Penske driver McLaughlin wins Bathurst 1000 in final-lap dash

McLaughlin beats van Gisbergen to the line after a 1-lap shootout
McLaughlin beats van Gisbergen to the line after a 1-lap shootout

Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Premat have the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 after holding off Shane van Gisbergen on a final lap restart.

What started as a relatively straightforward race became completely unpredictable in the final 40 laps, with Safety Car after Safety Car allowing the IndyCar drivers to finish 19th instead of next to last.

When Andre Heimgartner crunched his Nissan into the wall at Forrest’s Elbow with the leaders on their 158th lap, the Safety Car was called for an eighth time.

It crawled around Mount Panorama such that there was time for one more green flag lap, at which point McLaughlin led van Gisbergen, James Courtney, and Jamie Whincup.

The #17 Shell V-Power Mustang led the #97 Red Bull HRT ZB Commodore across the control line by 0.31s to start the 161st and final lap.

McLaughlin kicked up the dust at McPhillamy Park but had an advantage of 0.61s at the second sector, located at the exit of Forrest’s Elbow, and eventually got home by 0.68s.

The victory is his and Premat’s first in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, and the first for DJR Team Penske in its current guise, after Dick Johnson Racing last won in 1994.

“Oh man, I can’t believe I won the bloody Bathurst 1000. We won!" said McLaughlin.

“We had such a good car all week, I put so much pressure on myself and our team put so much pressure on ourselves to make this a good one.

“So proud of everyone at Shell V-Power Racing; we made a bloody good car.

“I’ve dreamt about this; dreamt about standing on that roof and this guy (Premat) was unbelievable today with those main drivers. I was a little bit stressed.

Premat added, “That was so stressful. That was insane. Everything was gambling, gambling. That was crazy.

McLaughlin grabs lead at start
McLaughlin grabs lead at start

“I’m so happy for Shell V-Power to win this race for sure with DJR Team Penske. It’s been 25 years that they didn’t with Bathurst. It’s magic. Magic."

Van Gisbergen and Garth Tander were classified second, Courtney was just over a second back in the #22 Mobil 1 ZB Commodore which he shared with Jack Perkins despite bumping the wall at one stage, and the Red Bull HRT pairing of Whincup and Craig Lowndes were fourth in the #888 ZB Commodore.

James Courtney and Jack Perkins capped an also remarkable race for third place.

Premat became the first Frenchman to win Bathurst and one of the few internationals to stand on the top step.

“Everything was gambling, gambling, that was crazy," Premat said. “It’s magic, magic."

It was the first victory for Dick Johnson Racing, now known as DJR Team Penske, and US magnate Roger Penske who bought into the team four years ago.

The last time Johnson won at Mount Panorama was in 1994 when the Australian icon beat Craig Lowndes and Brad Jones home with co-driver John Bowe.

“It’s one off the bucket list now, what a great Champion," Penske said. “I just can’t believe what is going on here, it is just so exciting."

When American wildcard Alexander Rossi sparked a safety car on lap 135 it threw the race into a battle of fuel as most of the front-runners, aside from Van Gisbergen, were a few laps short of having enough to get them home.

Van Gisbergen’s team-mate Jamie Whincup was one of those.

He led the race at that point after McLaughlin stalled in the pits.
But he had to return late in the race to top up, no doubt with memories of the last time he ran out of fuel when leading Bathurst.

That left McLaughlin and Van Gisbergen to battle to the end.

If you want to win a lot of races as a driver, you drive for Roger Penske (R)
McLaughlin and Premat take the win. If you want to win a lot of races as a driver, you drive for Roger Penske (R)

The hard luck story of the day was with team-mates Chaz Mostert and Cam Waters who crashed into each other on lap 102 just when both were pushing McLaughlin and Whincup.

The pair were running third and fourth, with both looking at a podium or even more depending on what happened in the closing stages.

“I’m just absolutely gutted. No words really, it’s just disappointing," Waters said.

“We were trucking along for a podium, we were fuel saving and Chazzy was obviously trying to race me to pass me. I don’t know what to say, the car was fast, we should have been on the podium."

It appeared to work in Whincup’s favour at the time with the safety car allowing him to save valuable fuel and maintain the lead he took in the pits under the previous safety car.

A second safety car straight after the resumption, when Penrite Racing’s Anton De Pasquale slammed into a wall when his throttle jammed, helped with more fuel conservation.

That was before the Rossi safety car under which they all pitted but appeared to be a lap or two short on the fuel needed to finish. One of those was Whincup.

The rest ended in McLaughlin and Premat’s extraordinary victory.

The IndyCar drivers Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe finished over 2 laps (over 7-miles), behind as they return to the USA with their tails between their legs, soundly humiliated.

McLaughlin also extends his lead in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship beyond two events’ worth with three to go, the next being the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 on October 25-27.

Results

Pos Num Team/Sponsor Drivers Car Laps
1 17 Shell V-Power Racing Team S.McLaughlin/A.Premat Ford Mustang GT 161
2 97 Red Bull Holden Racing Team S.van Gisbergen/G.Tander Holden Commodore ZB 161
3 22 Mobil 1 Racing J.Courtney/J.Perkins Holden Commodore ZB 161
4 888 Red Bull Holden Racing Team J.Whincup/C.Lowndes Holden Commodore ZB 161
5 9 Penrite Racing D.Reynolds/L.Youlden Holden Commodore ZB 161
6 12 Shell V-Power Racing Team F.Coulthard/T.D’Alberto Ford Mustang GT 161
7 18 Irwin Racing M.Winterbottom/S.Richards Holden Commodore ZB 161
8 2 Mobil 1 Racing S.Pye/W.Luff Holden Commodore ZB 161
9 15 Castrol Racing R.Kelly/D.Wood Nissan Altima 161
10 5 The Bottle-O Racing Team L.Holdsworth/T.Randle Ford Mustang GT 161
11 23 Milwaukee Racing W.Davison/A.Davison Ford Mustang GT 161
12 34 Boost Mobile Racing J.Golding/R.Muscat Holden Commodore ZB 161
13 33 Boost Mobile Racing R.Stanaway/C.Pither Holden Commodore ZB 161
14 78 Team Harvey Norman S.De Silvestro/A.Rullo Nissan Altima 160
15 8 7-Eleven Mobil Racing N.Percat/T.Blanchard Holden Commodore ZB 160
16 55 Supercheap Auto Racing C.Mostert/J.Moffat Ford Mustang GT 160
17 21 Team CoolDrive M.Jones/D.Canto Holden Commodore ZB 160
18 19 Truck Assist TEKNO Racing J.Le Brocq/J.Webb Holden Commodore ZB 160
19 27 NAPA Auto Parts Racing A.Rossi/J.Hinchcliffe Holden Commodore ZB 159
20 3 RABBLE.club Racing G.Jacobson/D.Fiore Nissan Altima 159
21 6 Monster Energy Racing Team C.Waters/M.Caruso Ford Mustang GT 148
DNF 7 Plus Fitness Racing A.Heimgartner/B.Fullwood Nissan Altima 157
DNF 99 Penrite Racing A.De Pasquale/W.Brown Holden Commodore ZB 125
DNF 56 Team Arcoweld Racing B.Kostecki/J.Kostecki Holden Commodore ZB 111
DNF 35 Bigmate Racing T.Hazelwood/J.Smith Holden Commodore ZB 98
DNF 14 Freightliner Alliance Racing Tim Slade Holden Commodore ZB

Championship points

Pos Driver Pts
1 Scott McLaughlin 3308
2 Shane van Gisbergen 2686
3 Fabian Coulthard 2521
4 Chaz Mostert 2441
5 Jamie Whincup 2380
6 David Reynolds 2306
7 Cameron Waters 2059
8 Nick Percat 2014
9 Will Davison 1955
10 Lee Holdsworth 1860
11 James Courtney 1768
12 Mark Winterbottom 1708
13 Anton De Pasquale 1665
14 Scott Pye 1540
15 Andre Heimgartner 1526
16 Rick Kelly 1470
17 Tim Slade 1458
18 James Golding 1355
19 Todd Hazelwood 1291
20 Simona De Silvestro 1255
21 Macauley Jones 999
22 Jack Le Brocq 994
23 Garry Jacobson 944
24 Richie Stanaway 866
25 Michael Caruso 306
26 Alexandre Premat 300
27 Chris Pither 291
28 Jack Smith 285
29 Garth Tander 276
30 Thomas Randle 264
31 Jack Perkins 258
32 Craig Lowndes 240
33 Luke Youlden 222
34 Tim Blanchard 213
35 Tony D’Alberto 204
36 Steven Richards 192
37 Warren Luff 180
38 Dale Wood 168
39 Alex Davison 144
40 Richard Muscat 138
41 Alex Rullo 126
42 James Moffat 114
43 Dean Canto 108
44 Jonathon Webb 102
45 James Hinchcliffe 96
46 Alexander Rossi 96
47 Dean Fiore 90
48 William Brown 0
49 Ashley Walsh 0
50 Bryce Fullwood 0
51 Brodie Kostecki 0
52 Jake Kostecki 0

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