Power Rankings: Bathurst 1000
The big one is done and dusted once again, leaving a whole lot to unpack. So, let’s get into it…
ABOUT THE RANKINGS: The TRT Power Rankings are compiled by your nominations from social media and edited by the TRT editorial team. They’re designed to give a balanced, as fair as possible critical overview of those things that excelled and those things that struggled, at each event. It’s (mostly) a democracy, and what you nominate generates the order, so have your say next event via our social media channels, @theracetorque on Facebook, Twitter and Insta. Look for the call out each evening and get commenting!
1. The Bathurst 1000 is Back
After last year’s mud bath and a lack of a top-ten shootout, this year, it truly felt that Mount Panorama had returned to form after the pandemic slump.
Awesome crowds provided a great vibe, as the camping grounds sold out in minutes.
Long may it last.
2. Shane van Gisbergen/Richie Stanaway/Triple Eight Race Engineering
Three big storylines played out on Sunday afternoon for car 97.
While some pundits exclaimed that Shane van Gisbergen has already checked out, those barbs clearly only added fuel to the flame.
Yes, his practice and qualifying form aren’t necessarily what we expect from SvG, but with an eye to Sunday, he absolutely nailed it in nursing home an ailing car in the closing laps.
He sets sail to America with three replica Peter Brock Trophies, the same number as Dick Johnson, and can now be considered a certified Bathurst ace.
For Stanaway, the remarkable turnaround from his 2019 retirement to wildcard returnee, to Bathurst victor to full-time driver in 2024, is fairytale stuff.
The duo were only the second all-Kiwi team to claim the crown, following in the footsteps of Greg Murphy/Steven Richards back in 1999.
And what about Triple Eight Race Engineering, who captured their tenth Bathurst success?
While Peter Brock was never able to crack a tenth win in 13 subsequent visits to The Mountain following on from his final crown in 1987, T8 didn’t muck around in converting nine victories into ten.
The winningest team ever in the event now has to find a new magic combo to defend the crown in 2024.
Feeney and Whincup? Or Will Brown and Scott Pye, as rumours suggest?
3. Brodie Kostecki/David Russell
So damn close, bar for a mid-race strategic call that lamentably went against the team, when they failed to duplicate car 97’s lead in taking splash of fuel under safety cars conditions.
This combo was all-conquering in the lead-up, and Brodie’s shootout lap was simply mega.
This scrappy collective of misfits just keep getting the job done in 2023, and are looking to maintain the rage right through to Sunday in Adelaide.
4. Anton De Pasquale/Tony D’Alberto
Quietly quietly, the number 11 Shell Mustang got the job done on race day, to lead the Ford Mustang brigade home.
Sure, there was the tyre-assisted win in Townsville, but on Sunday, this was the first time all year that the DJR equipe had put themselves in serious calculations at the pointy end of the field on merit.
And the sport is better when that happens.
5. Penrite Racing
This team looked sharp throughout race week.
David Reynolds and Garth Tander came home fifth on race day after a penalty, and despite Kevin Estre finding the fence early in the main event, he and Matt Payne soldiered on to claim 11th.
Ironic that they should have such a solid weekend when team owners Stephen and Brenton Grove were OS, racing in Indianapolis.
6. 60th Anniversary Celebrations
Throughout the venue, the 60th anniversary celebrations were very nicely done.
From the National Motor Racing Museum to Harris Park, to the pits, merchandise, TV segments and more, the event was a fitting tribute to the past.
Well done to those involved in having 16 of the 49 remaining Bathurst-winning cars on the property during the event.
7. James Golding
Genuinely giant killed in qualifying to place the Nulon Chevy second, and was solid in the shootout.
Given some more time to bed down the engineering combinations, this team has some genuine potential to continue to be a sneaky dark horse.
8. A Lack of Big Ones
Outside of Declan Fraser’s qualifying clanger (see: NOTS), the weekend was devoid of big-time equipment tear-ups, despite how tough the conditions were, on edge the cars were in qualifying trim, or how shagged the tyres were on race day.
Major equipment failures leading to errant cars into fences at high speeds failed to materialise, which is only a positive.
9. Chaz Mostert/Lee Holdsworth
The Walkinshaw Andretti United crew bounced back from the Sandown blues with a solid fourth on race day.
10. James Courtney/Zak Best
The leader of the Tickford crew, managed to claim sixth on Sunday despite not being particularly whelming throughout the weekend to that point.
After 43.5 hours on air, just a few of the things we loved include:
– AI slow-mo’s (as first reported on by TRT)
– The chopper cam
– The Chase fly cam
– Chad being thrown into the deep end with no notice and having a career weekend – someone give him one of the the big seats, please. Also his sucking up to the media centre was duly noted.
– Larko’s ‘This is our church’ intro with the Cortina drawing and the magic Bathurst lap
– The run the track intro with the endurance runner and his narration – very cool and emotive
– Larko being larko
– Andy Jones in support commentary land
– Shootout TV ratings being the best in five years
The final outing for this generation car was pure magic. Fingers crossed the 2024-spec machinery can race half as well as this model.
Well done to all of the young drivers in the field who battled hard, but kept it on the Mountain.
Carrera Cup Beef
When Harri King met Harry Jones at Bathurst, there were genuine fireworks.
Two international aces absolutely duking it out on the biggest stage was the highlight of a genuinely spicy Carrera Cup round.
Supercars Session Build-Up
This time around, they nailed the pump-up music, the countdown and the hype to Supercar sessions trackside, especially Sunday’s race. Special notice to the – Coun’t ’em – FIVE choppers hanging over the straight at the start of the race, and Nat Bass hanging onto to the end of the anthem long enough to get the F35 in on time.
2:02.5 in an Audi
Aaron Love/Jake Kostecki
Flying well under the radar, the second of the CoolDrive cars survived to come home the top Wildcard.
Who had money on that? None of us, that’s for sure.
Following on from the Sandown fracas, Super2 resisted the temptation to go full Super2, and turned on some entertaining races that had more twists and turns than Mount Panorama.
Tight at the top, which is all you could possibly ask for.
Following a Wednesday afternoon monsoon, flashbacks came thick and fast to 2022.
However, following some crisp mornings, the days were spot on.
Hope Remains for a Championship Showdown
Four races left, 600 points on the line, 131 points the difference at the top of the points table, SvG finishing with a wet sail and plenty to prove, and with the two finales to be contested on unforgiving street circuits, there is still plenty to play out…
Race Week on The Race Torque
There was plenty of content pushed out, see:
Mistakes were made…
I Guess Turf is Green…
Won’t Somebody Please Think of the Parity…
1. Not every race is a Great Race
The standard late-race safety car just never came to save the day. And you know what? It’s fine.
With the leading cars noted to be falling apart in the closing laps, an all-out war between the top teams would have been tasty.
Instead, barring mechanical catastrophe, car 97 was always going to cruise to the chequered flag following an extended green flag run in the second half of the race.
Not every race can be a thriller and this was much more a ‘traditional’ endurance race than it was a Bathurst sprint that we’ve become accustomed to.
Instead of talking up the many positive aspects of The Great Race, the narrative in the lead-up was dominated by ongoing parity chat.
On Thursday morning, Ford, and the Blue Oval teams issued a statement regarding their displeasure at the ongoing scenario.
In essence, their gripe was with the newly available CFD aerodynamics data, which showed a scientific imbalance between the Mustang and the Camaro.
Barry Ryan has come out in the media subsequently and has stated from his perspective, he was ok with changes to the Fords to even out the cars with some minor changes.
However, the mechanisms for change in the rule book had not been met to that point.
In the race, Ford was never genuinely in the conversation for outright honours, with the marque’s lack of pace ultimately resulting in the parity trigger finally being met, which will most likely see revisions made for the Gold Coast.
Through 24 races, race-winning capable organisations such as Tickford Racing, Walkinshaw Andretti United, Shell V-Power Racing, and Penrite Racing, continue to duke it out amongst themselves for the minor placings.
Fingers crossed, the entire sport can have a hard off-season reset, with the politics and nastiness of 2023 being left in the past.
3. Triple Eight’s Gearshift Mounts
Heartbreak for Broc Feeney, who was in line for a maiden Bathurst podium, while the Craig Lowndes/Zane Goddard wildcard pairing had their hopes crushed early.
4. Brad Jones Racing
BJR’s low-light reel from race day was extensive. Key points included Dale Wood being fenced, the Pizza Hut car smashing into the SCT Logistics car, and the R&J Batteries machine finally detonating its motor.
Even the best car of the lot – the Pink Middy’s machine of Bryce Fullwood and Dean Fiore – got into the wars before salvaging a good finish. At least they won the pit stop comp again, to exactly no one’s surprise..
5. James Moffat’s Prang
A very un-Moff-like moment when he glanced the wall at the Dipper, and fired into the outside fence, before parking in the middle of the pit entry.
Unlucky for Cam Waters, who missed out on a potential fourth straight podium.
6. Team 18’s Fuel
Ugh. While Scott Pye was able to get a splash and dash on the penultimate circuit, Mark Winterbottom stopped on the final lap for a gulp of fuel, and was trapped in the pit lane when SvG passed the finish line, registering as a DNF.
7. Booing at the Podium
It’s un-Australian. Don’t be dicks. Don’t boo at the podium.
8. Car 26’s Penalty
A contentious one from multiple perspectives, when the lead Penrite car of Reynolds/Tander was adjudged to overtake just on the wrong side of the safety car line. By the letter of the law sure, it was a penalty – but not one that fit the crime, for sure. Everyone else gets five seconds these days, and this probably should’ve too.
9. Kevin Estre in the Fence
Similarly, a costly error early in the race, that made for a long day.
10. Qualifying Crashes
Was in line for a massive underdog Super2 win on Saturday, until it sadly unravelled in the closing laps. Heartbreaking.
Hazelwood Uncool Failure
Fancy the starter motor falling out, and getting wedged under a car forcing its retirement? That’s a new and unusual one…
Cam Hill’s Pitlane Start
Clutch issues at the start saw the car start from the pits, and after a quick bleed, they were 30 seconds behind the field.
The car managed to run as high as third, but battled with the drama throughout the race.
No Friday Night Live
A staple of the race week coverage was missed by many punters.
After 31 years away, the big bangers were back on the big stage, the cars were cool, but the racing fell flat.
The first two races were more or less non-events after a pair of crashes, while the finale ran to duration after running a pair of warm-up laps. Anti climactic at best.. bring back TCM.
There sure was a lot of illness getting around the paddock over the event, with Neil Crompton struck down, and sadly missed as a part of the early coverage.
Tweetin’ Scotty Returns
TRT Delivering the Goods
Shake and Bake
Who else is in?
Around and around and around and around