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Monday, 02 January 2017 00:00

Analysis: Seventeen talking points for 2017

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The 2016 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship sets up the 2017 season beautifully: the continued rivalry of the Red Bull Racing Australia drivers, the growing threat of DJR Team Penske, a wounded Prodrive Racing Australia, redemption-seeking Walkinshaw Racing and Garry Rogers Motorsport and so much more.

V8X Supercar Magazine analyses the 17 talking points to watch out for in 2017 in issue #96.

Issue #96 is on sale now in stores with the digital edition available in the official V8X app (in the App Store and Google Play), online at DigitalEdition.V8XMagazine.com.au and in the Magzter app store.

CLICK HERE for more information on V8X Supercar Magazine issue #96.

Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup went head-to-head for the Supercars crown in 2016, with the former overcoming the latter in his first season with the team. But Whincup could consider himself unlucky considering the costly penalties at Sandown and Bathurst, which handed the championship advantage to van Gisbergen.

The Red Bull-backed duo will once again battle in 2017 with more intense on-track action looming, not to forget veteran Craig Lowndes in the team's third entry and the title of Holden's sole factory team.

There's no doubting that DJR Team Penske represents the greatest threat to Triple Eight's domination. The Ryan Story-led team recruited Ludo Lacroix, long-time Triple Eight car designer, during 2016 to underscore its looming menace.

Throw in the recruitment of Scott McLaughlin to team with Fabian Coulthard, the might of Team Penske entering its third season as owners and Shell Australia signing up as title sponsor and it's likely DJR Team Penske will be regular race winners in 2017.

A new construction of the Dunlop control tyres will throw a curveball into the competition in 2017. There will again be both soft and hard tread versions of the new 18-inch tyres, with the soft tyres again used at the majority of events, but the new construction featuring a larger contact patch will provide a different feeling for the drivers and engineers and could result in faster lap times.

Meanwhile, the switch of the Supercars finale from Sydney Olympic Park to Newcastle condenses the season with a November finish as opposed to December. And the street circuit around the regional centre looks spectacular, encompassing the waterfront and parklands with a track that has traits akin to the Adelaide Parklands Circuit. If Newcastle can produce racing as good as Adelaide, then Supercars is onto a winner.

The Gen2 era officially begins in 2017, but no team or manufacturer has opted for a new engine or chassis package for the upcoming season. But with Holden committing to fit a non-V8 engine to its new-look imported Commodore from 2018 and other manufacturers and teams assessing their options, get ready for another year of big off-track developments as Supercars races towards a new era.

CLICK HERE to purchase the print edition of issue #96 to read all 17 talking points.