The sun rises over pit straight prior to the Bathurst 1000, which is round 11 of the V8 Supercars Championship Series at Mount Panorama on October 13, 2013 in Bathurst, Australia.

Like all of the other major events on the Motorsports calendar, the 2018 Bathurst 1000 is highly anticipated. The annual ‘great race’ around Mount Panorama is the peak of the endurance races on the Virgin Australia V8 Supercars championship series.

And it is this weekend! So it is all in preparation for the great race.

All in Preparation for the Great Race – the 2018 Bathurst 1000

Some might say that ‘it starts the day after the chequered flag drops’ but in essence, teams competing in the Great Race make preparations right up to the weekend in October. The Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000 is not the climax of the season, but for the majority, it is the highlight of the year.

Indeed, teams during the 2018 V8 Supercars season have been developing architecture, parts and aero kits, that will all combine to withstand the rigors of a 1000 kilometer race, over 161 laps.

And like other long-distance races like Spa, the build-up and preparations are just one part of the process. In the months, weeks and days prior, it is up to the collective efforts of teams in the Virgin Australia V8 Supercars Championship, Dunlop Super2 Series and all of the support classes across the weekend. A five-day carnival, that began today with the annual teams and driver’s parade through the streets of Bathurst, NSW.

After the festivities, signings and fan engagement opportunities, drivers will make the time honoured tradition – walking the track, to feel the history and take in the awesome sensation, of the track gradient and surface condition. After that session, Thursday and Friday become the most important period to set-up cars for the weekend.

Ultimate prize of Endurance Events

Not only will the winning team at the 2018 Bathurst 1000 walk away with the kudos of a title, but they will also be rewarded with a more valuable prize. As well as the accolade, 300 competition points will be added to that individual driver’s points.

So as of right now, Shane van Gisbergen leads his fellow Kiwi Scott McLaughlin, the monster points available could assist either Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes or David Reynolds (2017 winner), to add the crucial points that will count for plenty at the end of the season.

And while the numbers are an important factor in the modern, closely-fought competition, the sheer determination and – for some more than others – luck, all play their part. Luck in the pay-off from strategy, outright speed and in the cut-and-thrust of driving on the track.

Yet, even from past experiences, each driver will tell you that ‘you make your own luck’. That is by qualifying well, holding position near the lead early, executing driver changes and the mandatory brake-pad changes – all before the mad dash for the chequered flag.

A dash which, in recent years, has seen finished to the great race where the margin of victory has been less than 10 seconds. Astounding after 160 plus laps, but an example of the closeness of the racing, as well as the parity of the engineering.

Manufacturers defining moments on Mt Panorama

While the Virgin Australia V8 Supercars championship is surely the grand prize for a driver, the outcome of the Great Race is widely appreciated. By race teams, sponsors and most of all, manufacturers.

Like in the other great races, the winning brand is key. Manufacturers of the Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon, and Nissan Altima will all be ‘backing their teams’. General Motors and Ford in the United States, as well as Nissan in Asia – each has a wider program than simply claiming a Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000 trophy. That goes to the driver and his co-driver. The teams and manufacturers have bigger ambitions.

The Ford Falcon however, is likely to be represented in the lead competition, for the final year. The ‘blue oval’ will drop the four-door saloon for the desirable Ford Mustang package in 2019. It will be a fresh approach, and for race fans, that will be something to look forward to.

But as popular as the marquee brands find the widespread attention of the great race to be, it is the attention on the small town in New South Wales that is a yearly attraction. The public road is sealed off from Thursday to Sunday. The speed limit is tossed aside, as the V8 powerplants rev to their limits.

Who will win? That prediction can be left to the newspapers and commentators. For fans, for the spectators and competitors, it is an annual event. One that some teams, and some families, return to year-after-year.

The Great Race schedule: Thursday October 4 –

Practice 1 9:35am – 10:35am
Practice 2 – Co-drivers Only 12:55pm – 1:55pm
Practice 3 3:05pm – 4:05pm

 

Friday Oct 5 –

Practice 4 – Co-drivers Only 8:30am – 9:30am
Practice 5 11:15am – 12:15pm
ARMOR ALL Qualifying 3:50pm – 4:30pm

 

Saturday Oct 6 –

Practice 6 10:00am – 11:00am
ARMOR ALL Top Ten Shootout 5:10pm – 5:55pm

 

Sunday Oct 7 – Supercheap Autos Bathurst 1000: 11:00 am to 5:30 pm* (AUS)

* check with your local broadcaster for Race start times and scheduling.

 

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