WHILE young drivers have recently broken through for race wins in the Supercars Championship, the same can’t be said for the Repco Bathurst 1000.
Since 2010, only four drivers – Nick Percat, Jamie Whincup, Chaz Mostert and Scott McLaughlin – have won the ‘Great Race’ while still under the age of 30.
There also is a trend of teams pairing young drivers with experienced hands: 14 of the 25 cars in the 2021 field feature a co-driver that has more Bathurst 1000 starts than the primary driver.
As a result, it’s now rare that two young drivers combine to claim a ‘Great Race’ win.
In fact, the top five list of the youngest driver pairings to win the Bathurst 1000 has not changed in almost two decades.
There are two driver pairings in the 2021 field that would top this list should they win – the two Matt Stone Racing entries of Jake/Kurt Kostecki and Zane Goddard/Jayden Ojeda – but none of the pre-race favourites even come close to cracking this top five.
No.5 – BARRY SETON and MIDGE BOSWORTH
1965 Armstrong 500
Average age: 26 years, 233 days
Often remembered for Bo scoring the Seton family’s sole ‘Great Race’ victory, co-driver Midge Bosworth was just 24 years and 102 days old when they won the 1965 race.
Bosworth remained the youngest driver to win the Bathurst enduro for over three decades.
No.4 – GARTH TANDER and JASON BARGWANNA
2000 FAI 1000
Average age: 26 years, 38 days
Garry Rogers’ youth policy paid out in 2000 with a popular triumph in the ‘Great Race’.
Bargwanna’s sole Bathurst triumph at age 28 came exactly a decade after his first start, while 23-year-old Tander’s victory was the first of four to date.
No.3 – JASON BRIGHT and STEVE RICHARDS
1998 FAI 1000 Classic
Average age: 26 years, 7 days
The Stone Brothers’ sole Bathurst 1000 victory came with a pair of rising young stars at the wheel.
A then-25-year-old Bright was making just his second ‘Great Race’ start, while 26-year-old Richards already had two podium finishes across five previous starts.
No.2 – GREG MURPHY and RICK KELLY
2003 Bob Jane T-Marts 1000
Average age: 25 years, 341 days
Murphy’s pole lap feels more revered than the 31-year-old’s victory the following day, but the race win established a feat for Kelly that has outlasted the ‘Lap of the Gods’ as a record.
Kelly remains the youngest driver to win the Bathurst 1000, being just 20 years, 268 days old on race day in 2003.
No.1 – CRAIG LOWNDES and GREG MURPHY
1996 AMP Bathurst 1000
Average age: 23 years, 76 days
It’s no real surprise that the duo that triggered the youth revolution in touring car racing also own this record.
Lowndes was the younger of the two – at 22 years, 107 days old, he was the driver who broke Bosworth’s record – although both he and 24-year-old Murphy were both making their third Bathurst 1000 starts.