The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

The introduction of a new chassis and two new manufactures in 2013 rejuvenated V8 Supercars, helping produce one of the closest, most unpredictable and exciting seasons in history. Now, with new race formats, Volvo returning, and rivalries on the brink of boiling over, 2014 is poised to be just as exciting.

Race Formats and the Schedule

Axing the 60/60 format utilized for most of 2013, V8 Supercars will debut two new race weekend formats for 2014. Overall, there will be 14 rounds with 38 races that count towards the championship. Circuit of the Americas, which hosted the V8s in May of 2013, was left off of this year's calendar and Sydney Motorsports Park was added back on following a year absence.

Super Sprint: Saturday includes two 15-minute qualifying sessions and two 100-kilometer races without scheduled pit stops. A 20-minute qualifying session starts off Sunday and the 200-kilometer weekend concluding race that involves pit strategy occurs shortly after.

Super Street: For the first time ever, there will be two races on Saturday at Adelaide, Townsville, and Sydney. The grid order for these two 125-kilometer races is determined by two 20-minute qualifying sessions on Friday. Sunday features the traditional 250-kilometer race in the afternoon and a 20-minute qualifying session with a top 10 shootout in the morning.

Endurance Cup: This three round stretch in September and October is the most important portion of the V8 Supercars schedule. Not only are these races long and tough on competitors, they also feature a huge haul of points which is critical near the end of the year. Co-drivers will join the full-timers for the Sandown 500, Gold Coast 600, and the biggest race in Australasia, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Pukekohe: The New Zealand round will feature a unique format for the ANZAC weekend event. A 100-kilometer race on Friday has been added to two 100-kilometer races on both Saturday and Sunday, for a total of five races over the course of the weekend.

Australian Grand Prix: As usual, this event – where the V8s play a supporting role for the Formula One race – will not count towards the championship standings, but there is still a round victory up for grabs. Two races will be held on Friday, one on Saturday, and a double points race (wonder where they got that idea from) will run on Sunday.

February 27-March 2: Clipsal 500 Adelaide (Super Street)

March 13-16: Australian Grand Prix (Non-Championship)

March 28-30: Tyrepower Tasmania 400 (Super Sprint)

April 4-6: Winton 400 (Super Sprint)

April 24-27: ITM Auckland 500 (Five 100-kilometer races)

May 16-18: Perth 400 (Super Sprint)

June 20-22: SKYCITY Triple Crown Darwin (Super Sprint)

July 4-6: Townsville 500 (Super Street)

August1-3: Coates Hire Ipswich 400 (Super Sprint)

August 22-24: Sydney Motorsport Park 400 (Super Sprint)

September 12-14: Wilson Security Sandown 500 (Endurance Cup)

October 9-12: Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 (Endurance Cup)

October 24-26: Armor All Gold Coast 600 (Endurance Cup)

November 14-16: Sargent Security Phillip Island 400 (Super Sprint)

December 5-7: Sydney 500 (Super Street)

The Grid

Red Bull Racing Australia (Triple Eight Race Engineering) - Holden VF Commodore

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Car 1: Jamie Whincup

Endurance Co-Driver: Paul Dumbrell

If Jamie Whincup manages to claim a fourth straight V8 Supercars championship in 2014, it would be his sixth overall, making him the most successful driver of all time. The man who engineered him to five titles, Mark Dutton, has been promoted to team manager, elevating David Cauchi to the lead role on car one. Paul Dumbrell will ride with Whincup again in September and October, despite costing the team a Bathurst victory in 2013.

Car 888: Craig Lowndes

Endurance Co-Driver: Steven Richards

The most popular driver in the field once again had a successful year in 2013. He won the first race of the new era, became the winningest driver in ATCC/V8SC history, and won the inaugural Pirtek Endurance Cup with Warren Luff. Despite all the successes, Lowndes came in second to his teammate in the standings for the third year in a row. It is hard not to see him being a championship contender again, and with the team having signed defending Bathurst champion Steven Richards, Lowndes is a favorite to repeat as winner of the Enduro Cup.

Ford Performance Racing - Ford FG Falcon

Car 5: Mark Winterbottom

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown.

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Frosty finally got the Bathurst monkey off his back last year in a thrilling finish against arch rival, Jamie Whincup. The late season resurgence came too late for the Ford faithful's hero and Winterbottom came up short of the championship once again. For the third year running, the man with the second coolest name in racing will work with a different engineer.

Car 6: Chaz Mostert

Endurance Co-Driver: Paul Morris

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

"The Chaz" was loaned to Dick Johnson racing in 2013, where he quickly impressed, taking a win at Queensland Raceway. In what will be his first full-time year, the young gun will benefit from the tutelage of his seasoned teammate. FPR has paired him with the controversial Paul Morris for Sandown, Bathurst, and the Gold Coast. Morris is most well known for being the last non-rally driver in the world who wears an open face helmet.

Car 18 (Team Jeld-Wen): Jack Perkins

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

The son of the legendary Larry, Jack has a full-time gig for the first time in four years and for the first time in a Falcon. Perkins engineer will be the same one who guided the struggling Alex Davison to a late season podium, last year.

Car 55 (The Bottle-O Racing FPR): David Reynolds

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Between tossing plants off podiums, making David Wall jokes, and angering Bieber fans on Twitter, there is really no way you can hate David Reynolds. After finally breaking through in the final endurance race of 2013, "Daffid" will be keen to show he is a championship contender in 2014.

Brad Jones Racing - Holden VF Commodore

Car 8: Jason Bright

Endurance Co-Driver: Andrew Jones

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

The high moment of 2013 for Bright was winning the Jason Richards Memorial Trophy at the Pukekohe round. Competing in his 15th full-time season, Bright reckons this is his best chance to win the title in years. If he is to put the number one on his BOC Commodore, BJR will have to remain consistent throughout the whole year, rather than starting strong and fading half way through as they did in 2013.

Car 14: Fabian Coulthard

Endurance Co-Driver: Luke Youlden

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Fabian Coulthard had a breakout year in 2013, winning his first career race at Tasmania. Like his teammate, he started the year strong, faded halfway through the year, and returned to form later in the year. Consistency is the key if they are to be taken seriously in 2014.

Car 21: Dale Wood

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

That's right, folks! You will be able to shout "GO DALE" in more than just one racing series this year! Wood drove for Dick Johnson Racing last year in the enduros and won the Dunlop Development Series Championship. This can be considered Wood's first proper full-time ride; Dale only started the first ten races of the 2009 season.

Tekno Autosports - Holden VF Commodore

Car 97: Shane Van Gisbergen

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

He never received his omelette from Magnus Racing at the Rolex 24, but he did receive all of our love after his gutsy, courageous driving at the Bathurst 12 hour. The crazy Kiwi started the year with a win and ended in the same manor, but this year, he will run without a teammate. Jonathon Webb had to step down and sell the Paul Morris Racing Entitlements Contract to DJR at the end of 2012

Holden Racing Team/Walkinshaw Racing - Holden VF Commodore

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Car 2: Garth Tander

Endurance Co-Driver: Warren Luff

Holden's most dedicated driver won two races in 2013, but says he may leave the factory outfit if they are unable to produce results this season. While sporting one of the best looking cars on the grid, the lanky Western Australian will be joined by one of the two men who won the Pirtek Endurance Cup last year. The power of Gnocchi in the endurance events and HRT's other major signing may be enough to produce the results Tander wants.

Car 22: James Courtney

Endurance Co-Driver: Greg Murphy

The black cloud that had been hanging over Kurt Busch's head moved its way down under to torment James Courtney at the end of last season. A string of DNFs while running strong culminated at Phillip Island when Alex Premat viciously slammed into the driver's side door of the #22 HRT Commodore. The violent accident broke his leg, causing him to miss the final round. Adrian Burgess – who was race engineer for Courtney in his 2010 title winning campaign – is now managing director at HRT.

Car 47: Tim Slade

Endurance Co-Driver: Tony D'Alberto

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

After surviving a hellish season as an Erebus pilot in 2013 and after six winless seasons in V8s, it was time for a change. Slade moves to the Walkinshaw seat vacated by Russell Ingall and with a much stronger outfit than last year, it would not be surprising if he finally made it to the top step in 2014.

Car 222: Nic Percat

Endurance Co-Driver: Oliver Gavin

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

The 2011 Bathurst co-champion finally has a main game ride after spending last year in the Porsche Carrera Cup. Percat filled in for the injured James Courtney in the final round of 2013, finishing 18th on Saturday and 24th on Sunday. Oliver Gavin, the Corvette factory driver who ran the Bathurst 12 hour in preparation for October, will join the rookie for the season of endurance.

Valvoline Racing GRM/Volvo Polestar Racing – Volvo S60

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Car 33: Scott McLaughlin

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

Volvo. Garry Rogers. Scott McLaughlin. How can you NOT love this? The last driver to win the Australian Touring Car Championship, Robbie Francevic in 1985, was also a Kiwi. The affable McLaughlin won two races for GRM in his rookie year and at just 20-years-old becomes a factory driver for the Swedish manufacturer.

Car 34: Robert Dahlgren

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The Swede competed in WTCC and STCC for Volvo Polestar Racing will control one of their V8 Supercars in 2013. Dahlgren will be under extra pressure considering the lack of success Maro Engel and Alex Premat have experienced in the last two years.

Nissan Motorsport – Nissan Altima

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Car 7: Todd Kelly

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The older Kelly finished 25th in last year's championship, the lowest of any Nissan driver.

Car 15: Rick Kelly

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The younger of the two Kelly's finished 14th in the 2013 standings, the highest placed of any driver for Mercedes or Nissan. If the updated Altima is to have success in this year's championship, it will most likely come from this man.

Car 36 (Norton Hornets): Michael Caruso

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

Michael Caruso had an average season in 2013, with the highlight being a second place at Winton. He too will be looking for stronger runs with what should be a faster Altima.

Car 360 (Norton Hornets): James Moffat

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The son of the great Allan Moffat, James became the first driver to win in a Nissan in 20 years when he crossed the line at Winton last August.

Erebus Motorsport – Mercedes-Benz AMG E63

Car 4: Lee Holdsworth

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Out of everyone steering one of the new manufacturer's cars in 2013, no one experienced as much bad luck as Lee Holdsworth. The Victorian failed to finish five straight races between Darwin, Townsville and Hidden Valley in the middle of the year, but once the reliability came, so did the results. Holdsworth netted an impressive fourth place at the Sandown 500 with Craig Baird and a fifth place at the Gold Coast 600 with David Brabham.

Car 9: Will Davison

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Will Davison's move from Ford Performance Racing to the Erebus outfit was well known long beforeanannouncement was ever made. The Betty Klimenko run team hopes that their expensive signing will pay off and help deliver the squad's first victory. Davison finished fourth and third in his last two seasons with FPR and second in 2009 with HRT, the same year he won the Bathurst 1,000.

Dick Johnson Racing – Ford FG Falcon

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Car 16: Scott Pye

Endurance Co-Driver: Ash Walsh

Between the hard hit at Tasmania and flying off the ground in Perth, Scott Pye had a tough rookie year driving for Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport. Now with the rejuvenated Dick Johnson Racing, Pye will have another opportunity to show his skill.

Car 17: David Wall

Endurance Co-Driver: Steven Johnson

From one Wilson Security team to another, Wall moves from the third BJR car to the infamous car 17 in 2014. Steven Johnson (not the Geelong Cats footballer) will return to his father's team for the enduros after running them with Erebus in 2013.

Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport – Holden VF Commodore

Car 23: Russell Ingall

Endurance Co-Driver: Unknown

The 2014 V8 Supercars Championship Megaguide

Wait, didn't Russell Ingall retire at the end of last year? He did, but the "Enforcer" was not keen on sitting at home until September. Lucas Dumbrell signed the 50-year-old to pilot their Commodore, hoping that he will be able to guide the scaled-down team in the right direction.

How To Watch

Although still unconfirmed, it is believed that V8 Superview will continue to provide live streaming for international viewers in 2014. 7Sport will broadcast the races live in Australia for the last time. In 2015, Network Ten and Fox will gain the rights to V8 Supercars.

DannyCatSteve is a fan of most forms of motor racing, but V8 Supercars is his greatest passion. You can follow him on Twitter @dannycatsteve.

(Banner image provided by V8 Supercars. Shane Van Gisbergen, Dale Wood, Lee Holdsworth images wikipedia commons and public domain fair use. Will Davison's car image provided by TouringCarTimes. Walkinshaw Racing photos provided by speedcafe.com. Nissan Motorsport picture provided by their official Twitter account. All others found on teams respective websites.)