The most eagerly awaited race of the Australian Supercars Championship round is finally upon us.

The Circuit

Mount Panorama Circuit

Mount Panorama Circuit
Location Bathurst, New South Wales Circuit Length 6.213 km
Opened 1938 First Held 1960
Direction Anticlockwise Race Lap Record 2:06.149 – David Reynolds  2018

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.

The Event

2019 Australian Supercars Championship – Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
Event Dates 10-13 October 2019 Format Enduro Cup
Free Practice Session 1 Thu 09:55-10:55 Free Practice Session 2* Thu 12:45-13:45
Free Practice Session 3 Thu 16:00-17:00 Free Practice Session 4* Fri 08:25-09:25
Free Practice Session 5 Fri 11:05-12:05 Preliminary Qualifying Sat 16:00-16:40
Free Practice Session 6 Sat 09:40-10:10 Free Practice Session 7* Sat 12:10-12:40
Top-10 Shootout Sat 17:05-17:50 Warm-Up Session Sun 08:20-08:40
Race 25 (161 laps) Sun 11:30-18:30

Session times quoted in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (UTC/GMT + 11:00)

Rewind to 2018

Last year’s Bathurst 1000 saw the veteran duo of Craig Lowndes and Steven Richards claim a fairytale victory for Triple Eight Race Engineering, marking a fitting final win in Lowndes’ full-time touring car career ahead of his retirement at the end of the season.

David Reynolds and co-driver Luke Youlden lead for over 80% of the race before Reynolds was forced to hand back control of his Erebus Motorsport Holden to Youlden after succumbing to severe cramps.

With 27 laps remaining, Lowndes took the lead and went on to achieve his seventh Bathurst 1000 win and the Peter Brock Trophy ahead of the fellow Commodore of Scott Pye and Warren Luff who secured a rare podium for the Walkinshaw Andretti United stable. Rounding out the top-three was the DJR Team Penske Ford Mustang of Scott McLaughlin and Alex Prémat.

Pre-race favourites Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell saw their chances of victory slip away early due to a loose wheel parting from the Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore following a pit stop.

The second Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden of James Courtney and co-driver Jack Perkins was forced to retire prematurely due to an oil issue. Former Bathurst winners Tickford Racing also had dramas with Cam Waters and Chaz Mostert making contact, causing Mostert to finish well down the order.

The Runners

2019 Australian Supercars Championship – Bathurst 1000 Entry List
# Team / Entry Driver Co-Driver
2. Walkinshaw Andretti United Walkinshaw Andretti United Scott Pye Warren Luff
3. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Garry Jacobson Dean Fiore
5. Tickford Racing Lee Holdsworth Thomas Randle
6. Tickford Racing Cameron Waters Michael Caruso
7. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Andre Heimgartner Bryce Fulwood
8. Brad Jones Racing Nick Percat Tim Blanchard
9. Erebus Motorsport David Reynolds Luke Youlden
12. DJR Team Penske Fabian Coulthard Tony D’Alberto
14. Brad Jones Racing Tim Slade Ashley Walsh
15. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Rick Kelly Dale Wood
17. DJR Team Penske Scott McLaughlin Alexandre Prémat
18. Charlie Schwerkolt Racing Mark Winterbottom Steven Richards
19. TEKNO Autosports Jack Le Brocq Jonathon Webb*
21. Tim Blanchard Racing (BJR) Macauley Jones Dean Canto
22. Walkinshaw Andretti United Walkinshaw Andretti United James Courtney Jack Perkins
23. 23Red Racing Will Davison Alex Davison
27. Walkinshaw Andretti United^ Walkinshaw Andretti United Alexander Rossi James Hinchcliffe
33. Garry Rogers Motorsport Richie Stanaway Chris Pither
34. Garry Rogers Motorsport James Golding Richard Muscat
35. Matt Stone Racing Todd Hazelwood Jack Smith
55. Tickford Racing Chaz Mostert James Moffat
56. Kostecki Brothers Racing^ Brodie Kostecki Jake Kostecki
78. Kelly Racing Kelly Racing Simona de Silvestro Alex Rullo
88. Triple Eight Race Engineering Jamie Whincup Craig Lowndes
97. Triple Eight Race Engineering Shane van Gisbergen Garth Tander
99. Erebus Motorsport Anton de Pasquale Will Brown

^ Wildcard entry

The Form Guide

Series leader Scott McLaughlin has dominated the season thus far with his 598-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship standings equating to almost two full rounds. With a maximum of 300 points up for grabs this weekend, the New Zealander can afford to go for broke in an event where he has been historically unlucky.

If previous experience is anything to go by, the favourites for this year’s race is the Triple 8 duo of Jamie Whincup and defending race-winner Craig Lowndes who reunite as a driver pairing for the first time since 2009. The duo has combined to claim three successive Bathurst 1000 victories between 2007-2009 and a fourth could well be on the cards.

On the other side of the garage, the team’s other combination of Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander are also major contenders to win at The Mountain.

McLaughlin and his co-driver Alexandre Prémat will join forces once again to pilot the #17 Shell V-Power DJR Team Penske Ford Mustang, which has consistently been the fastest car in 2019. It will be the Mustang’s first outing at Mount Panorama, with a potential unknown being how the car will perform with the parity adjustments handed out before the previous Auckland SuperSprint round.

Keep an eye out for the Tickford Racing duo of Chaz Mostert and James Moffat in the Supercheap Auto sponsored Mustang. Mostert has been a star performer for the Tickford stable in what has been a hit-and-miss season for the team – he is a former Bathurst 1000 winner in 2014 but threw away a shot at victory last year when he took out teammate Cam Waters.

Back for another crack at victory is the Erebus Motorsport paring of David Reynolds and Luke Youlden. The duo dominated last year’s race until Reynolds succumbed to severe muscle cramps, which destroyed the pairing’s shot at back-to-back victories. The memories of last year will be the motivation Reynolds needs to get back on the top step of the podium.

Image via Supercars

The following two tabs change content below.