BATHURST, AUSTRALIA – The sleepy town of Bathurst in New South Wales Australia comes to life once a year for the run of the epic 1,000 mile race known as the Bathurst 1000. Mount Panorama Circuit is one of the most fearsome tracks in the world sometimes referred to as the “Blue Hell.” This year was a memorable year with previous records being smashed. Team Red Bull’s Craig Lowndes and co-driver Steven Richards won the race finishing in the shortest time on record. This was Craig’s 6th win at the mountain. Teammate Jamie Whincup, was the fastest man on the mountain turning the fastest qualifying lap of 2 min 4.9 sec, and a new race lap of 2 min 7.1 sec.
Unfortunately for Whincup, he managed to finish only 18th due to a pit-lane penalty levied on the Holden driver after he passed the safety car following a crash by Scott Pye midway through the race. No telling at this point to why Whincup made such an elementary error, but he also disregarded team instructions to pit during the caution period. "Scotty Pye was in the fence and then I understood why we came in two laps early,” commented teammate Lowndes. “I didn't understand why Jamie didn't follow us in. But look, we'll analyse that this week and make sure that it doesn't become a problem in the future and move on.”
The scariest tale of the weekend was Team Pepsi driver Chaz Mostert’s horrifying crash during qualifying ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n_ehZQUAsAQ ). As Mostert was approaching “the Dipper,” he missed his apex on turn 16, grazing the wall and ricocheting him nearly head on into the outside wall of turn 17. Mostert’s car slammed into the track marshal’s safety enclosure resulting in injuries to three of the officials. "My biggest fear was for the safety of the marshals but to hear none were seriously injured is a big relief," Mostert said in a team statement, "I'm really sorry for the team as it was my error that put us out and also destroyed a car. I just lost my racing line due to a bit of sun glare and glanced the wall. I just want to say thanks to everyone in the V8 Supercars medical team for their care following my accident today. From there I was a passenger and took some pretty big hits." Mostert suffered a broken leg and wrist requiring surgery.
Another interesting story at the Bathurst was the all-female Harvey Norman Supergirls entry of Indy-driver Simona de Silvestro and Renee Gracie. The girls did not receive exactly a hero’s welcome with V8 legend Dick Johnson commenting that it was a million-to-one chance of them finishing the 166-lap race. Adding insult-to-injury, Gracie’s own Ford teammate earned a $25,000 fine for referring to the entry as “the pussy wagon.” The race did not go so well for the girls when on lap 15, Gracie stuffed the Ford into the wall after driving through some fluid left by the Volvo of David Wall. After a long stint in the garage, de Silvestro emerged and was able to complete the remaining 108 laps of the race. "It's a bit disappointing," said Gracie who will return to Bathurst with de Silvestro next year. "We were off to a great start, had a great strategy and I caught the guys pretty quickly, commented Gracie. “But unfortunately I was the first who caught the oil and found the wall."