The Bathurst 1000. It’s the holy grail of Australian motorsport, the destroyer of reputations and creator of legends. An unforgiving heartbreaker, it’s our spiritual home of four-wheel racing passion and glory.
On Sunday October 7 at 11am, 54 drivers will team up to wrestle their 645bhp monsters for 161 gruelling laps around the 6.213km course that is Mount Panorama. Over six and half hours, limits will be stretched, strategies reworked and human emotions tested, with all hoping to be the first to 1000km and raise the Peter Brock Trophy.
The experienced pairing of 7-time Supercar Series champion Jamie Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell will start favourite. Their all-conquering Red Bull Holden Racing Team (RBHR) Commodore is short-priced favoutrite after its convincing victory at the Sandown 500 in September.
RBHR teammate Shane Van Gisbergen and newcomer Earl Bamber will be right on their bumper, as will perennial crowd favourite Craig Lowndes. Lowndes will be aiming for his seventh Bathurst win, alongside Steven Richards (4 wins) in their Autobarn Lowndes Racing Commodore.
Leading the charge for the Ford brigade will be flying Kiwi Scott McLaughlin and his French co-driver Alex Prèmat. They’ll be looking to bounce back from the disappointment of retiring last year after starting on pole in their DJR/Penske Shell V-Racing Falcon.
McLaughin’s teammate Fabian Coulthard will pilot the number 12 red Ford Falcon in a bid to win his first Bathurst 1000 after a best finish of third in 2017.
Simona De Silvestro in the Team Harvery Norman Nissan Altima, will be hoping to become the first woman to stand atop the dais at Bathurst come Sunday afternoon. The 30 year old former Indycar driver has spent the last two years learning the unique characteristics of the Supercars, growing in confidence and cementing her place in the series.
Last year’s winner David Reynolds returns with Luke Youlden in their Erebus Motorsport Commodore in a bid to go back to back. Surviving the chaos that was Bathurst 2017, they survived to bring their Commodore home just four seconds ahead of Scott Pye and Warren Luff.
For a test of mental and physical endurance, skill, team management and luck, nothing comes close to conquering what has become simply known as The Mountain. The heroics of Peter Brock, Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat and other legends of the sport are still spoken about in awe amongst those who return year after year. It’s an annual pilgrimage to watch their favourite four-wheel gladiators do battle, corner after corner, lap after lap, no quarter given.
And in a first for Fox Sports and Australian sport, this years Bathurst 1000 will be beamed across the nation in 4K HD . The race will be broadcast ad free on Foxtel’s dedicated 4K Channel (444) and their regular 506 sports channel.
Come sundown Sunday, two drivers will have survived all the mountain can throw at them. When they raise the Peter Brock trophy and celebrate long into the night, it will be nothing short of history making.