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Australia’s largest race is one of the largest in the world. Tuning in takes some effort, but the effort is rewarded.

The United States has the Indianapolis 500. France has the Le Mans 24 Hours. Australia has the Bathurst 1000.

Bathurst may not have the world fame of the 500 or Le Mans, but it has long been Australia’s most important and popular race. It’s an unconventional one, however; 1000 kilometer (620 mile) endurance touring car racing in the large, RWD, V-8 powered Australian Supercars series cars that don’t quite seem to fit the semi-permanent Mount Panorama circuit. The races are highlighted by the difficulty of the track itself, especially the narrow uphill and downhill sections that give the track its name. These difficulties include real kangaroos hopping across the track every few years.

As the Mount Panorama Circuit has become a mainstay in games such as Forza, Gran Turismo and iRacing, the once unknown track is becoming more and more popular with international racing fans. It has 23 turns over less than 4 miles, but the real highlight is the way the track is actually laid out. The start-finish straight is similar to a traditional racetrack, with a right angle at both ends and large run-off areas. But from Griffin’s Bend (Turn 2) the route becomes a narrow climb up and down a steep mountain with a total of 571 feet of elevation gain. Then suddenly the difficult corner exit at Forrest’s Elbow (turn 18) leads down the connecting rod straight to a hard braking zone at the chase (turns 20 to 22) and back to the start / finish line. It’s a track with extreme contrasts that is amazingly fast and like no other in professional racing.

It is the perfect stage for the race, which since its inception has been best known as the site of a great rivalry between Holden and Ford . Ford closed its Australian operations back in 2016 and General Motors closed the Australian brand Holden in 2020, but the series won’t replace this generation of cars with new agents from the company’s American outlets until 2023, so the rivalry for the next two Bathursts on the right track. A Ford or a Holden has won every race on the track since the Australian Supercars series won a split battle for rights with more traditional touring car categories in the late 1990s; Since Mercedes, Nissan and Volvo have long left the series, this triumphant advance will continue this year.

After the champions of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 series, Scott McLaughlin, left the Supercars series for IndyCar in the past off-season has, the favorite before the race is the recently crowned series champion of the 2021 series Shane van Gisbergen. He and co-driver Garth Tander may face the greatest threat from their teammates at Triple Eight Racing, the # 88 run by Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup. In the 2000s, the two were considered the best riders in the series, winning three Bathurst 1000s together while chasing separate championships. Now, Lowndes has long since retired to only take on passenger duties, and Whincup is stepping down from full-time competition to take over the helm of the Triple Eight Racing team. Their ride together in this Bathurst, their third since Lowndes retired, will be remembered.

While Whincup has won the race four times, he has not won since 2012. In the 2014 race, he led on the final lap exiting the mountain complex before being overtaken by Chaz Mostert and eventually running out of fuel. Every Bathurst win is meaningful, but a Bathurst win as the main driver alongside longtime teammate Lowndes would be a perfect end to one of the greatest careers in Australian racing history.

Unfortunately, the Bathurst 1000 isn’t exactly over-the-air – To see television in America. The best way to watch the race is to subscribe to the Australian supercars series’ streaming service SuperView for the weekend. This can be accessed via YouTube, which in turn works with smart TVs. The race broadcast starts at 8:15 p.m. Eastern Time and ends at a generous 3:00 am.

Ref: https://www.roadandtrack.com