THE Shell V-Power Racing Team last night took the next big step in its celebration of a monumental milestone.
At the upcoming Repco Bathurst 1000, the Ford powerhouse will become the first team to tally 1000 Supercars Championship races – and for the occasion, it will roll out a 1998 tribute livery.
But they aren’t the only ones with cause for celebrations at Mount Panorama…
The Lowndes legend grows
At Bathurst, Craig Lowndes will become the first driver in history to make 300 Supercars Championship round starts.
He was victorious in the very first of those, way back in January 1996 at Sydney Motorsport Park.
He’s not done yet either, with a Triple Eight Race Engineering co-driver contract in hand for 2023.
Reynolds roars to 400
It will be a different milestone occasion for another of the Bathurst 1000 winners in the field: David Reynolds.
The 37-year-old will make his 400th championship race start when he shares his #26 Penrite Mustang with Matt Campbell at The Mountain.
Reynolds’ debut came more than 15 years ago now, alongside Cameron McConville at the 2007 Sandown 500.
Give it a few more years and he’ll be knocking on the door of the 500 club (he could become the 13th member; Shane van Gisbergen is on course to be the 12th).
De Pasquale turns 150
In race starts, that is.
De Pasquale is now well into year five as a main game regular, having jumped straight into the deep end at the 2018 Adelaide 500 without any prior co-driving experience.
After three seasons at Erebus Motorsport, 2023 will mark his third campaign with Dick Johnson Racing.
Frosty joins Bathurst veterans club
This isn’t quite an exclusive club, but it’s still a feat worth celebrating – i.e. that Mark Winterbottom will be lining up for his 20th Bathurst 1000.
Forty drivers before him have reached 20, including five of his contemporaries: Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander, Greg Murphy, Warren Luff and Jamie Whincup.
Winterbottom won the 2013 edition with Steven Richards. This year he’ll join forces (again) with Michael Caruso in Team 18’s Irwin Commodore.
The new class
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there’s a large list of first-timers.
Seven of those are drivers: Jaxon Evans, Matt Payne, Cameron Hill, Aaron Seton, Matt Chahda, Jaylyn Robotham and Declan Fraser.
Teams PremiAir Racing and Matt Chahda Motorsport will also make their debuts in the championship’s premier event.