Australian Drivers and Domestic Popularity

My good friends on Twitter: Jeremy Scott and Dylan, just asked me to compare the validity of the statement “Marcos Ambrose one of the most famous racers in your country.”

So to give you all an idea of the most popular drivers, I’ve done a search for the phrase of the drivers name on Google Australia (with the “pages from Australia” checkbox on, so it only returns domestic page). I’ve put the top 15 Australian ranked drivers in the Castrol Driver Rankings as my test.

Without further ado:

Mark Webber (Formula 1): 124,000 pages
Craig Lowndes (V8 Supercar): 81,100
Jamie Whincup (V8 Supercar): 70,300
James Courtney (V8 Supercar): 52,400
Garth Tander (V8 Supercar): 46,600
Mark Winterbottom (V8 Supercar): 46,300
Steven Johnson (V8 Supercar): 38,500
Rick Kelly (V8 Supercar): 31,800
Marcos Ambrose (NASCAR): 26,000
Will Davison (V8 Supercar): 18,200
Will Power (Indycar): 16,200+
Ryan Briscoe (Indycar): 11,300
Daniel Ricciardo (Formula Renault 3.5): 6,470
John Martin (Superleague): 3,390+
David Brabham (Sports cars): 2,800

+ added word “racing” to filter search results to correct level.

This in my view, is about correct in terms of how I think the drivers are known here.  Certainly any of the overseas drivers who don’t race here at all, have no profile, but Webber’s profile as a possible World Champion blitzes any other V8 Supercar driver on the popularity front.

Marcos Ambrose’s position on the list is more about his former career in V8 Supercar, than the impact of NASCAR in Australia. NASCAR the series itself is only marginally higher in profile than Indycar. Before Ambrose left Australia he would have been top 5 on this list, and would certainly have a level of recognition, although that’s tapered off slightly now he hasn’t raced in Australia in a long period.

The list correctly shows the strength of V8 Supercar over other motor sport categories domestically.

Will Power’s scores behind ahead of Briscoe’s is a symptom of both his name (that’s my name: You stay outta this, moustache), but also of his exposure in Australia from the Champcar days, and as a competitor in Australian championships. Briscoe, having less than 5 motor races in Australia total, has a far lower score for this reason.

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