The year was 1996. A fresh-faced Craig Lowndes was the Australian Touring Car champion, Triple Eight Race Engineering was founded in the UK, and wouldn’t you know it, it was the last year Mount Panorama played host to a single-driver event on the Supercars calendar. Time flies, aye?!
Fast forward to 2021, and the Supercars season kicks off on the holy grail…Bathurst – a year that carries massive significance for the team at Red Bull Ampol Racing. It’s Jamie ‘JDub’ Whincup’s 18th and final season as a full-time driver, and we begin Roland ‘RD’ Dane’s farwell tour as Team Principal, before handing the prestigious “boss-man” title to the former.
Our commander-in-chief-in-waiting is bursting at the seams to get back in the #88 hot seat, and he can’t contain his excitement…
“I’m pumped to kick the season off again. It’s quite exciting to be staring at Bathurst – it’s a world class circuit right at our doorstep, and it certainly makes sense to do both a sprint round and endurance race there,” JDub said.
“The 500-kilometer format we have for this round is the right mix I think; practice Friday, qualifying and shootout on Saturday and Sunday, and a race on each day over the weekend.
“I’m 100% excited to start the partnership with Wes (McDougall) as well – I think we all are. The entire engineering team work together these days, and we all have a combined philosophy. I think myself, Shane and the entire engineering group are looking forward to working with Wes and seeing what he has to bring to the table.”
Reigning Bathurst 1000 winner Shane ‘SVG’ van Gisbergen is looking to continue his late winning form from 2020 into the new season and is adopting a ‘back to basics’ approach for the upcoming season.
“I really want to get back to doing the simple things right – it’s what really hurt us last year,” SVG said.
“There’s no reason why we can’t be up the front, and it’s important for us to kick off the season on the right foot.
“I’m super excited to work closely with (Dave) Cauchi this year, and the entire engineering group are focused on getting early results.”
All of the on-track action from The Mountain kicks off Friday 26 February. Bring it on!