It seems the more the V8 Supercar championship formula changes, the harder it is to remove Jamie Whincup from the equation.
On the eve of the category's biggest rule changes in almost 20 years last season, the then four-time champion said he felt like the "new kid on the block who hasn't won anything".
The introduction of the Car of the Future regulations brought an end to the Holden versus Ford duopoly and heralded the arrival of two new badges in Nissan and Mercedes.
It produced an unprecedented 13 different race winners in the 2013 season and one of the closest title fights in V8s history.
But in the end, Whincup prevailed to collect a record-equalling fifth crown in six years.
It's no surprise, then, that he enters the 2014 season a short-priced favourite. If successful, he will be heralded as the greatest-ever V8 Supercar driver with a record six championships to his name.
"He's got a very good car, he's very confident and he's very aggressive - so it all works," says Ford rival Mark Winterbottom.
But one constant that Whincup will be without this season is Mark Dutton, the race engineer who helped him to all five previous crowns with Triple Eight.
The mechanical mastermind was promoted to team manager in the off-season, replacing guru Adrian Burgess following his stunning defection to Walkinshaw Racing.
Teammate Craig Lowndes, who has finished the past three seasons runner-up to Whincup, doesn't reckon it'll make much difference and has thrown his support behind new engineer David Cauchi.
"I'm sure if Jamie and Cauchi have any issues, I'm sure Mark will help out. So I don't think it'll change too much," Lowndes said.
On the receiving end, however, is James Courtney, a dark horse for this year's title.
Courtney won his maiden V8 Supercars championship under Burgess at Dick Johnson Racing in 2010 and he is also joined by another big-name in technical director Mat Nilsson.
"So the whole top of the tree, I think, has gelled a lot better than it ever has since I've been here," said Holden Racing Team driver Courtney.
But that is far from the biggest change of the year.
After a 28-year absence, Volvo returns with two factory-backed entries run by Garry Rogers Motorsport.
Their arrival brings to five the number of manufacturers on a reduced 25-car grid - something not seen since 1992 when Ford, Nissan, BMW, Holden and a Toyota were part of the field.
Many predict Volvo's S60s will outperform last year's seven debutants, given the best of the four Nissan Altimas and three Mercedes AMG E63s - Rick Kelly - finished 14th.
"Knowing Garry Rogers, he builds good solid cars," Lowndes said.
Despite losing long-time title contender Will Davison to Erebus, Ford Performance Racing, with drivers Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert, remains the biggest threat to Whincup and Lowndes' championship hopes.
They will no doubt be battling it out with Brad Jones Racing, who are expected to build on last year's success through Fabian Coulthard and Jason Bright.
The 39-race championship begins this weekend with the Clipsal 500 in Adelaide.