics, AME Management