It’s a difficult time for F1 following the events of the Japanese Grand Prix as they head (controversially) to the Inaugural Russian Grand Prix at Sochi – scene of the Winter Olympic Games.
We here at Carwitter will have our eyes on one of the biggest touring car races of the season (it’s not the ones at Brands Hatch but we’ve got that covered too!)
The Supercheap Auto Parts Bathurst 1000, the premier tin top race in Australia. 1000km, 6 hours, driver changes, V8 engines, passionate fans and, I think the only F1 support series featuring on our year out (the V8 Supercars race at the Melboure Grand Prix).
The Bathurst is probably the biggest motorsport event aside from the F1 or Moto GP in Australia. 1000km, 6 hours and driver changes.
Think 3 BTCC events, take all 9 races, run them back to back and have Plato and Tordoff, Neal and Shedden, Collard and Turkington swapping in and out of the car and your close.
While the Bathurst has often been THE race for the Australian tin top fan a number of “wildcard” entries have been involved over the years, Jason Plato, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Ben”the Stig” Collins and Swedish all rounder Mathias Ekstrom have all competed in the past in “The Great Race”.
Although at time of writing no one of note from outside the series had been included in the lineups.
OK so, it’s like an Aussie BTCC event but also a 6 Hour Enduro in V8s! Who do I need to watch?
Well, the main race should be between the Holden’s of Red Bull Racing Australia Triple 8 Racing (yes that Triple 8) of Jaime Wincup and Craig Lowndes. Lowndes however, is to be partnered by 2013 race winner Steven Richards so could the #888 car be the pre race favourite?
Mark Winterbottom is currently the best placed Ford in the championship (3rd behind the Red Bull pair) ahead of more Holden’s of Shane Van Gisburn, James Courtney and Fabian Coulthard – all of whom are more than capable of winning the event. But with co drivers and a marathon event ahead of them it’s anyone’s guess who will come out on top.
Ah yes the annual Ford / Holden party on the Mountain!
Yes but its moved on a bit since that, there are a few more interlopers now.
Nissan, Volvo and Mercedes Benz have all got teams in the series, and they’re not just there to make up the numbers all three are concentrating on success in the long term, although in a little bit of a transition at the moment with fewer entries (for this event) and new teams / manufacturers joining the fray, the future of V8 tin top racing in the southern (most of the time) hemisphere is looking very good indeed.
So where can I watch this awesome spectacle?
Well Motors TV have once again got you covered, 10.30pm on Saturday night gives you as live top ten qualifying shootout followed by live coverage of the race itself.
A short nap and a few energy drinks and you should be just about ready for the BTCC finale Sunday lunchtime, now that sounds like a weekend and a half!