BATHURST 1000 FACTS
WHAT IS IT?
The Bathurst 1000 (Currently called the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000) is a 1,000 km race held at the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales. The Great Race – as it is known – is a part of the V8 Supercar Championship Series and is considered by many to be the pinnacle of motorsport in Australia. The race consists of 161 laps of the Mount Panorama Circuit and the cars are able to reach speeds of almost 300 km/h during the race. The most successful driver at Bathurst is Peter Brock, also known as the King of the Mountain.
The Peter Brock Trophy was introduced in 2006, following the death of the racing legend during a rally in Western Australia. The Trophy is inscribed with the words “King of the Mountain”. It weighs 2.5 kg and stands 50 cm tall.
Originally known as the Armstrong 500 (500 miles), the race was originally held at the Phillip Island Circuit in Victoria and was moved to the Mount Panorama Circuit in 1963, where it has remained since. The V8-only format that we know today did not come into effect until 1995. Prior to this, the race was contested by a range of different cars. The small Ford Cortina 500 and Mini Cooper dominated the race in its early years. Ford’s development and introduction of the V8 Falcon GT in 1967, followed by Holden’s Monaro GTS saw an end to the small car domination of the track. 1972 saw the first Bathurst victory for Bathurst legend, Peter Brock, in a 6-cylinder Torana GTR XU-1. In 1973, the race was changed from a 500 mile (800 km) race to a 1,000 km race as Australia shifted towards the metric system and was renamed the Bathurst 1000. V8’s dominated the rest of the 70’s and early 80’s. In 1985, the race adopted Group A touring car rules which allowed turbocharged cars such as the Ford Sierra RS Cosworth and the Nissan R32 GT-R Skyline (nicknamed Godzilla) into the Great Race. These turbocharged cars dominated the era and led another V8 racing legend, Mark Skaife, claim his first Bathurst victory. 1993 saw a rule change which placed the V8’s in their own class. In 1995, the race was limited to the V8’s only, paving the way for the modern V8 Supercar format of today.
MOUNT PANORAMA CIRCUIT
The Mount Panorama Circuit is 6.213 km in length and as the circuit is on a public road, it is technically a street circuit. The circuit features changes in elevation totalling to 174 meters with a steepest gradient of 1:6.13. For the Bathurst 1000, the start and finish lines are not actually in the same place. This is to ensure that the race is exactly 1,000 km. If the start and finish positions were at the same point, the race would be 1,000.293 kms in length.
THE PIT STRAIGHT
The Pit Straight it located at the bottom of the mountain circuit and is adjacent to the pit complex. The start and finish lines of the race are located on this short straight.
The first of twenty-three bends on the circuit, this 90 degree corner is thought to be named for the high number of crashes which have occurred there however, another explanation is of a tree stump which used to sit on the corner apex. Any motorcycle rider who hit the stump would be doomed to an eternity of death.
The Mountain Straight is 1.111 kms long, allowing drivers reach speeds of up to 250 km/h on the uphill climb. Prior to aerodynamic developments, drivers could easily become airborne when passing over the crest halfway up the straight.
This section of track was named after the Mayor of Bathurst, Mayor Griffin, who opened the circuit in 1938. This corner features a negative camber which can push drivers into the wall on the exit.
Featuring a pair of tight left corners which lead into a very steep 1:6 grade exit, the Cutting is a section of track in which it is virtually impossible to make a passing move. It can also be very difficult.
This section of track is named after Hughie Reid, the Bathurst City Engineer responsible for redesigning sections of the track to make it more suitable for Motor Racing. Reid Park features a right hand turn, followed by and uphill stretch into a left hand turn.
Featuring the highest point of the Mount Panorama circuit, the section begins with a steep drop before a climbing left hand turn.
This section features a blind, downhill, fast left hand corner which requires drivers to hug as tightly as possible to avoid running wide on exit. McPhillamy Park is also the location where die-hard fans camp from up to a week before the race. Some drivers say they are able to hear the cheers of these fans over their own engines through this section.
The beginning of the descent down the mountain, Brock’s Skyline features a sharp, descending right hand corner. Named after Bathurst driving legend, Peter Brock, the Skyline reference is to the visual effect of looking up at the corner from down the track.
The Esses are a series of left/right “S” shaped bends which feature the “Dipper”. This is a sharp, left hand corner which, prior to to safety changes, featured a dip in the surface, allowing cars to get two wheels off the ground.
Forrest’s Elbow or simply, “The Elbow” was gruesomely named after motorcycle rider, Jack Forrest, who wore his elbow away after laying his bike down and sliding down the section. The corner is a slow, descending left hander which leads on to the longest straight of the track.
A descending section, at 1.916 km in length, Conrod Straight is the fastest portion of the track. Modern V8 Supercars are able to nudge 300 km/h through Conrod Straight which features multiple crests. Five of the six deaths which have occurred on the circuit, have happened on Conrod Straight.
The Chase features the fastest right hand bend in Australia with most drivers arriving at the bend at 290 km/h. Following the right hand bend is a sharp left hand corner, followed by a second right hand corner which leads back onto Conrod Straight.
The final corner and lowest point of the Mount Panorama circuit, Murray’s corner is a 90 degree bend which is also a popular overtaking point as drivers compete to get in front while under brakes.
TRIVIA AND RECORDS
- The first race held at the Mount Panorama circuit was the 1938 Australian Grand Prix.
- The Australian Grand Prix was held at the Bathurst track four times (1938, 1947, 1952 and 1958).
- The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was also held at Mount Panorama numerous times between 1940 and 1988.
- Prior to 1973, the Bathurst race was a 500 mile (800 km) race.
- Peter Brock is the most successful driver at the Bathurst 1000 with nine wins to his name.
- The lap record for a V8 Supercar race is 2:08.4651, recorded by Jamie Whincup in 2007.
- The overall lap record for a V8 Supercar is 2:06.8012, recorded by Craig Lowndes in 2010 during practice.
- The fastest official lap set by any vehicle around the circuit is 2:02.6701 by Simon Hodge in a Mygale M11-Mercedes-Benz Formula Three car.
The fastest ever lap (unofficial) was set by Jenson Button in a McLaren MP4-26 Formula One car, at a time of 1:48.88.
- Holden is the most successful Manufacturer at the Bathurst 1000, with 29 victories.
- Ford has had 19 victories at the Bathurst 1000.
- Nissan has had 2 victories at the Bathurst 1000.
- The race-time record set by Jim Richards and Mark Skaife in their Nissan Skyline GT-R in 1991 (6h 19m 14.80s) was not broken until 2010, by Mark Skaife, partnered with Craig Lowndes in a Holden (6h 12m 51.4153s). These were also the first and last of Mark Skaife’s Bathurst victories.
- The current race record is 6h 11m 27.9315s, set by Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards in 2013.