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The ultimate guide to the Bathurst 1000

The Bathurst 1000— Australia’s motorsport event of the year, requiring no introduction for the V8 rev heads and motor racing enthusiasts who live for The Great Race each year.

For over 60 years, car racing at Mt Panorama has stopped the nation in its tracks. From the golden era of Ford vs Holden rivalry to the exciting next generation in V8 Supercars, Bathurst always has been regarded as the ‘Grand Final’ of touring car racing

Whether you’re a die-hard V8 fan or new to the exhilarating world of Supercar racing, here’s your ultimate guide to Australia’s favourite car race, the Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama.

The Race

The Bathurst 1000 is a 1000 km race held on the Mount Panorama Racing Circuit near Bathurst, NSW. Regarded as the premier motorsport event in Australia, it’s 161 laps are collectively known as The Great Race by fans and the media alike. While always being classed as touring car racing, currently the race is a battle of the V8 Supercars.  Race winners are presented with The Peter Brock Trophy, named after 9 times winner and one of the most popular drivers from the 1960s, who to this day is still known as “The King of the Mountain.”

Your Bathurst 1000 weekend guide

Scored a ticket to the Bathurst 1000?  Here’s all the incredible things you can expect from a wild weekend of V8 Supercar racing at Mt Panorama.

V8 Supercars

2021 will see a bumper 24-grid take on the 2021 Repco Supercars Championship in Bathurst. This year is set to be the final season of current Ford Mustang and Holden ZB Commodore racing before the Gen 3 rules are introduced next year. The end of an era? Absolutely. Even more reason to get yourself trackside and make yourself part of history.

Race circuit

There’s no car racing circuit in Australia quite like Mt Panorama. Despite being a public road most of the year, the hairpin turns, long hills, and exhilarating descents have made it one of the most admired—and challenging— tracks in the world. Check out our detailed run down of the Mt Panorama circuit, including a circuit map of it’s famous turns and straights.

Bathurst 1000 schedule

The schedule for the Bathurst 1000 hasn’t been released yet, but we do know there will be some changes this year due to COVID-19 restrictions. Doors to the public will open between 8am and 8:30am across the four days but due to allocated seating requirements, there won’t be the usual mad rush to find the best seat on the hill. Keep your eyes peeled for further schedule announcements.

Lap records to beat

The current outright Bathurst lap record is held by Christoper Miles, who set a hair raising time of 1:59.2910 during the 2018 Challenge Bathurst on 16 November 2018, driving a GT3-spec Audi R8 Ultra. 

In 2011 Jenson Button lapped the mountain in 1:48.80 driving his McLaren F1 car, however, the time was not set during an officially sanctioned session.

For all you Supercar Championships fans, the fastest lap in this category is held by Chaz Mostert, who on October 13, 2019 set a cracking pace to complete a lap in his Ford Mustang GT in 2:04.7602. Could 2021 be the year we see records being smashed by a new King of the Mountain?

Things to do at the Bathurst 1000

Heading to Bathurst for the Bathurst 1000? While your weekend might be filled with V8 Supercar action on the track, there’s plenty of other activities to keep you entertained in the charming city of Bathurst.

National Motor Racing Museum – If you’re heading to Mt Panorama for The Great Race, you’ve simply got to stop by the National Motor Racing Museum to pay your respects to a half century of fascinating Australian motor racing history. 

Visit the local wineries and eateries – Bathurst is finding a name for itself as one of Australia’s premium destinations for small, family owned wineries and world-class eateries. Make sure you book ahead if you’re coming for the Bathurst 1000, because as things get crowded, bookings can be hard to come by

Drive a purpose-built V8 race car – The premier bucket list experience that only a select few ever have the fortune to tick off their list. With Fastrack V8 you can drive a purpose built V8 race car on Mt Panorama just like one of your racing heros, or jump in the passenger seat as a legend of the Mountain takes you for a hot lap. Make sure you get in quick, the 2021 event is selling out quickly, so secure your spot now.

Can you camp at Bathurst in 2021?

Currently, all campsites for the 2021 Repco Bathurst 1000 are expected to be open at full capacity.

Bathurst 1000 quick facts

  • Race distance: 1000 km
  • Number of laps: 161
  • Track: 6.213km
  • Corners: 23
  • Most victories: Peter Brock with 9 wins
  • Race time: Approx 6-7 hours
  • Since 2006 the margin of victory has only been greater than a second, twice

Early history of Bathurst 1000

Funnily enough, the history of the Bathurst 1000 doesn’t begin in Bathurst, and the race wasn’t 1000km! Despite being the most famous car race in Australia, the Bathurst 1000 started life as the Armstrong 500, on Phillip Island near Melbourne, in November 1960. At the time, the event was promoted as the world’s premier production saloon car race. The 500 mile (800km) race came with an impressive prize pool for the era (£11,000) and was split into 5 classes based on engine size.

Some of the great names in Australian car racing took to the track. Both Harry Firth and the legendary Bob Jane were champions with a Mercedes 220 SE and Ford Falcon XL taking the honours between them.

After two years at Phillip Island, the Armstrong 500 needed a new home. The road between the island and the Victorian mainland was prone to breaking under the strain of the long race, meaning a more established circuit was required after severe damage occurred during the 1962 race.

The epic Mt Panorama circuit in Bathurst was chosen as the new home of the Armstrong 500, just as the race was becoming the main event on the motorsports calendar. While the official name ‘Bathurst 500’ didn’t come along until much later, contemporary Aussie slang of the time was already calling the race, “The Bathurst Special”. 

By the late 1960’s the Bathurst race was internationally renowned and a landmark event in Aussie sport. 

Peter Brock arrives on the scene

The late ‘60s were a golden era in Australian motorsport history. Peter Brock made his racing debut in 1966, starting a glittering career that would see him become the most successful drivers in Bathursts history, claiming race honours an incredible nine times. Today, winners of the Bathurst 1000 are awarded the Peter Brock Trophy in honour of his great legacy.

The golden era of Bathurst: 1970s-1990s

During the late 60’s the success of the big V8’s in taking on The Mountain over smaller engines established Mt Panorama as the undisputed home of V8 racing. At the time, cars had to be raced “as is” from the manufacturer—a far cry from today’s incredible Supercar V8s that are purpose built for performance. 

In 1973, arguably the biggest development to the Bathurst 1000 took place, with the race being extended to its iconic 1000km distance. The name was also changed to the Bathurst 1000 to reflect the recent upgrade.

However, it wasn’t just the circuit that was expanding. Camera technology in the 70’s was progressing rapidly, meaning that the viewing experience for fans at home was beginning to match some of the excitement felt by the punters trackside. With all the excitement of the race beamed into Australian living rooms, the Bathurst 1000 began to cement itself as the people’s race, ingraining itself into Aussie culture like Vegemite on toast. 

By the 1990’s the Bathurst 1000 was one of the most watched events on Australian television, beaten only by the Melbourne Cup in viewership numbers.

Ford vs Holden during the Golden Age 

It’s almost impossible to separate the iconic image of Bathurst from the greatest, most passionate rivalry in motorsport history. The battle of Ford vs Holden is etched in Aussie folklore, with allegiances to each car maker as fervent and heated as any football team.

Bathurst 1000’s golden era of Holden vs Ford rivalry paved the way for drivers to become household names. Multiple title winners like Mark Skaife, Craig Lowndes, Peter Brock, Larry Perkins and Jim Richards were as successful at the sport as they were in spreading its popularity across the country.

Gen 3 – the next generation of V8 Supercars at Mt Panorama

As we look to the next generation of V8 Supercars, there’s excitement in the air with the unveiling of the new rules package dubbed, ‘Gen 3’. GM’s Chevrolet Camaro will be on the lineup with preparations well underway to have the cars race ready by 2022. In the meantime, 2021 is the last year to enjoy Ford Mustang and Holden ZB Commodore at Bathurst, and we don’t want to miss a second of it.

 

Ready for the ultimate Bathurst 1000 V8 experience?

With Fastrack V8 Race Experience, now you can be King of the Mountain for a day by taking on Mt Panorama in a purpose-built V8 race car!

Our V8 racing car drive and hot lap experiences are premier bucket list experiences for anyone who calls themselves a Bathurst 1000 fan.

Take The Mountain on yourself or get in the hot seat as the legendary John Bowe shows you what it took to make him a winner in the early ‘90s.

2021 experiences are booking out fast, so purchase a gift voucher or secure your spot, today! 

There’s no thrill quite like it.

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