There's no other track quite like Bathurst. Picture: Mark Horsburgh/EDGE Photographics
There's no other track quite like Bathurst. Picture: Mark Horsburgh/EDGE Photographics

Little bit of knowledge goes long way when watching Bathurst

ONLY a few sporting events stop the nation - the Melbourne Cup, the NRL and AFL grand finals and the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

This weekend the Great Race enters its 58th year and if there's one thing we've learnt during that time it's that anything is possible, everything is probable and it's an event not to be missed.

The Bathurst 1000 is a marathon, not a sprint, so with that in mind here's some insight on how to get maximum enjoyment out of the Great race.

A quick history lesson - what makes Bathurst so great

Put simply, there's no racetrack in the world like Mount Panorama. It's 6.2km of the best racing venue on the planet. Every corner around the mountain is unforgiving and the track is unrelenting.

The drivers will push their luck into Hell Corner, test their nerve through The Cutting, hold their breath coming down Forest Elbow and then hit 300km/h on Conrad Straight.

The most prolific winners of the Bathurst 1000 — not surprisingly — come from the front row of the grid. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty
The most prolific winners of the Bathurst 1000 — not surprisingly — come from the front row of the grid. Picture: Daniel Kalisz/Getty

They'll put their cars and race hopes in the hands of the co-drivers, rely on their race engineers to nail their race strategy and put their faith in their pit crew to keep their car on the track for an astonishing 161 laps.

Then there's the unpredictable, from rocks, to rubbish bags, to kangaroos and flying tyres, the race has seen it all.

How to pick a driver

If you're a hardcore fan of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship you'll already know who you will be cheering for this weekend, but for the casual fan here's a few tips to help you decide who to get behind.

The Melbourne Cup approach: the Bathurst 1000 is part of the Pirtek Enduro Cup and some teams will go with their retro look this weekend.

The Melbourne Cup approach is an easy one - go with your favourite number and or colour.

The NRL team approach: in all sports there's the glamour clubs and the working-class clubs.

If you're a fan of the glamour clubs of the NRL, teams such as the Broncos, Storm, Roosters and Souths, then Triple 8 Racing and DJR are the teams for you.

If you're a fan of the blue-collar sides like the Tigers, Raiders and Cowboys then the single-car teams such as Gary Rogers Motorsport, Tim Blanchard Racing and Matt Stone Racing are right up your alley.

Trans-Tasman rivalry: there's a host of fantastic Kiwi drivers in the Supercars Championship.

Shane van Gisbergen is having a bit of fun with his teammate’s farewell tour. Picture: Getty
Shane van Gisbergen is having a bit of fun with his teammate’s farewell tour. Picture: Getty

At the top of the list are championship leaders Shane van Gisbergen and Scott McLaughlin, who have been outstanding this season.

Fabian Coulthard will also be looking to push for a podium this weekend.

The sentimental favourites: he's got six Bathurst titles to his name and there will be plenty of Supercars fans hoping Craig Lowndes can add a seventh this weekend. in In what will be his final Bathurst appearance as a Supercars driver, Lowndes will suit up with Steven Richards.

Brotherly love: if you're looking for a win the whole family can enjoy then Milwaukee Racing's duo of Will and Alex Davison is for you.

Fourth in the 2014 race, Alex and Will are aiming to become the first brothers to win the race.

How to speak the lingo

Whether you're attending a barbecue, watching at the pub or trying to impress your mates or partner, it always helps to have a couple of lines ready to go to make you sound like an expert even if you've never watched the race before.

He's been shunted: the line to use when a driver has been put into the wall as a result of a collision with another driver.

Running too deep: use this one when you see a driver go into the corner and kick up some dirt as they leave the track.

He'll need a splash and dash: this is the one to pull out late in the race when you hear commentators Mark Skaife and Neil Crompton start talking fuel ratios. If you hear a commentator start questioning the fuel consumption of a particular car throw in "he'll need a splash and dash" to impress your fellow watchers.

Tips to survive the day

Remember the Bathurst 1000 is a marathon, not a sprint.

Here's some race day essentials to make sure you make it to the chequered flag.

Like a Supercar, your body needs a good warm-up and plenty of fuel in the tank to start the day, so make sure you have a hearty breakfast.

Jamie Whincup knows what it's like to run out of fuel. Picture. Phil Hillyard
Jamie Whincup knows what it's like to run out of fuel. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Make sure you remain hydrated. Your lounge room may not be as hot as a Supercar cockpit, but you don't want to run the risk of cooking your engine.

Keep your pit stops regular. The drivers need to make a compulsory seven pit stops during the race, but I'd recommend trying to take one at least every hour.

Don't do a Jamie Whincup and run out of fuel. Make sure you have your lunch planned before the day starts and have plenty of snacks on hand to get through the 161 laps.