Dubbed ‘The Great Race’ for a very obvious reason, the Bathurst 1000 is one of Australia’s greatest annual motorsport events, held every year at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit in Bathurst.
This year’s installment – the fifty-first running of the marathon event – will see a field of 29 cars and driver pairings do battle over a 161-lap race, and it will be a crucial chapter in a closely-fought championship battle.
Take a look at our event preview for the SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000…
|2013 V8 SUPERCARS SUPERCHEAP AUTO BATHURST 10000
|Date:||10-13 October 2013|
|Venue:||Mount Panorama Circuit, Bathurst, New South Wales|
|Lap Length:||6.213km / 3.859mi|
|Race Lap Record:||2:08.4551, Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon BF) – 2007|
|Event Schedule:||Free Practice Session 1||Thu 10:20-11:00|
|Free Practice Session 2 (co-drivers only)||Thu 13:15-14:00|
|Free Practice Session 3||Thu 15:35-16:25|
|Free Practice Session 4||Fri 09:40-10:25|
|Free Practice Session 5||Fri 11:05-11:55|
|Preliminary Qualifying Session||Fri 15:00-15:40|
|Free Practice 6||Sat 10:05-10:55|
|Top-10 Qualifying Shootout||Sat 17:00-17:45|
|Sunday Warm-Up||Sun 07:25-07:45|
|Feature Race (161 laps, 1,000km)||Sun 10:30-17:15|
|Past Winners:||Jamie Whincup / Paul Dumbrell (Holden Commodore VE II)||2012|
|Garth Tander / Nick Percat (Holden Commodore VE II)||2011|
|Craig Lowndes / Mark Skaife (Holden Commodore VE II)||2010|
|Garth Tander / Will Davison (Holden Commodore VE)||2009|
|Craig Lowndes / Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon BF)||2008|
|Craig Lowndes / Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon BF)||2007|
|Craig Lowndes / Jamie Whincup (Ford Falcon BA)||2006|
|Mark Skaife / Todd Kelly (Holden Commodore VZ)||2005|
|Greg Murphy / Rick Kelly (Holden Commodore VY)||2004|
|Greg Murphy / Rick Kelly (Holden Commodore VY)||2003|
Located just south of the central New South Wales town of Bathurst, the Mount Panorama circuit is one of the most recognised motor racing venues in the country, and is truly regarded as a Mecca of Motorsport.
Nicknamed ‘The Mountain’, the track design is unusual by modern standards, with a 174-metre vertical difference between the track’s lowest and highest points, with gradient changes being as steep as 1:6 in some parts.
The flat-out blasts along Mountain and Conrod straights will see the cars reach speeds of close to 300km/h, while the twistier section along the top of the escarpment is a supreme test of driver skill: the walls are so close in parts that a slight error can prove catastrophic to a driver’s race.
The very first race held at the circuit was the 1938 Australian Grand Prix, and since then, the venue has gone on to host some of the biggest races in the country.
Rewinding to 2012
Last year’s event was marked with plenty of celebrations before the event even kicked off, with this being the event’s fiftieth running. Many of the teams unveiled commemorative liveries in honour of the event, creating a very colourful grid.
The Ford Performance Racing pairing of Will Davison and John McIntyre claimed pole position after a late rain shower ruined the hopes of some of the potentially faster runners who had made the Top-10 Shootout.
Despite some first-lap pressure from a fast-starting Paul Dumbrell (paired with Whincup), Davison held onto the lead after a tense side-by-side battle through the opening corners.
The focus of the race quickly became one of tyre management, with Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom both tumbling down the order after being forced to pit with tyre failures in the first twenty laps.
Their potential loss was negated by an early safety car interruption – which saw the rest of the field pit – and when racing resumed, incredibly it was Lowndes’ teammate Whincup who had to pit again with his own tyre failure, giving the lucky Lowndes the lead.
Another Safety Car – this time triggered by Nick Percat crashing out – allowed Whincup to work his way to the front of the field before he pitted and handed the reins back to Dumbrell, who was able to maintain his pace despite being pitted against many cars’ full-time drivers.
By two-thirds’ distance, the difference between teams’ pit strategies was becoming apparent, with Whincup/Dumbrell opting for shorter twenty-lap stints, while others aimed to stretch their races out with fewer pit stops.
One driver to opt for the latter path was David Reynolds, who vaulted into second place ahead of the run to the chequered flag. Both Whincup (now back in the car after taking over from Dumbrell) and Reynolds would run for the remainder of the race ahead of a hard-charging James Courtney.
Courtney turned up the whick and passed Reynolds, but in his efforts to get ahead of the Ford he’d overcooked his tyres and the positions were ultimately reversed.
That left Reynolds – blessed with much better fuel economy – free to chase down Whincup, who was becoming increasingly marginal on fuel as the finish neared. Reynolds quickly reeled the champion in, but Whincup ultimately proved to have enough in hand with some excellent defensive driving, denying Reynolds a maiden race win by three-tenths of a second.
For those of you with about five hours to spare, check out the entire race below:
The driver pairings for the Bathurst 1000 are essentially the same as those seen at the previous championship round, the Wilson Security Sandown 500.
There is just one change – or rather, addition – of note.
A third Holden Commodore has been awarded a wildcard entry and will be run by the Triple Eight Engineering stable, with DTM veteran Mattias Ekström and three-time World Touring Car Champion Andy Priaulx forgoing their traditional Audi/BMW rivalry to partner up in a car sponsored by xBox One.
While Priaulx has plenty of experience racing on the challenging Mt Panorama circuit, this will be Ekström’s first outing at the circuit or in a V8 Supercar, and after three practice sessions yesterday, the Swede admitted he was still coming to grips with the tortuous circuit.
“I would say this is the biggest task of my career. I can say now after doing some laps that this circuit is the most difficult to learn,” he told the Speed Café website.
“The cars are really powerful and the track is so demanding. It’s a great experience to drive Mount Panorama circuit although after 10 laps I was mentally used because its not very forgiving place.”
Ekström is one of four international drivers making his first V8 Supercars appearance on ‘The Mountain’, with fellow co-drivers Marc Lieb and Jeroen Bleekemolen (both driving for Tekno Autosports) and Erebus Motorsport full-time driver Maro Engel being the others. Of the quartet, Bleekemolen is the only driver to have prior experience at the circuit, having raced on it in the Carrera Cup and Bathurst 12 Hour events.
2013 V8 Supercars SuperCheap Auto Bathurst 1000 Entry List:
|No.||Entry / Team||Lead Driver||Co-Driver|
|1.||Triple 8 Engineering||Jamie Whincup||Paul Dumbrell|
|2.||Holden Racing Team||Garth Tander||Nick Percat|
|3.||Tony D’Alberto Racing||Tony D’Alberto||Jonny Reid|
|4.||Erebus Motorsport||Lee Holdsworth||Craig Baird|
|5.||Ford Performance Racing||Mark Winterbottom||Steven Richards|
|6.||Ford Performance Racing||Will Davison||Steve Owen|
|7.||Nissan Motorsport||Todd Kelly||David Russell|
|8.||Brad Jones Racing||Jason Bright||Andrew Jones|
|9.||Erebus Motorsport||Maro Engel||Steven Johnson|
|10.||Triple 8 Engineering||Andy Priaulx||Mattias Ekström|
|12.||Dick Johnson Racing||Chaz Mostert||Dale Wood|
|14.||Brad Jones Racing||Fabian Coulthard||Luke Youlden|
|15.||Nissan Motorsport||Rick Kelly||Karl Reindler|
|17.||Dick Johnson Racing||Tim Blanchard||Ashley Walsh|
|18.||Ford Performance Racing||Alex Davison||John McIntyre|
|19.||Tekno Autosports||Jonathon Webb||Marc Lieb|
|21.||Brad Jones Racing||David Wall||Chris Pither|
|22.||Holden Racing Team||James Courtney||Greg Murphy|
|33.||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Scott McLaughlin||Jack Perkins|
|34.||Garry Rogers Motorsport||Alexandre Prémat||Greg Ritter|
|36.||Nissan Motorsport||Michael Caruso||Daniel Gaunt|
|47.||Erebus Motorsport||Tim Slade||Andrew Thompson|
|55.||Ford Performance Racing||David Reynolds||Dean Canto|
|66.||SuperCheap Auto Racing||Russell Ingall||Ryan Briscoe|
|80.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Scott Pye||Paul Morris|
|88.||Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport||Dean Fiore||Matt Halliday|
|97.||Tekno Autosports||Shane van Gisbergen||Jeroen Bleekemolen|
|360.||Nissan Motorsport||James Moffat||Taz Douglas|
|888.||Triple 8 Engineering||Craig Lowndes||Warren Luff|
Make sure you visit the RichardsF1.com website throughout the weekend for all the latest news, highlights and gossip from Bathurst!