Ranking the Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2021

It may have been a one-man title fight in Supercars this season, but behind dominant champion Shane van Gisbergen were some fascinating performances. Motorsport.com picks out the best drivers of the 2021 campaign.

Ranking the Top 10 Supercars drivers of 2021

For the second year in a row, Supercars had to deal with a 2021 season heavily interrupted by the pandemic. COVID-19 outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne mid-year, and the internal border complications that followed, forced more significant scheduling and rescheduling efforts.

There was a three-month mid-season break, teams were forced on the road for weeks on end at various points of the year and there was even an unprecedented quadruple header at Sydney Motorsport Park to ensure the 12 rounds required by the broadcast deal were completed.

For some it was a season of two halves with momentum lost or gained after the break. For a certain Kiwi with a Dutch surname, if a broken collarbone and three broken ribs couldn't stop him, nothing could.

Here's our top 10 Supercars drivers of 2021.

10. Andre Heimgartner

Heimgartner took full advantage on one of KGR's better days with wet win at The Bend

Heimgartner took full advantage on one of KGR's better days with wet win at The Bend

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Team: Kelly Grove Racing
Wins: 1
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 17th

Andre Heimgartner gets the nod against the consistent likes of Tim Slade, James Courtney and Mark Winterbottom thanks to one grey, miserable day in South Australia.

Following a breakthrough season in 2020, the Kiwi put his potential on full display at The Bend back in May.

In wet conditions he took an unexpected pole and then simply drove away from the field in the race. Even a five-second penalty for an unsafe release couldn't stop him banking a sensational first Supercars win.

The fact that he both won a race and also finished 17th in the points highlights just how inconsistent the KGR Mustangs were this year. But on the day the car was up to it, so was Heimgartner.

9. Nick Percat

Percat kept digging for BJR despite his mid-season decision to split with the team for 2022

Percat kept digging for BJR despite his mid-season decision to split with the team for 2022

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

Team: Brad Jones Racing
Best Finish: 3rd
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 7th

Nick Percat put together a classic Nick Percat campaign in 2021. He out-performed his Brad Jones Racing hardware, comfortably led the way for the four-car squad and was in the top 10 more often than not (19 of the 30 races).

He didn't add to his wins tally, but he did take a brilliant pole in a wet top 10 shootout for the final race of the Sydney swing.

Unfortunately he didn't get a chance to convert it to a win with the race called off due to the weather. But he scored plenty of fan points for calling out officials for not running the race on social media afterwards.

Perhaps most impressive is that he continued to work hard for BJR even after announcing his shock split with the team during the break. The greatest test of his career now awaits at Walkinshaw Andretti United next season.

8. Brodie Kostecki

Kostecki impressed in his first season at Erebus, but team-mate Brown's peaks were higher

Kostecki impressed in his first season at Erebus, but team-mate Brown's peaks were higher

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

Team: Erebus Motorsport
Best Finish: 2nd
Best Qualifying: 3rd
Championship Position: 9th

It was no secret coming into the 2021 season that rookie Brodie Kostecki was a stone cold star. But just in case it wasn't obvious enough he proved it with a fine second place in the rain at Sandown back in March.

From there, for the most part Kostecki spent his rookie campaign showing that he just belongs in Supercars. Or not, but in a good way. Like his brilliant two-wheels-on-the-grass move on Cam Waters during the Bathurst 1000.

His team-mate Will Brown grabbed the headlines with poles and a win this year, but Kostecki's time will come. Very soon.

7. Cam Waters

Waters won twice on the streets of Townsville before the three-month enforced break

Waters won twice on the streets of Townsville before the three-month enforced break

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Tickford Racing
Wins: 3
Poles: 4
Championship Position: 5th

By no means a disaster of a season for Cam Waters. The Tickford team leader added three wins to his tally (two more than he's ever achieved in a single season before) and wound up a credible fifth in the points.

A second consecutive second place at the Bathurst 1000 wasn't too shabby either. So why is he just seventh on this list?

That's because after 2020 it felt like Waters was building towards something better than a 'pretty good season'. It felt like Tickford had found a sweet spot and that Waters was going to become a week-in, week-out contender. That means he's getting marked harder than others.

Nobody was going to beat Shane van Gisbergen this year, but it feels like Waters is in the window to have at least run him a little harder.

6. Will Davison

Davison put together a consistent campaign in the #17 DJR Ford vacated by McLaughlin, though didn't win a race

Davison put together a consistent campaign in the #17 DJR Ford vacated by McLaughlin, though didn't win a race

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Dick Johnson Racing
Best Finish: 2nd
Poles: 2
Championship Position: 4th

Consistency was key for Will Davison in 2021. He marked the revival of his career (after an unexpected six-month stint on the sidelines in 2020) with the sort of campaign you'd expect for a seasoned professional.

While his consistency meant he led the way for Dick Johnson Racing in the points, his season lacked the fireworks of team-mate Anton De Pasquale. Yes there was a couple of poles in Darwin and what looked set to be a first race win in five years went begging thanks to a blank dash in Sydney. But on the whole, DJR's headline moments for the year belonged to the other side of the garage.

In a weird way, though, that makes Davison's efforts to finish fourth in the points – from what some call the less fancied side of the shed – all the more impressive.

5. Jamie Whincup

Whincup was shaded by team-mate van Gisbergen in his final year before stepping out of the cockpit

Whincup was shaded by team-mate van Gisbergen in his final year before stepping out of the cockpit

Photo by: Mark Horsburgh, Edge Photographics

Team: Triple Eight Race Engineering
Wins: 2
Poles: 3
Championship Position: 2nd

That finishing second in the points feels so flat for Whincup shows just how much we expect of the seven-time series champion.

Heading into the 2021 season it seemed feasible that a fairytale eighth title was on the table. But Shane van Gisbergen made it clear very early in the season that there was no room for sentiment in the title fight. And that's why the driver that finished second in the points is fifth on this list. The reality is that he was out-classed by his team-mate from the start.

Whincup's final season as a full-timer was hardly an embarrassment and had he not voluntarily walked away, it's highly doubtful that anybody would be calling for his retirement. There is a theory his impending retirement actually played its part in his ever-so-slightly-underwhelming campaign too.

4. Anton De Pasquale

De Pasquale hit top form for DJR at Sydney, and ended the year with more poles than anybody

De Pasquale hit top form for DJR at Sydney, and ended the year with more poles than anybody

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Dick Johnson Racing
Wins: 6
Poles: 11
Championship Position: 6th

There was always going to be a lot of pressure on the union between Anton De Pasquale and Dick Johnson Racing. While Will Davison got Scott McLaughlin's #17, it was De Pasquale who took over McLaughlin's mantle as the young star leading DJR's charge.

Compared to the relentless, polished McLaughlin, De Pasquale looked a little rough around the edges early in the year. But boy did the mid-season break work wonders. Or perhaps it was a month-long stay at the DJR-friendly Sydney Motorsport Park. Either way, De Pasquale spent the back end of year in McLaughlin-esque form, particularly over a single lap.

The late burst helped him to a season-high 11 poles for the year. And has given us all hope that someone will take the fight to Shane van Gisbergen in 2022.

3. Will Brown

Brown emerged as a winner in his rookie year and marked himself out as a star of the future

Brown emerged as a winner in his rookie year and marked himself out as a star of the future

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Erebus Motorsport
Wins: 1
Poles: 1
Championship Position: 8th

Speaking of drivers that hit their straps after the mid-season break, rosy-cheeked rookie Will Brown enjoyed a brilliant end to the season as part of a rejuvenated Erebus Motorsport squad.

While there was generally little to split between Brown and team-mate Kostecki across the year (as indicated by their respective positions in the final standings), it was Brown - the runner-up in last year's Super2 series - that stepped up and grabbed the big results.

He took a first career pole at Sydney Motorsport Park and then led that race like a seasoned pro until he was delayed by a pitstop issue out of his control. A week later he took a sensational first race win at the same circuit, watching Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen squabble in his mirrors as he managed his tired tyres to the finish. There was also his impressive provisional pole effort for the Bathurst 1000.

Those moments are why he's five spots higher on this list than Kostecki.

2. Chaz Mostert

Bathurst dominance edges Mostert into second spot in our ranking

Bathurst dominance edges Mostert into second spot in our ranking

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Walkinshaw Andretti United
Wins: 3
Poles: 2
Championship Position: 3rd

There were signs all season that things are starting to click between Chaz Mostert (and his engineer Adam De Borre) and WAU. There was a first win for the combo at Symmons Plains and a second in Darwin to mark a promising first part of the season.

Then along came the month-long stay in Sydney and things looked a little ropey for Mostert and WAU. There were moments of brilliance (his drive from the back of the field to third in the wet night race, for example) but the car pace was all over the place. It turns out the team was trialling a number of set-up philosophies, only to land on one that worked towards the end of the Sydney swing.

And work it did when they got to Mount Panorama. The #25 was the fastest car by a significant margin across the Bathurst 1000 week, as proven by Mostert's stunning 2m03.737s in the top 10 shootout – the fastest ever Supercars lap at the famous circuit.

Mostert (ably assisted by Lee Holdsworth) then became the first driver in the Supercars era to take out the Bathurst 1000 trifecta – pole, fastest race lap and the race win. That's why he's second on this list.

If WAU can bottle that Bathurst speed, he could be a genuine title contender next season.

1. Shane van Gisbergen

Van Gisbergen celebrates victory from 17th at Sandown with a b roken collarbone and three broken ribs - the drive of the year

Van Gisbergen celebrates victory from 17th at Sandown with a b roken collarbone and three broken ribs - the drive of the year

Photo by: Edge Photographics

Team: Triple Eight Race Engineering
Wins: 14
Poles: 6
Championship Position: 1st

Shock! Shane van Gisbergen was the best Supercars driver in 2021. There is little in the way of superlatives that do van Gisbergen's 2021 campaign justice. He was in a class of his own, perhaps helped by Scott McLaughlin's defection to IndyCar and Whincup's impending retirement.

The only real scare to his title hopes was when he fell off his mountain bike and broke his collarbone a fortnight out from the second round of the season at Sandown. He was rushed into surgery, told a few fibs about how much pain he was in, got the team to lower the steering column in his car (as he couldn't lift his arm too high) and didn't miss a single race.

In fact his first race win after injuring himself was one of the greatest in Supercars history, as the wounded star charged from 17th on the grid to pull a last-lap move on Cam Waters to win the race. No one in Supercars history had ever won a single-driver race from that far back. Turns out he had three broken ribs too, which weren't found until the following week.

He won six races straight to start the season, basically putting the title beyond doubt, and wrapped up the crown with a round to spare and 14 wins to his name.

It was nothing short of pure dominance against a strong field of professional drivers, further underlining that van Gisbergen is one of the best, toughest and most versatile racing drivers in the world.

Van Gisbergen eased to the title following his run of six straight wins to start the year, taking a further eight across the remainder of the campaign

Van Gisbergen eased to the title following his run of six straight wins to start the year, taking a further eight across the remainder of the campaign

Photo by: Edge Photographics

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