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Tuesday, 07 March 2017 14:22

Analysis: Ranking the movers and shakers

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The 2016 season saw close to half the grid swap teams in the silliest silly season in Supercars. Fittingly, then, the championship and Bathurst 1000 winners were new to their teams in 2016. And the changes from the last off-season will once again define the championship battle in 2017. One year on, how did those drivers fare? V8X Supercar Magazine issue #97 takes a look.

Issue #97 is your must-have guide to the new season, including full-field driver profiles, team-by-team changes and event previews. Included with the print edition is a 2017 Freightliner-backed Supercars calendar fridge magnet and V8 champions and Shane van Gisbergen poster.

Issue #97 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 issue #97.

These are the power rankings from last season's movers and shakers...

1. SHANE VAN GISBERGEN

Won the title in his first season with Triple Eight Race Engineering, taking little time in transitioning from customer team Tekno Autosports and overcoming the experience of teammates Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes. He will again be in the title mix and only overseas ambitions look to take him away from Triple Eight.

2. WILL DAVISON

A Bathurst win and top five in the championship saw Davison return to the front-end of the grid after a couple of challenging season at Erebus Motorsport. Further progression depends on how much speed the single-car customer Tekno Autosports team can extract from its Triple Eight-built package.

3. TIM SLADE

Slade's career had stalled at Walkinshaw Racing and he could have been out of Supercars had if first choice David Reynolds had ended up at Brad Jones Racing. But Slade landed the drive and repaid the faith with an event sweep at Winton, becoming the team's undisputed team leader.

4. FABIAN COULTHARD

Coulthard couldn't repeat his race wins from Brad Jones Racing in his first season with DJR Team Penske. But his move was about long-term potential, so a step forward is expected in 2017 where he will be up against stiff opposition in the form of new teammate Scott McLaughlin.

5. DAVID REYNOLDS

Reynolds may have gone from third in the standings with Prodrive Racing Australia to 16th with Erebus Motorsport, but he now has a team that's built around him and seems to better suit his personality.

6. JAMES MOFFAT

Results seemed to be on par for Moffat between Nissan Motorsport and Garry Rogers Motorsport. And hopes of further gains now depends on what the former can extract from its new Holden VF Commodores.

7. CHRIS PITHER

Surprised many with his pole position at Ipswich and glimpses of speed for Super Black Racing. However, the passing of team owner Tony Lentino left the New Zealander with few other options for 2017 and on the outer of the Prodrive Racing Australia stable and signing up with Erebus Motorsport as a co-driver.

8. CAMERON WATERS

The 2015 Dunlop Development Series held his own in the main game with a surprise pole position at fourth at Mount Panorama for Prodrive Racing Australia, though the limit on testing severely hurts rookies trying to get up to speed against more experienced opponents so his second season shapes as vital.

9. TIM BLANCHARD

Blanchard dropped from 21st to 23rd in the standings despite moving from Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport to Brad Jones Racing. His driving future depends on improving results in his second year with the team, after securing his future by purchasing a license to remain with the team.

10. ANDRE HEIMGARTNER

After losing his drive at Super Black Racing to Chris Pither, Heimgartner found a home at Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport. But he rarely troubled teammate Nick Percat and failed to break into the top 10, finishing in 25th and last amongst the full-time entrants.

11. AAREN RUSSELL

Russell appeared out of his depth in his seven rounds with Erebus Motorsport in the first half of 2016, leaving him on the outer when the team split with sponsor Plus Fitness.

Twelve months on, how will this season's movers, including race winners Scott McLaughlin, Nick Percat, Garth Tander and Jason Bright, fare?

CLICK HERE to purchase issue #97.