The biggest race on the calendar is finally upon us, and there’s no hiding that it’s our favourite time of the year!
Welcome to Bathurst… it’s the longest race and the hardest to win. There are so many variables that can influence Sunday’s result – small mistakes, fuel economy, Safety Cars, strategy, pit stops and even the weather.
Although we were the quickest on track (and quick enough to claim the race lap record), those things didn’t pay in our favor last year.
It’s safe to say, we’re out to make amends this year! Here’s some stats to kick it all off…
History lesson: This year marks the 57th running of the Bathurst endurance classic.
What makes this track unique: The amount of elevation changes the cars experience across one lap – TV just doesn’t do it justice!
Grip levels: Good – one of the better tracks since it was resurfaced three years ago, although it will require some rubbering up to begin with.
Tyre degradation: Low, and it’s generally cancelled out by fuel burn, making the cars faster down the straights!
Run-off: Plenty down the bottom of the hill, but none up the top!
Safety cars: The Safety Car has appeared in all but two races since it was introduced in 1987.
Watch out for: Forever changing track conditions – it’s very easy to tune the car for current conditions and not what you will face in the later stages of the race.
Don’t forget: We need to minimize mistakes – the car that wins hasn’t always been the fastest, it’s the one to make the least mistakes.
FROM THE DRIVERS
David Reynolds – #9 Erebus Penrite Racing
“Bathurst is the biggest race of the year and it’s the one you want to win the most. Honestly, you never know how you’ll go heading into the weekend and especially going back to the older hard tyre. Even though we performed quite well on that tyre towards the end of last year, our setup and direction has changed quite substantially with the introduction of the new tyre. Al (McVean) has a strong confidence in our new direction though, he said it should be a lot better for grip and balance in general. I’m really looking forward to seeing how we go, we’ve got a few ideas up our sleeve to try over the weekend that we haven’t tried at a race track yet so I’m looking forward to it. There’s always a risk in doing that, everything we do has a risk and reward factor but it pays to be risky, especially around Bathurst.”
Luke Youlden – #9 Erebus Penrite Racing
“I’m going into the weekend feeling very confident; I think our car will be fast and Dave’s obviously fast around Bathurst. I usually go pretty well around here as well so I think we’ve got all the ingredients, we just need to make sure we put it all together in the right way and get a result. I’ve been confident with this car all year and had a felling it was going to be fast which it has been, so I don’t see any reason why it won’t be this weekend. Luck is always something you need on your side, but you have to create your own luck; you need a car that is still going to be fast at the end of the race, so you need one you can tune throughout the course of the day. Even though we go back to the old hard tyre, there’s always been issues with tyre around Bathurst, so we need to make sure our race isn’t decided by a tyre failure or something similar to what we had at Sandown.”
Dale Wood – #99 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing
“Bathurst is by far my favourite place and somewhere I have had pretty good success so I always go there with lots of confidence. We had a lot of good stuff to take away from Sandown and there are plenty of positives to take into this weekend. I’m looking forward to getting back on the older hard tyre, I think it will spice things up a bit, and I think we can potentially go quite well. I don’t believe being back on the old tyre will cause any issues, we roll out on it as of first practice and it’s never that comfortable doing your first few laps around here, you’re eyes wide open and I think all the rest of it will fall into place quite naturally and quickly.”
Chris Pither – #99 Erebus GB Galvanizing Racing
“I’m really looking forward to this weekend, I can’t wait to get back there. Sandown was a really good weekend overall and coming off the back of that I’m feeling confident. We had lots of potential there and unfortunately there were a few things on Sunday that hindered our result but overall, we had some good pace and I think Bathurst should be no different. Bathurst certainly has more hype around the event but there’s no more pressure than any other race, we have the same focus and same goal.”