With no title fight to consider, Scott McLaughlin’s lead an unassailable 305 points, and one of the most stacked co-driver fields ever seen, the stage is set for a thrilling Great Race.
Adding to the pre-race intrigue is a number of significant uncertainties, led by a sheer lack of miles for the co-drivers.
Traditionally co-drivers take part in ride days, test days and dedicated practice sessions throughout the season, while many race in other categories.
There was also meant to be a 500-kilometre two-driver race at The Bend in the lead-up to the Bathurst 1000.
However, thanks to the pandemic, ride and test days have been all but wiped out this year, few categories below Supercars have regularly raced, and Supercars’ visit to The Bend was scaled back to a pair of single-driver events.
Also, while it’s a high-quality co-driver field, there is very little consistency in terms of partnerships. Only the two Triple Eight entries (Jamie Whincup/Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander), the #15 Kelly Mustang (Rick Kelly/Dale Wood) and the #12 Penske Ford (Fabian Coulthard/Tony D’Alberto) carry over from 2019.
A final potential banana skin is the return of refuelling, which hasn’t been in play since the season-opening Adelaide 500 way back in February.
Despite all the uncertainty, there is little in the way of surprises when it comes to the four main contenders.
Both Red Bull Holdens head into the race as two of the outright favourites, while Tickford’s Cam Waters – who won last time out at The Bend – has a formidable co-driver in Will Davison.
Perhaps a narrow standalone favourite, however, is reigning winner and ow three-time series champion McLaughlin, who will partner up with former full-timer Tim Slade.
Beyond those four favourites, the impressive co-driver field means the list of potential winners and podium placers is long.
The likes of Chaz Mostert and Warren Luff (Walkinshaw Andretti United) are likely to be in the mix, as will Coulthard and D’Alberto.
Brad Jones Racing, meanwhile, has paired lead driver Nick Percat with Super2 front-runner Thomas Randle, while Erebus Motorsport will be looking to use Bathurst to bounce back from a tough 2020 campaign, both the David Reynolds/Will Brown and Anton De Pasquale/Brodie Kostecki entries capable of a result.
Some shuffling at Tickford has seen the reunion of an experienced pairing in Lee Holdsworth and Michael Caruso, too, who finished third when they last raced together at Bathurst in 2009.
There are seven Great Race debutants in the field – Kurt Kostecki, Jordan Boys, Broc Feeney, Dylan O’Keeffe, Zane Goddard, Tyler Everingham and Jayden Ojeda.
Those last two will team up in the race’s only wildcard entry run by Garry Rogers Motorsport, Nathan Herne having originally been named in that line-up with Everingham before being refused a Superlicence exemption by Motorsport Australia.
With Alex Premat unable to travel to Australia due to international border restrictions, a reigning winner will miss the Bathurst 1000 for the first time since Paul Morris didn’t race in 2015.
The most notable absentee, however, is the Richards name. Between legendary father-son duo Jim and Steve Richards the family has been represented on the Bathurst grid every year since 1973, the pair racking up 12 wins between them along the way.
2020 Supercars Bathurst 1000 session times
Thursday October 15
- 8:55-9:15 Combined Historics – Practice 1
- 09:30-10:30 Supercars – Practice 1
- 10:45-11:05 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Practice 1
- 11:20-12:00 Super2/Super3 – Practice 1
- 12:10-12:30 Aussie Tin Tops – Practice 1
- 12:45-13:45 Supercars – Practice 2 (co-drivers)
- 14:00-14:20 Combined Historics – Practice 2
- 14:30-14:50 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Practice 2
- 15:05-15:45 Super2/Super3 – Practice 2
- 16:00-17:00 Supercars – Practice 3
Friday October 16
- 8:35-8:55 Aussie Tin Tops – Practice 2
- 9:10-9:30 Combined Historics – Qualifying
- 9:45-10:45 Supercars – Practice 4 (co-drivers)
- 11:00-11:20 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Qualifying
- 11:35-11:55 Super2/Super3 – Qualifying
- 12:10-13:10 Supercars – Practice 5
- 13:25-13:45 Aussie Tin Tops – Qualifying
- 13:55-14:15 Combined Historics – Race 1
- 14:25-14:50 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Race 1
- 15:05-15:50 Super2/Super3 – Race 1
- 16:05-16:45 Supercars – Qualifying
Saturday October 17
- 8:35-8:55 Combined Historics – Race 2
- 9:10-10:10 Supercars – Practice 6 (co-drivers)
- 10:25-10:50 Aussie Tin Tops – Race 1
- 11:35-12:35 Supercars – Practice 7
- 12:50-13:15 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Race 2
- 13:30-13:50 Super2/Super3 – Qualifying
- 14:05-14:25 Combined Historics – Race 3
- 14:40-15:05 Aussie Tin Tops – Race 2
- 15:20-15:45 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Race 3
- 16:00-16:45 Super2/Super3 – Race 2
- 17:05-17:50 Supercars – Top 10 Shootout
Sunday October 18
- 8:40-9:00 Supercars – Warm-up
- 9:15-9:40 Aussie Tin Tops – Race 3
- 9:55-10:20 Toyota 86 Racing Series – Race 4
- 11:30 Supercars – Bathurst 1000
Every driver racing in the 2020 Bathurst 1000
|Team||Driver #1||Driver #2||Car|
|Walkinshaw Andretti United||Bryce Fullwood||Kurt Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Walkinshaw Andretti United||Chaz Mostert||Warren Luff||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Macauley Jones||Tim Blanchard||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Jack Smith||Jack Perkins||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Nick Percat||Thomas Randle||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Brad Jones Racing||Todd Hazelwood||Jordan Boys||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Tickford Racing||Lee Holdsworth||Michael Caruso||Ford Mustang GT|
|Tickford Racing||Cameron Waters||Will Davison||Ford Mustang GT|
|Tickford Racing||James Courtney||Broc Feeney||Ford Mustang GT|
|Tickford Racing||Jack Le Brocq||James Moffat||Ford Mustang GT|
|Kelly Racing||Andre Heimgartner||Dylan O’Keeffe||Ford Mustang GT|
|Kelly Racing||Rick Kelly||Dale Wood||Ford Mustang GT|
|Erebus Motorsport||David Reynolds||Will Brown||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Erebus Motorsport||Anton De Pasquale||Brodie Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB|
|DJR Team Penske||Fabian Coulthard||Tony D’Alberto||Ford Mustang GT|
|DJR Team Penske||Scott McLaughlin||Tim Slade||Ford Mustang GT|
|Team 18||Mark Winterbottom||James Golding||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team 18||Scott Pye||Dean Fiore||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team Sydney||Alex Davison||Jonathon Webb||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Team Sydney||Chris Pither||Steve Owen||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Matt Stone Racing||Zane Goddard||Jake Kostecki||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Matt Stone Racing||Garry Jacobson||David Russell||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Triple Eight Race Engineering||Shane van Gisbergen||Garth Tander||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Triple Eight Race Engineering||Jamie Whincup||Craig Lowndes||Holden Commodore ZB|
|Garry Rogers Motorsport||Tyler Everingham||Jayden Ojeda||Holden Commodore ZB|