On the heels of its third race win of 2017, Prodrive Racing (Australia’s) star studded team is ready to tackle the mountain in Australia’s greatest race, the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. The Campbellfield-based squad has finished in the top four in each of the last six “1000s,” and looks to return to the top step of the podium after wins in the Great Race in 2013 (Mark Winterbottom and Steven Richards) and 2014 (Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris).
Coming off its win in last month’s Sandown 500, Prodrive Racing appears to be hitting its stride at the right time for the most prestigious race on the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship calendar.
Young stars Cameron Waters and Richie Stanaway (#6 Monster Energy FG X) won the historic Sandown 500 from pole for their maiden Supercars victory. The pair are the talk of town heading into Bathurst, where Waters finished a team-best fourth with Jack Le Brocq in 2016. Winterbottom and Dean Canto (#5 The Bottle-O FG X) hope to continue the former’s string of strong finishes in odd-year Bathurst races (4th in 2011, 1st in 2013, 2nd in 2015).
Mostert and Steve Owen (#55 Supercheap Auto FG X) look to make amends for last year’s disappointing result, where a throttle cable failure ended their chances at victory in Mostert’s first Bathurst race since his 2014 win, having missed the 2015 race following a crash in qualifying.
Mark Winterbottom - co-driving with Dean Canto: #5 The Bottle-O PRA Ford
"We’ve got nothing to lose at the moment. We’re sixth in the points, we’ve had pretty good car speed the last couple of rounds, so the form leading in has been quite good, but we’ve got no pressure. So we’ll go out there, have a crack at it, put all our eggs in one basket and try and win the race. If you win Bathurst, it doesn’t really matter what happened during the year. That’s the big race for us. If we can win it, it’d be fantastic. That’s the goal, we’re going out to win. We’re not holding back, we’re putting it all out to try and win it.”
Cameron Waters - co-driving with Richie Stanaway: #6 Monster Energy PRA Ford
"Really pumped to go to Bathurst. Obviously it’s the biggest one of the year for us, I love going there, and I’ve got a lot of confidence after Sandown. We had a quick car, I drove it well and didn’t make any mistakes, I think we can take a lot of that to Bathurst and get a result. I finished fourth there last year, and it’s a track I have done pretty well at, which is encouraging. Up there, anything can happen, but I think we’ve got a good shot at winning it.”
Chaz Mostert -co-driving with Steve Owen: #55 Supercheap Auto PRA Ford
"Definitely looking forward to getting back to Bathurst. Last year was tough for us, we were right in on things before the throttle cable gave up, but we were strong again at Sandown, which is promising. The whole team is clicking better and better as the season goes, and obviously we’ve won before, so there’s nothing more we want than to get back to the top step of the podium. It’s Bathurst, right? You can’t get any better than that, and I can’t wait to get on track.”
"It’s always exciting to compete at Bathurst, and we feel we have as good a chance as anyone to win this one. Sandown was a great result for the team, and gives us a lot of momentum heading in. The team have worked tirelessly preparing for this race, and hopefully we get another great result in return. We have a bit of a target on our back now, but I think we’re ready to handle whatever the mountain will throw at us.”
EVENT NAME: Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000
DATE: 5-8 October
LOCATION: Bathurst New South Wales
EVENT NUMBER: 11 of 14
FORMAT: Thursday – 3 x 60-min practice (1 x co-driver only);
Friday - 2 x 60-min practice (1 x co-driver only), 1 x 40-min qualifying;
Saturday – 1 x 60-min prac, Top Ten Shootout (1-lap);
Sunday – 1 x 20-min warm-up, 1 x 161-lap race
CIRCUIT: Mount Panorama, Bathurst
DESCRIPTION: The fastest of all Supercar circuits, with cars reaching close to 300kph along Conrod Straight, Bathurst has it all. From a tight and twisting climb to the top of the mountain, to a fast flip / flop ride down that rewards bravery behind the wheel. Regarded as the best circuit in Australia, Bathurst is without a doubt a complex engineering exercise considering two drivers need to be comfortable with the car set-up and the race lasts for more than six hours.
TRACK RECORD: 2m04.91s – Jamie Whincup, 2016
PRA BEST RESULT: 1st – Mark Winterbottom & Steven Richards (2013), Chaz Mostert & Paul Morris (2014)