Amid total domination from Shane van Gisbergen, there were some surprising hits and misses from the star Supercars drivers in 2022.
For the second year running, there are no prizes for guessing who tops our list of the best 10 Supercars drivers.
But behind the runaway leader there were some fascinating, and unexpected, performances. Veterans that stood up against younger, and supposedly faster, team-mates. Should-be title contenders that fell a little flat. Drivers that established, or re-established, themselves as clear team leaders.
Here are our top 10 Supercars drivers of 2022.
10. James Courtney – Tickford Racing
Best Result: 2nd
Best Qualifying: 4th
It was another impressive showing from James Courtney in 2022. The 42-year-old seems to be enjoying the twilight of his career, settling perfectly into a supporting role behind Tickford team leader Cam Waters.
While he isn't regularly a match on pace for Waters – something he freely admits – Courtney was still second-best this season in a Tickford line-up that also includes highly-rated young gun Thomas Randle.
The 2010 champion's season included three podiums, two of which carried genuine significance. A second place in Perth came right as Tickford was trying to woo Snowy River Caravans into signing a permanent sponsorship deal. And his third place in Adelaide followed a harrowing week where his six-week-old son underwent surgery.
9. Brodie Kostecki – Erebus Motorsport
Best Result: 2nd
Last year there was nothing between Erebus team-mates Brodie Kostecki and Will Brown. They were evenly matched on pace, with Brown only unofficially 'winning' the team-mate tussle thanks to his superb race victory in Sydney.
This year, however, belonged to Kostecki. In what was a quiet campaign for the Erebus squad, the #99 set the pace more often than not. Kostecki scored a career-first pole at the season-opener in Sydney and consistently banked points across the season to end up seventh, seven spots clear of Brown.
He was particularly impressive at Bathurst where he was right in the fight until being baulked by a recovery vehicle.
8. David Reynolds – Grove Racing
Best Result: 2nd
In 2022 we were reminded just how fast a happy, confident David Reynolds can be. After a tough 2020 season with Erebus and an inconsistent 2021 with the Groves, Reynolds bounced back to form this year. He re-established himself as the clear team leader and ended the season with two poles and seven podiums to his name.
His best performance was the opener on the Gold Coast where he spent the first stint of the race leading van Gisbergen. He would drop behind SVG later in the race with a failed cool suit and a loose steering wheel, but his early speed was impressive. Even to van Gisbergen.
"I haven't raced him for a while," said the Kiwi. "Watching him through the chicane, I was taking it in, enjoying it. Mirrors against the fence, sending it, I love that."
7. Anton De Pasquale – Dick Johnson Racing
It could be argued that fourth in the points warrants better than seventh on this list, but the reality is that De Pasquale failed to fire on too many occasions in 2022. Approaching the prime of his career, De Pasquale should have established himself as the clear leader at DJR this season. Instead he was regularly out-paced by his 40-year-old team-mate Will Davison.
De Pasquale did shade Davison in the overall points, but Davison was quicker over a lap and scored more race wins. Seventh is admittedly a tough mark but, as someone who was effectively signed as Scott McLaughlin's replacement, expectations are high.
6. Andre Heimgartner – Brad Jones Racing
Best Result: 2nd
Best Qualifying: 3rd
Andre Heimgartner's off-season move to Brad Jones Racing was curious, to say the least. Instead of a one-year extension with big-spending Grove Racing after a breakout 2021 that included a maiden race win, the Kiwi opted for the security of a multi-year agreement with BJR.
It was potentially a questionable move, with the Groves seemingly on the rise. But it's one that really seems to have worked for Heimgartner. He looks to have a found a happy home where he's been embraced as team leader, and Heimgartner has embraced the role in return.
The proof has been in the results, with Heimgartner a regular top-10 contender throughout the season, and often in the battle for the podium. Had it not been for five DNFs and one DNS (after clobbering Randle's stalled car at The Bend), he would have finished significantly higher in the standings.
5. Broc Feeney – Triple Eight Race Engineering
Best Qualifying: 2nd
Broc Feeney's rookie season was one of the more fascinating prospects heading into 2022. So rarely does a first-year driver land at the best team in a race-winning seat. It may sound like a dream come true, but the reality is that it's a lot of pressure for a rookie to be in a car that everyone knows can be a winner.
But Feeney was up to the task. He took the pressure in his stride and delivered a professional, if not entirely spectacular rookie season. The standout was, obviously, his maiden race win on Sunday in Adelaide, where he held off Chaz Mostert like a seasoned veteran.
That race still exposed the gulf in sheer pace between Feeney and van Gisbergen, something that Feeney does need to close next year, but it was still an impressive showing and an impressive season.
4. Chaz Mostert – Walkinshaw Andretti United
Best Qualifying: 3rd
This is another case of tough marking based on pre-season expectations. Chaz Mostert could have so easily been third on this list given that's where he finished in the standings.
But it's hard to avoid feeling slightly disappointed with Mostert's 2022. Given how he dominated the Bathurst 1000 to close out the 2021 season, there was genuine hope that he'd be a proper title contender this year.
He did manage to leave the season-opener in Sydney with the points lead but that was as close to a title tilt as he got. He and WAU were unfortunately never really in the hunt. And that's why he's only fourth on this list despite some sublime drives (like his Darwin win).
3. Will Davison – Dick Johnson Racing
Nobody would have blamed Will Davison if he'd ended 2022 well behind his DJR team-mate Anton De Pasquale. Two drivers at very different stages of their careers, it would have been understandable if De Pasquale had pulled clear. But that is absolutely not how it played out.
Davison rolled back the clock in 2022 with a sensational season. Over a lap he was crazy quick, only just missing out on the season pole award after topping qualifying nine times. He also scored his first race win since 2016, helping secure a new multi-year deal with DJR for 2023 and beyond.
2. Cam Waters – Tickford Racing
Cam Waters continued the steady rise to the peak of his powers this year. Even as the season progressed, he looked to be developing as a race driver, his form around Winton, Darwin, Townsville and The Bend hugely impressive.
He wasn't as consistent as van Gisbergen, but the likelihood is that Tickford didn't give him a race-winning car as consistently as T8 delivered for the title-winning Kiwi.
What Waters did do, however, was take van Gisbergen on. When he had the car, he made a proper fight of it. He raced van Gisbergen better and harder than anyone else in the field.
Hopefully this season was the springboard to a proper SVG vs Waters tussle for Supercars supremacy. That would truly be a joy to watch.
1. Shane van Gisbergen – Triple Eight Race Engineering
What can you say? How do you possibly sum up Shane van Gisbergen's brilliance?
What is truly astounding is how easy van Gisbergen made winning Supercars races look this year. He didn't have the fastest car over a lap – check out the wins/poles ratio – but his race pace was remarkable.
He and engineer Andrew Edwards found a way to get through a long first stint without giving too much away to the early stoppers. Van Gisbergen would then deliver the goods late in the race by passing the early stoppers with his relentless, attacking racecraft.
I'm sure there were those that got sick of seeing van Gisbergen win races this season. But it truly was an incredible thing to witness. One of the best drivers on the face of the planet in truly devastating form.