Bathurst 1000: 2017 Race Form Guide

How the grid will shape up for the 2017 iteration of the 1000km classic, and how each entry could fare in the great race.

Built back in the late 1930s as a scenic tourist drive, Mount Panorama spends most of the year being just that, a quiet, winding drive for road cars and tourists visiting wineries or seeking spectacular views of Bathurst and the surrounding land.

But, for one week a year, the scenic drive becomes the Mecca of Motorsport in Australia, with fans, drivers, teams and plenty more making the epic pilgrimage to the Mountain for a chance to bathe in the glow of all its glory.

2017 shapes up as another great edition of the great Bathurst 1000 for the Supercars series, so lets take a look at how each entry could fare for the week.

  1. 1 Car #2 - Scott Pye/Warren Luff (Mobil 1 HSV Racing)

    Scott Pye, the man who replaced Garth Tander behind the wheel of the #2 Commodore when the team lost the Holden Racing Team banner at the end of the 2016 season, has found it a real struggle to find pace and consistency so far this year and will be hoping the Enduro period, and Bathurst, in particular, might offer him a chance at redemption.

    Paired with the experienced Warren Luff, a three-time podium finisher at Bathurst, Pye and the HSV boys will be hoping their first Bathurst in their new setup will provide some reprieve from an average season to date, with Pye 18th overall and fellow full-time teammate James Courtney in 20th.

    The team seem to have struggled with the loss of official backing from Holden and have fallen well behind the pace set by the Shell V-Power Falcons out of the DJR Team Penske garage and the new 'HRT' branded Red Bull Holden Racing Team where Jamie Whincup remains in the hunt for another championship title.

    Pye and Luff look to me like one of the pairings that could, if they keep their nose clean, pilot home for a top ten finish late in the day as others fall away or bite concrete, but they'll need to avoid all the issues and complications that a day at the Mountain can throw up.

  2. 2 Car #3 - Aaren Russell/Taz Douglas (Plus Fitness Racing)

    Car #3, prepared out of the Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport garage and piloted by Aaren Russell and Taz Douglas doesn't strike anyone as the sort of outfit that could trouble the announcer come podium time, but that's the beauty of the great race at Bathurst, just about any car can win the race if they keep their nose clean and take opportunities as they arise.

    In a car that has been through a few hands of late, these guys will need to avoid the big issues and try and keep pace with other mid-pack cars.

  3. 3 Car #4 - Tim Blanchard/Todd Hazelwood (Team CoolDrive)

    The first milestone for car #4 will be making on to the track for the big race on Sunday after co-driver Todd Hazelwood was sent in to one of the biggest crashes I've ever seen during the co-driver race for the grid on Saturday at the Sandown 500.

    It was entirely commendable that Todd jumped back in his Super2 car an hour or so later and attacked the same piece of road, and that bravery and desire will come in handy for the biggest test of the lot, the Bathurst 1000.

    Main driver Tim Blanchard has six Bathurst campaigns under his belt with a best result of 10th, which he achieved last year alongside Macaulay Jones and the pair will back themselves to put together a strong weekend and be in contention for a top 10 finish at the end of the day.

  4. 4 Car #5 - Mark Winterbottom/Dean Canto (The Bottle-O Racing Team)

    Former series champion Mark Winterbottom suffered a horror defence of his title last year across the entire championship season, and 2017 hasn't brought with it much relief for the Western Sydney boy.

    Trundling around in 6th place in the championship is far from a nightmare in the grand scheme of things, but for a proud team like Prodrive Racing Australia and a driver like Frosty, they'll have expected much better from themselves and they'll want to have fully come to grips with their machine by the time Bathurst rolls around.

    Support amongst the Ford faithful seems to have shifted behind Fabian Coulthard and Scott McLaughlin at DJR Team Penske as the Shell V-Power Falcons have dominated the series so far, so Winterbottom and the former Ford Performance Racing outfit will be keen to swing back the support with a big showing on the Mountain.

    In Dean Canto, the team has a solid, dependable co-driver to throw behind the wheel.

  5. 5 Car #6 - Cam Waters/Richie Stanaway (Monster Energy Racing)

    As part of the Prodrive Racing Australia stable, Cam Waters, Richie Stanaway and the Monster Energy machine have the backing and know-how required to win the big race, the big question will be on the connection between the two young steerers and how clean they can keep their car during the week and on the big day.

    Waters has found pace at points through the season, but has also been too inconsistent across the course of the year, meaning a lot of how car #6 travels at Bathurst on race day Sunday will depend on which Cam Waters turns up.

    Stanaway is young, but has plenty of experience around the world, and appears to have slotted nicely behind the wheel of a Supercar.

    The pair stunned the Supercars world with a win in the Sandown 500, the precursor to the great race and will be on the hunt to match that groundbreaking result.

  6. 6 Car #7 - Todd Kelly/Jack le Brocq (CarSales Racing)

    A Bathurst winner, Todd Kelly and the boys at CarSales Racing have wrestled with plenty of issues and concerns over the performance of their Nissan Altima through the season and the veteran steerer would dearly love an escape from the bump and grind of the season with a strong performance through whole Enduro Cup and Bathurst in particular.

    Jack le Brocq appears a competent co-driver, so provided the team can prepare a good, solid car and the two drivers can keep their noses clean, it would not be a surprise to see the #7 car sneak in to the top 10 by the end of a long, tiring day of racing on the Sunday.

    In his favour, Todd Kelly has a good head on his shoulders and has shown plenty of patience behind the wheel in a long and successful Enduro career, so he'll back himself to push hard and bring a competitive car home.

  7. 7 Car #8 - Nick Percat/Macauley Jones (Mongrel Boots Racing)

    Another former Bathurst winner, Nick Percat has come a long way from being the prodigious young golden boy at the Holden Racing Team who partnered with Garth Tander to win Bathurst in 2011, and will probably be punching well above his weight if he were to repeat that effort this year.

    Having won the race in 2011 with HRT, Percat has managed a fourth and two third places since then, with the last of his podiums coming last year alongside Cameron McConville driving a Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport commodore and, as with just about anyone in the field, if he and Macauley Jones keep themselves clear of trouble and avoid the concrete around the track, a top ten finish isn't beyond them.

    It will take plenty of mongrel from the Mongrel Boots team to get a positive result, but in the ultimate roulette wheel that is Mount Panorama, I wouldn't rule it out.

  8. 8 Car #9 - David Reynolds/Luke Youlden (Erebus Penrite Racing)

    For one of the more consistent, and likeable drivers in the field, David Reynolds has rarely enjoyed his trips to the Mountain, with a 2nd place behind Jamie Whincup in 2012 far and away his best ever result.

    Outside that, a 6th place in the 2015 great race stands out as a good result for Reynolds in a sea of pretty average finishes.

    Reynolds and the Erebus Penrite Racing team have punched above their weight through much of 2017 and sit inside the top 10 on the championship ladder and they'll be keen to keep adding to their positive results with a good showing on the biggest day of the year.

    It would not be a surprise to see this car trundling around with the bigger budgeted boys at the back end of the big race, and if they're in with a shot, a lack of need to preserve championship points could work in Reynold's favour.

  9. 9 Car #12 - Fabian Coulthard/Tony D'Alberto (Shell V-Power Racing Team)

    2017 has been a breakout year for Fabian and while the sister car driven by Scott McLaughlin has earned most of the plaudits and leads the championship, Coulthard isn't far behind and with the same tech setup and machinery underneath him, he could be a very good shout for his first Bathurst 1000 win.

    The #12 car has been an absolute rocket throughout 2017 so far and there's little doubt Coulthard and co-driver Tony D'Alberto are experienced and pacey enough to be in amongst the podium positions come the end of a long 1000km run on Bathurst Sunday.

    'Fabz' banked his best Bathurst finish driving a Holden Commodore for Brad Jones Racing in 2014 when he finished 4th and managed a 6th last year in his first season with DJR Team Penske though he does have a bit of a rocky relationship with the track, having suffered a number of big crashes, including the famous one through the chase in a Bundaberg Red Rum Commodore, at the track and a string of DNFs and poor finishes.

    Co-driver Tony D'Alberto is extremely experienced and unlikely to cause any issues for the Shell V-Power Falcon in his second run with the team after partnering Scott Pye last year through the Enduro period.

  10. 10 Car #14 - Tim Slade/Ash Walsh (Freightliner Racing)

    The man with the most chiselled jaw in Supercars, Tim Slade has always felt a good run away from breaking through for a maiden podium on the Mountain without ever quite putting everything together or having things fall in place for the Holden man.

    Slade came home in a creditable 7th last year alongside Ash Walsh in their Freightliner Brad Jones Racing Holden and the same pair will be reunited again in the hunt for a similarly good finish this time out.

    Sat just outside the top ten in the championship race, Slade could propel himself to a fast-finish for the season with a good result on the Mountain where his previous best result was the aforementioned 7th, a spot he's finished the Bathurst 1000 in three times (2009, 2012 & 2016).

    Ash Walsh has enough experience to be a handy co-driver and the pair will be hunting a top ten finish.

  11. 11 Car #15 - Rick Kelly/David Wall (Sengled Racing)

    It has been a long between drinks for Rick Kelly, with the former rising star winning the great race in 2003 & 2004 alongside Greg Murphy in the famous #51 Kmart Commodore but since those glory days, the results have been less than impressive.

    A second alongside brother Todd Kelly in 2006 stands out amongst a string of mid-pack finishes and a couple of DNFs for the experienced driver and team owner and there's not a lot about the lead up that would suggest that drought is about to be broken.

    Kelly sits in 14th on the championship ladder and has struggled for consistency and pace for much of the season.

    David Wall is a handy, no-frills type of co-driver but there's not much to get excited about for the Sengled-backed car.

  12. 12 Car #17 - Scott Mclaughlin/Alexandre Premat (Shell V-Power Racing Team)

    Championship leader Scott McLaughlin was handed the opportunity to extend his lead over rival Jamie Whincup at the Sandown 500 as the Red Bull Holden Racing Team suffered an abnormally bad weekend and he grasped it with both hands, finishing second behind eventual winners Cam Waters and Richie Stanaway and ensuring he would come to Bathurst as the favourite to win the 1000km race.

    Championship implications could hold McLaughlin back from putting his nose in and doing everything he can to force a win in traffic late, so I'm not convinced he's odds-on to win the race, but a strong showing is on the cards and the Kiwi could take a huge stride toward his maiden championship on the Mountain.

    McLaughlin was adamant that Frenchman Alexandre Premat, who has raced on the Mountain five times previously, would be his co-driver and the pair shape as one of the strongest combinations in the field.

    Scott McLaughlin himself will take to the Mountain for the sixth time this year, and he'll be on the charge to improve on his current personal best finish of 5th place, which he achieved alongside Premat in a Gary Roger's Volvo in 2015.

  13. 13 Car #18 - Lee Holdsworth/Karl Reindler (Preston Hire Racing)

    34-year-old Lee Holdsworth has been around the Supercars paddock for a long, long time and he certainly has the ability to be consistently fast and deal with an endurance race like the Bathurst 1000.

    The big question around this entry will be how quick the car can be and just how well it will hold together through the full 1000km, with both Holdsworth and Karl Reindler going to have to stay out of trouble and avoid other people's bingles to be at the pointy end of the field at the end of the day.

    Holdsworth has one pole position finish in the Bathurst 1000, which came way back in 2009 alongside Michael Caruso in a Gary Rogers Motorsport Commodore and has only managed a best of 7th since then while co-driver Karl Reindler has never cracked a top ten finish on the Mountain, and is on a run of two-straight DNFs in 2015 and 2016.

    The entry came home for a solid 8th position after avoiding issues and traffic at the Sandown 500, so things could just fall in to place for one of the smaller teams who punch well above their weight.

  14. 14 Car #19 - Will Davison/Jonathon Webb (Tekno Woodstock Racing)

    The defending champions!

    Will Davison and team boss Johnathon Webb combined perfectly last year and timed their run better than anyone to take advantage of some late-race drama to fly home and bank a win against all the odds.

    They might struggle to replicate last year's success, but they have proven they can do it and they come here as an experienced, solid pairing so another top five finish isn't off the table at all.

    Co-driver Webb was the main culprit in the crash that ended Tim Blanchard and Todd Hazelwood's campaign before the main race at Sandown, with that impact limiting their qualifying and putting the Tekno team under plenty of pressure before they came home in 13th overall after solid drives from both.

  15. 15 Car #22 - James Courtney/Jack Perkins (Mobil 1 HSV Racing)

    Another one of a string of drivers who has managed a string of podium places on the Mountain without ever managing to stand on the top step, James Courtney's best chances at winning the Bathurst 1000 with his current team may have faded away along with the Holden factory backing.

    Mobil 1 HSV Racing has been through a tough year so far in 2017 and after the Sandown 500, Courtney sits in 19th position in the championship race, well below pre-season expectations.

    Courtney finished second on the Mountain with David Besnard way back in 2007, which is his best result, alongside two third positions in 2006 & 2008 while co-driver Jack Perkins has never finished higher than eighth.

    The pair managed to round out the top ten at Sandown, up four places from their starting spot, and did manage to show some decent pace throughout the day.

  16. 16 Car #23 - Michael Caruso/Dean Fiore (Nissan Motorsport)

    Michael Caruso and the #23 Nissan Altima spent time during the lead-up week at Sandown as the fastest set of wheels on the track and while it didn't all come together as intended on Sunday, with the pair finishing 20th, there were some signs that Caruso and Dean Fiore could press for a top ten berth at Bathurst if they steer clear of trouble.

    Caruso managed his lone pole position on the Mountain way back in 2009 alongside Lee Holdsworth in a Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore, and hasn't cracked the three steps since, while Dean Fiore's 8th spot last year, in the same team, with the same driver, is his best ever result at Bathurst.

    It's tough to see car #23 climbing on the podium this time around, but, as with most other entries, if everything was to click, a top ten run could be on the cards.

  17. 17 Car #33 - Garth Tander/James Golding (Wilson Security Racing GRM)

    Everything about Garth Tander's move back to Garry Rogers Motorsport felt right, and the lank West Aussie would love to clinch the move with a fourth win the great race, an amazing 18 years after he first won it for GRM with Jason Bargwanna back in 2000.

    Tander has won the race in 2000, 2009 and 2011, the last of which came after an astonishing tussle with Triple 8's Craig Lowndes over the dying laps and he looked like he could have added to the list last season before his race was ended by an errant re-entry by Scott McLaughlin after contact earlier with Jamie Whincup late in the game having already won the 2016 edition of the Sandown 500.

    After a good driver from Golding, Tander put on an experienced masterclass to drag the GRM Commodore to fourth place and finish as the highest Holden in the field, and it would be a fool who wrote GT off at the Mountain.

  18. 18 Car #34 - James Moffatt/Richard Muscat (Wilson Security Racing GRM)

    Emblazoned with the colours of his father's car from days gone by, James Moffatt put in one of his better drives to bring home his GRM machine in seventh at Sandown and alongside the exciting young Richard Muscat, another top ten result would be well-deserved on the Mountain.

    Moffatt has stood on the Bathurst podium once, finishing 2nd alongside Taz Douglas in a Nissan Altima in 2014, but outside that, his trips to the Mountain have been a bit hit and miss while Richard Muscat is set to be unleashed on Mount Panorama for the first time, meaning things could either go really well for this pair, or end in some concrete-related misery.

  19. 19 Car #55 - Chaz Mostert & Steve Owen (Supercheap Auto Racing)

    The Chaz Mostert/Steve Owen partnership managed to bring home third place and round out an all-Ford podium at the Sandown 500, so the form is on the board for the Supercheap Auto Falcon and the team at Prodrive Racing Australia.

    Mostert is a former winner on the Mountain, having claimed the Bathurst 1000 title in 2014, in just his second start at the track, but he has also felt the downside of the most treacherous track in the country, not even managing to get on the starter grid in 2015, just 12 months later, after a huge crash during the qualifying session which left him with a broken leg and a broken wrist.

    Steve Owen is an experienced campaigner, with his first start at Bathurst coming back in 1999 alongside Greg Ritter in a Garry Rogers Motorsport Commodore and his best result at the track came in 2010 and again in 2015 when he finished second alongside Jamie Whincup and Mark Winterbottom respectively.

    The Supercheap Auto Falcon will be right up there in terms of pace, and could be a genuine contender.

  20. 20 Car #56 - Jason Bright/Garry Jacobson (Mega Racing)

    Poor old Jason Bright!

    The experienced campaigner keeps on trucking along and manages to find a bit of pace here or there, but he's well passed his best and managed to just sneak in to the top 20 last time out at the Sandown 500, finishing 19th alongside Garry Jacobson.

    21st in the championship and seemingly the forgotten 'fourth wheel' out of the Prodrive stable, it's tough to get overly excited about car #56 and their chances at the Mountain.

    In their favour is the experience of Bright, who has been campaigning at the Mountain since 1997 and winning it a year later, in 1998. Since then, he's managed 2 podiums at Bathurst.

    25-year-old Jacobson looks an interesting able co-pilot, but 2017 won't be the year for this pair.

  21. 21 Car #62 - Alex Rullo/Alex Davison (Repair Management Australia Racing)

    17-year-old Alex Rullo has had a tough start to life in Supercars, sitting in 25th in the overall championship, but the learning curve will be invaluable moving forward and the experience of a Bathurst campaign, coupled with the fact he'll be the lead driver will do wonders for the kid from Perth.

    In Alex Davison he has an experienced co-driver who has 12 Bathurst 1000 campaigns under his belt. Davison's best finish came in 2014 alongside brother Will in an Erebus Motorsport Mercedes Benz when the pair finished 2nd behind winner Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris.

    This campaign will be more about experience for the driver and the team, and things could get tough, but we've seen less credentialled pairs crack the top ten in the past.

  22. 22 Car #78 - Simona de Silvestro/David Russell (Team Harvey Norman)

    Simona de Silvestro has attacked the Mountain before, running the Bathurst 1000 in 2015 & 2016 alongside Renee Gracie and managed 21st and 14th in those two runs, showing she is capable of keeping things clean and tidy and avoiding the biff and barge throughout the day.

    In her first year as a full time driver, de Silvestro has found consistent pace a little hard to come by and is sitting in 22nd overall in the championship, disappointing given the investment and the hope that improvement throughout the year would move her up the ladder.

    The 29-year-old Swiss is paired with David Russell, a 35-year-old veteran with 8 Bathurst 1000 campaigns under his belt.

    Russell is experienced and won't put too many feet wrong throughout the day, but pace could be the big issue for the pair.

  23. 23 Car #88 - Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell (Red Bull Holden Racing Team)

    What can you say about Jamie Whincup that hasn't already been said? The 6-time series champion is one of the most naturally gifted and competitive steerers in the field and with 106 career race wins, four of which have come at the Mountain in the Bathurst 1000.

    Partnered with one of the best and most experienced co-drivers in the field in Paul Dumbrell, Whincup managed to recover from a tyre failure at Sandown to finish 6th and rescue a whole swag of championship points in the process and it is rare that the Red Bull Holden Racing Team suffers two bad weekends back-to-back, especially at crunch time, so a big Bathurst 1000 could on the cards for car #88.

    It has been a little while between drinks for Whincup on the Mountain, with his last win coming in 2012 and his last two starts resulting in an 18th and 11th placed finish, so an all-out assault on the Mountain, and championship leader Scott McLaughlin could see Whincup and Dumbrell challenging for the big prizes late on Sunday afternoon.

  24. 24 Car #97 - Shane van Gisbergen/Matthew Campbell (Red Bull Holden Racing Team)

    Can you ever really count out the Giz?

    Shane van Gisbergen is one of the genuine superstars of the sport and the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver will be keen to put a bad year behind him with a win on the Mountain, something that has evaded him in his previous 10 attempts at the Bathurst 1000.

    By his own admission, van Gisbergen has declared his title defence over so the Kiwi famous for his drifting and wild racing style would love a maiden Bathurst crown to atone for his patchy performances so far in 2017.

    Overall, the Red Bull Holden Racing Team have made some uncharacteristic mistakes during the season and they will need to rectify these small issues, including a series of tyre failures to challenge at the business end of the race.

    In Matt Campbell, the team has a co-driver aged just 22 but he looks pacy enough and won't be intimidated by the Mountain or the more experienced drivers in the field. Campbell had his first Bathurst start last year, but didn't finish the race alongside Todd Kelly.

    If all goes to plan, and they rarey have two bad races in a row, you'd have to expect car #97 will be there or thereabouts when the points and trophies are handed out.

  25. 25 Car #99 - Dale Wood/Chris Pither (Eerebus GB Galvanizing Racing)

    The Sandown 500 wasn't anything to write home about for the #99 entry of Dale Wood and Chris Pither, but they did manage to cycle around, finish the race and lock in a 13th place position, which is probably just shy of the top ten finish they would have targeted as the race unfolded.

    Wood has attacked the Mountain at Bathurst since 2008 and managed to crack the top ten twice, finishing 9th in both 2011 alongside Tony D'Alberto and last year alongside David Russell in a Nissan Motorsport Nissan Altima while Chris Pither has 7 campaigns of his own around Mount Panorama, never once managing a top ten finish.

    In championship terms, main driver Dale Wood is sitting way back in 24th, so the pair will at least be able to have a red-hot crack at the Bathurst 1000 without fear of failure.

  26. 26 Car #888 - Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards (Team Vortex)

    Like an old pair of jeans, Craig Lowndes turning up at Mount Panorama for the Bathurst 1000 just feels comfortable and right and alongside long-term co-driver Steven Richards, the veteran steerer will be hoping a 7th Bathurst 1000 crown will be on the cards.

    There are few drivers with the experience, panache and cool-calm that Lowndes brings to proceedings and his co-driver also boasts plenty of experience, so car #888 could be a true darkhorse for the overall win.

    Lowndes first attacked Mount Panorama in 1994 and last won the big race two years ago alongside Richards while the pair could only manage 16th last year after some issues throughout the day.

    11th at the Sandown 500 wasn't a great result for the pair, but the fact they managed to make up 12 spots through the course of the shortened race bodes well for their Bathurst assault while Lowndes sits 8th in the championship table, a whopping 744 points behind leader Scott McLaughlin, so a big haul at Bathurst would be invaluable.

  27. 27 Predictions

    Even with the assistance of my crystal ball, predicting the podium at the Bathurst 1000 is about as easy as picking out half a needle from a haystack the size of the Mountain itself.

    That said, I'll put it all on the line and lay out my predicted podium for the 2017 Bathurst 1000.

    1. Jamie Whincup/Paul Dumbrell (Red Bull Holden Racing Team)

    2. Scott McLaughlin/Alexandre Premat (Shell V-Power Racing Team)

    3. Garth Tander (Wilson Security Racing GRM)

    Picking the best cars in the field is a tricky task, but a few risks is exactly what the great race is all about.

    Think you know how the Bathurst 1000 will pan out? Let us know in the comments below.

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Daniel Lang


Rugby League & Cricket editor at RealSport.

Daniel is a passionate advocate for the game of rugby league and the development of the sport across the world and, as such, writes with a zeal and determination to spread the gospel of the game.

A huge fan of cricket, football, NFL, Tennis and Supercar racing in Australia, Daniel can quickly find himself a casual fan of just about any sport after putting his mind to watching it.

Daniel is also one-half of the hugely successful podcast 'Panthers Weekly with Strawbs & Teach' where he talks all things Panthers Weekly while he also hosts the current affairs show 'the Strawbs Show' and the 'Summer of Cricket with Strawbs & Shnuu' as well as appearing on the Sydney FC covering 'Nothing But Blue Skies' podcast occasionally.