2023 Bathurst 1000: Everything you need to know about the ‘Great Race’

Gearing up for your annual Bathurst party? Or just want to know what it’s all about? Drive is here to help you learn more about the 2023 Bathurst 1000.

2022 Bathurst 1000 race start

The 2023 Bathurst 1000 starts today, with the V8 Supercars rolling out for the first day of practice before Sunday’s ‘Great Race’.

This year marks the 60th anniversary since the endurance race moved to Bathurst’s Mount Panorama circuit in 1963 – having been held for three years at Victoria’s Phillip Island Circuit from 1960-1962.

It will also be the first year in the Bathurst event's history that a Holden will not compete, after marking its final outing last year following the departure of the brand from Australian showrooms in 2020.

To find out more about the 2023 Bathurst 1000 – the favourites to win, where to watch it and why it’s so important – read on below.

Bathurst 1000 fast facts

The Bathurst endurance race started in 1963 as a 500-mile (804km) event, which remained until 1973 when it adopted its now-traditional 1000-kilometre format.

The Mount Panorama circuit measures 6.213km long, with Sunday’s race scheduled for 161 laps – split between a main driver (who pilots the car solo for most of the year) and a ring-in co-driver, including many previous full-time racers.

Cars reach speeds of almost 300km/h down the ‘Conrod Straight’ before entering ‘The Chase’, one of the track’s most popular overtaking spots and a regular source of action.

It is typically the most-watched race of the year for the Supercars Championship.

For the first time in the history of the Bathurst 500-mile or 1000-kilometre race, there will not be a Holden on the grid, as the brand farewelled Mount Panorama last year with a win following its withdrawal from the Australian market in 2020.

This year, the race will be contested by Ford teams (with the Mustang) and its long-time rival General Motors, now running the Chevrolet Camaro.

It will be the first-ever time the Mustang and Camaro have raced against each other at the Bathurst 1000, as Chevrolet last took part in the race in 1984 (driven by privateer entrants) while Ford’s iconic muscle car was on the grid in 1985 and 1986, before returning in 2019.

Holden holds the all-time record for wins at the Bathurst 500 and 1000, with 36 under its belt following last year’s victory, courtesy of Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander.

Ford has won 21 editions of the Bathurst endurance race, though success in the past decade has been lean – with wins in 2013, 2014 and 2019 highlighting a tough stint against more competitive Holden machinery.

What to expect from the 2023 Bathurst 1000

The Ford teams go into this year’s Bathurst 1000 with a disadvantage, having struggled to get wins on the board throughout 2023.

Out of the 23 races run so far this season, just two have been won by Fords – Cam Waters took victory in the opening race of the season (due to a double-disqualification for the two leading Camaros) and Anton de Pasquale won the second Townsville race after not finishing the day prior, allowing him to run on fresher tyres.

This year the cars are completely different to what was run in 2022, owing to the sport’s new ‘Gen3’ regulations. 

While the cars are lighter and wider than before, there has been a season-long battle to get the Mustang and Camaro evenly-matched, with the core of the issue being excessive rear tyre wear for the Fords compared to the Chevrolets.

Though Ford drivers have taken pole position on five occasions so far this season, the true extent of the tyre drama often does not show until race day where the rubber is punished lap-after-lap.

The Supercars 'Gen3' Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Camaro in a 2022 demonstration run

Less than 300 points separates the top four drivers in the championship – Brodie Kostecki leading the way for Erebus, closely followed by Shane van Gisbergen and Broc Feeney – driving for the Triple Eight team – with his team-mate Will Brown not far behind.

Kostecki has been the man to beat this year, winning six races so far – including his maiden victory in Melbourne – but Broc Feeney closed the gap with a dominant win at the Sandown 500, thanks in part to his co-driver, seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup.

Feeney and Whincup are the favourites going into Bathurst, as Broc is on form – with five wins this season – and Jamie is hunting his fifth Great Race crown, having last won in 2012 but always being in the mix to win.

Shane van Gisbergen should not be discounted – with co-driver Richie Stanaway – coming off the back of his third championship victory last year as well as a second Bathurst win in three years.

van Gisbergen has already announced his plans to leave Australia at the end of this year and pursue a career in NASCAR in the US.

After being critical of the new-generation Supercars race car, van Gisbergen tried his hand at a NASCAR race earlier this year, winning on debut and breaking a 60-year-old record in the process.

Seven-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes will also return in a Triple Eight-prepared Camaro, racing as a ‘wildcard’ entry alongside former full-time driver Zane Goddard.

If Triple Eight manages to win this year’s Bathurst 1000, it will move past the record of the most victories at the race, currently tied at nine apiece with the Holden Dealer Team.

Ford fans might be despondent going into the Bathurst 1000, but there are plenty of excellent drivers capable of flying the blue flag at the front come race day.

Chaz Mostert – who won the 2014 and 2021 Bathurst 1000s – is the leading Ford driver this year for Walkinshaw Andretti United, sitting sixth in the points but waiting for an elusive victory in 2023, which he will want to change with co-driver Lee Holdsworth.

If Walkinshaw Andretti United wins, it will tie with Triple Eight and the Holden Dealer Team on nine Bathurst 1000 victories.

Close behind in the points is Tickford Racing’s Cam Waters, who won the opening race of the year but has only stepped on the podium once since. 

He and co-driver James Moffat (son of racing legend Allan Moffat) have come agonisingly close to a win before, but are yet to get on top of the Bathurst podium.

Dark horse drivers to win include Grove Racing’s David Reynolds (2017 Bathurst winner) and Garth Tander (five-time Bathurst winner), who are pairing up for the first time and showed good form at Sandown before a wheel came off their Ford Mustang.

Where can I watch the Bathurst 1000?

Unlike most races throughout the year, the Bathurst 1000 is available to watch on free-to-air TV – rather than only the paid Foxtel and Kayo services.

On Thursday October 5, coverage is exclusively carried by Fox Sports and Kayo from 7:25am to 6:15pm.

Friday October 6 sees Foxtel and Kayo again show all the on-track action (which includes qualifying) from 7:25am to 5:30pm, though Channel Seven (and its 7Plus streaming app) will be live from 10:00am to 5:00pm AEDT.

Coverage on Saturday October 7 starts later with Foxtel/Kayo broadcasting off from 8:15am to 6:30pm, while Seven is live from 10:00am to 6:00pm, with the Top 10 Shootout – to decide the order of the cars in positions one to 10 on the grid – starting at 5:05pm.

Finally race day (Sunday October 8) will see the action being covered from 7:15am to 7:00pm on Foxtel/Kayo, and 7:30am to 6:00pm on Seven.

The Bathurst 1000 itself is scheduled to start from 11:15am and run for 161 laps, barring severe weather or race-ending crashes. 

All times listed are in Australian Eastern Daylight Time (AEDT).

Who do you think will win the Bathurst 1000? Let us know in the comments below.

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Jordan Mulach

Jordan Mulach is Canberra/Ngunnawal born, currently residing in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found on weekends either behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or swearing at his ZH Fairlane.

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