Round 14 of the 2019 Supercars Championship marks the decider of the Pirtek Enduro Cup, a three-round endurance series within the Supercars season to crown the best drivers and co-drivers over the three biggest rounds: the Bathurst 1000, Gold Coast 600 and this weekend’s Sandown 500.

Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway has traditionally hosted a Supercars round in September, however, a major shake-up to the calendar saw this year’s event switch from September to November in 2019. It also marks the fourth running of the series’ ‘Retro Round’ where teams go back in time unveiling liveries from generations past.

The Circuit

Sandown Raceway

Sandown International Raceway
Location Melbourne, Victoria Circuit Length 3.104 km / 1.928 mi
Opened 1962 First ATCC Event 1964
Direction Anticlockwise Lap Record 1:09.0987 – Chaz Mostert  2017

Now in its eighth year. Sandown Raceway plays host to the iconic 500-kilometre race that draws a close to the 2019 Pirtek Enduro Cup.

This year will also mark its final year as a circuit of the Supercars championship hosting the 500-kilometre race, and will next year become a SuperSprint round with a pair of 200-kilometre races. The 500-kilometre race will shift to The Bend Motorsport Park in 2020.

Located about 25 kilometres south of Melbourne’s CBD, the 3.104-kilometre circuit is known for its two long high-speed straights – the start/finish straight being 899 metres and the kinked back straight at 910 metres – which make for fantastic battles and slipstreaming. The Turn 1 and Turn 9 left-handers present themselves as the best overtaking spots thanks to heavy braking approaches.

The Event

2019 Australian Supercars Championship – Penrite Oil Sandown 500
Event Dates 08-10 November 2019 Format Enduro Cup
Free Practice Session 1* Fri 11:15-11:45 Free Practice Session 2 Fri 12:45-13:15
Free Practice Session 3* Fri 15:20-15:50 Free Practice Session 4 Sat 10:40-11:10
Preliminary Qualifying
Sat 12:12-12:45 Race 28 (20 laps)*
Sat 14:25-14:55
Race 29 (20 laps)
Sun 17:20-17:50 Warm-up Session Sun 10:00-10:20
Race 30 (161 laps)
Sun 13:25-16:45

* Co-Driver only session
Session times quoted in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (GMT +11)

The Runners

2019 Australian Supercars Championship – Sandown 500 Entry List
# Team / Entry Driver Co-Driver
2. Walkinshaw Andretti United Walkinshaw Andretti United Scott Pye Warren Luff
3. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Garry Jacobson Dean Fiore
5. Tickford Racing Lee Holdsworth Thomas Randle
6. Tickford Racing Cameron Waters Michael Caruso
7. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Andre Heimgartner Bryce Fulwood
8. Brad Jones Racing Nick Percat Tim Blanchard
9. Erebus Motorsport David Reynolds Luke Youlden
12. DJR Team Penske Fabian Coulthard Tony D’Alberto
14. Brad Jones Racing Tim Slade Ashley Walsh
15. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Rick Kelly Dale Wood
17. DJR Team Penske Scott McLaughlin Alexandre Prémat
18. Charlie Schwerkolt Racing Mark Winterbottom Steven Richards
19. TEKNO Autosports Jack Le Brocq Jonathon Webb*
21. Tim Blanchard Racing (BJR) Macauley Jones Dean Canto
22. Walkinshaw Andretti United Walkinshaw Andretti United James Courtney Jack Perkins
23. 23Red Racing Will Davison Alex Davison
33. Garry Rogers Motorsport Richie Stanaway Chris Pither
34. Garry Rogers Motorsport James Golding Richard Muscat
35. Matt Stone Racing Todd Hazelwood Jack Smith
55. Tickford Racing Chaz Mostert James Moffat
56. Kostecki Brothers Racing^ Brodie Kostecki Jake Kostecki
78. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Simona de Silvestro Alex Rullo
88. Triple Eight Race Engineering Jamie Whincup Craig Lowndes
97. Triple Eight Race Engineering Shane van Gisbergen Garth Tander
99. Erebus Motorsport Anton de Pasquale Will Brown

^ Wildcard entry

Rewind to 2018

Triple Eight Race Engineering simply annihilated their Supercars opposition, securing a complete sweep of the podium. Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell led home Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards in second, with Shane van Gisbergen and Earl Bamber finishing in third.

The #1 Red Bull Holden of Whincup and Dumbrell converted a front-row start to victory, spending almost all of the race at the front of the field.

The Form Guide

The 2019 Penrite Oil Sandown 500 has undergone some important format changes. Friday will see three 30-minute practice sessions (two of which are co-driver only) and a final session on Saturday morning.

A 20- minute Armor All Qualifying session will then take place in which all drivers are allowed to partake, setting the grid for a 20 lap co-driver sprint race on Saturday afternoon. The result of the first Saturday Sprint Race determines the the grid for the 60-kilometre primary driver Sprint Race later in the afternoon.

The finishing order of the primary driver race will determine the final starting grid for Sunday’s feature 500-kilometre race.

Unlike previous years, the Saturday Sprint Races will earn championship points for their respective drivers.

Outright series leader Scott McLaughlin – who has a 463-point advantage over Shane van Gisbergen – could, therefore, wrap up the Supercars Championship title this weekend. To avoid a decider at the last round in Newcastle, McLaughlin needs to have at least a 300-point lead over van Gisbergen by the end of this weekend.

In the Pirtek Enduro Cup standings, van Gisbergen and co-driver Garth Tander (528 points) lead by 36 points from teammate Jamie Whincup and his co-driver Lowndes on 528 points. Third-placed McLaughlin and co-driver Alexandre Prémat are 99 points behind. The battle between the Red Bull Holden Racing Team #97 and #888 cars of Van Gisbergen/ Tander and Whincup/ Lowndes will be interesting to watch to see the fight for the endurance title.

With the Drivers’ title seemingly all but wrapped up, the Teams’ Championship is is still a close fight with 132 points separating DJR Team Penske from Triple Eight.

Image via Red Bull Holden Racing Team

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