2013 Bathurst 1000 Preview 2013 Bathurst 1000 Preview 2013 Bathurst 1000 Preview

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…

The Circuit

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.

David Reynolds drove on of the best races of his career, missing out on a win by the narrowest of marginsOne 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 Drivers

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 Holden Jamie Whincup Paul Dumbrell
2. Holden Racing Team Holden Garth Tander Nick Percat
3. Tony D’Alberto Racing Holden Tony D’Alberto Jonny Reid
4. Erebus Motorsport AMG Lee Holdsworth Craig Baird
5. Ford Performance Racing Ford Mark Winterbottom Steven Richards
6. Ford Performance Racing Ford Will Davison Steve Owen
7. Nissan Motorsport Nissan Todd Kelly David Russell
8. Brad Jones Racing Holden Jason Bright Andrew Jones
9. Erebus Motorsport AMG Maro Engel Steven Johnson
10. Triple 8 Engineering Holden Andy Priaulx Mattias Ekström
12. Dick Johnson Racing Ford Chaz Mostert Dale Wood
14. Brad Jones Racing Holden Fabian Coulthard Luke Youlden
15. Nissan Motorsport Nissan Rick Kelly Karl Reindler
17. Dick Johnson Racing Ford Tim Blanchard Ashley Walsh
18. Ford Performance Racing Ford Alex Davison John McIntyre
19. Tekno Autosports Holden Jonathon Webb Marc Lieb
21. Brad Jones Racing Holden David Wall Chris Pither
22. Holden Racing Team Holden James Courtney Greg Murphy
33. Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Scott McLaughlin Jack Perkins
34. Garry Rogers Motorsport Holden Alexandre Prémat Greg Ritter
36. Nissan Motorsport Nissan Michael Caruso Daniel Gaunt
47. Erebus Motorsport AMG Tim Slade Andrew Thompson
55. Ford Performance Racing Ford David Reynolds Dean Canto
66. SuperCheap Auto Racing Holden Russell Ingall Ryan Briscoe
80. Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden Scott Pye Paul Morris
88. Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport Holden Dean Fiore Matt Halliday
97. Tekno Autosports Holden Shane van Gisbergen Jeroen Bleekemolen
360. Nissan Motorsport Nissan James Moffat Taz Douglas
888. Triple 8 Engineering Holden 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!

Yassmin Abdel-Magied

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.