Want to know why this year’s Bathurst 1000 is worth watching? Here are four storylines to get you excited.
Scott McLaughlin throws caution to the wind
Scott McLaughlin is sitting pretty in the 2019 Supercars championship heading into Bathurst. His nearest rival is Shane van Gisbergen, 598 points adrift of the DJR Team Penske driver.
Both the Bathurst 1000 and following Sandown 500 events award 300 points to the winner, meaning McLaughlin could crash out of both, and only relinquish the lead of the championship if van Gisbergen has the good fortune to win each race.
Why is this important? Well, traditionally the championship leader going into Bathurst will keep things on the conservative side, because they don’t want to give up all-important points. McLaughlin is having the most dominant season in Supercars history, meaning he can go all-out to win his first Bathurst title.
The 2017 Supercars champion has already given his Bathurst rivals an ominous warning in the first day of running for the 2019 race, lowering his existing lap record from two years prior.
Ford fans will be supporting McLaughlin, with the Mustang having zero Bathurst 1000 victories against its name in the record books, despite having raced at The Mountain multiple times throughout history.
Instead of playing it safe, expect McLaughlin and his co-driver Alex Premat to adopt a ‘win it or bin it’ mentality on Sunday, in order to give Ford fans their first Bathurst win in five years
David Reynold’s redemption
Erebus Motorsport is named after the Greek God of Darkness, and has somewhat fittingly become the dark horse of the Supercars paddock.
It hasn’t had the consistent success of the big two teams Triple Eight and DJR Team Penske, but Erebus consistently punches above its weight and keeps the front runners looking over their shoulders.
In 2017, Erebus claimed victory in a rain-soaked race with their star driver David Reynolds. It was one of the most popular victories in recent history.
It looked like the Little Team That Could was set to go back-to-back last year, with Reynolds starting the race in pole position, and running at the front of the pack for most of the race.
However, in the closing stages, things took a turn for the worse, with Reynolds suffering from severe exhaustion and cramps. He was forced out of the car, with his co-driver Luke Youlden finishing the race instead. The footage of the obviously distressed and disoriented Reynolds as he sits in the pits is harrowing to see.
This year, the pit lane joker will be looking for redemption, and his early weekend pace looks promising!
The Dream Team is back together
One of the most successful driver pairings in Bathurst 1000 history is Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes.
The duo spent four year’s racing together between 2006 and 2009. In that period they won the first three in a row, and never finished outside the top five.
Now, with Lowndes retired from full-time racing, the Dream Team are back together. Lowndes is the reigning race winner, while Whincup hasn’t tasted victory at The Mountain since 2012 following a series of blunders in recent years.
Pre-race favourites? You bet.
Record book writers to be busy
This year’s Bathurst 1000 looks set to be one for the ages, with a number of key stats and records being threatened.
The race is forecast to be run in clear conditions, and the early pace indicates last year’s record for the quickest Bathurst 1000 could be usurped. Currently standing at 6 hours and 1 minute, 44 seconds, if the race record is beaten it could be the first time a Bathurst 1000 is completed in under six hours.
Practice pace has also indicated that a 2:02 lap in a Supercar could happen this weekend, which was once thought impossible.
Historic stuff. Make sure to watch all the action on Sunday.