THE 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship has taken on a very different look given the impact of COVID-19 this year.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is one of many events that has taken on a different role in the heavily reworked season schedule, moving back one week to take place on Sunday October 18 and doubling as the final round of the 2020 championship.
It marks the first time since the 1999 and 2000 seasons that the ‘Great Race’ has served as the championship-deciding round, but this year it will serve as Supercars’ only endurance race of 2020 with The Bend now set to host a pair of SuperSprint rounds in the lead-up to Bathurst and the Gold Coast 600 cancelled.
So who is with who for this year’s Bathurst 1000?
We’ve put together this list to help you keep across who is with who for this year’s ‘Great Race’.
The final entry list is almost squared away with Tim Blanchard confirmed alongside Macauley Jones at Brad Jones Racing in the final vacant co-drive in a full-time car.
Dylan O’Keeffe will join Andre Heimgartner in the #7 Ned Whisky-backed Ford Mustang for his maiden start in the Bathurst 1000.
The 22-year-old made his Supercars Championship debut last year at the Gold Coast 600 as a stand-in for Richie Stanaway, and will make his ‘Great Race’ debut after hurrying home from becoming the first Australian driver to take part in the WTCR World Touring Car Cup at Zolder in Belgium a fortnight ago.
With all the seats in full-time cars locked away, the only question mark remains over this year’s sole wildcard entry.
Garry Rogers Motorsport has confirmed it will return to Supercars for a wildcard entry at the Bathurst 1000, but its driver lineup has been cast into doubt.
The plan was to run a car for all-youth combination Tyler Everingham and Nathan Herne, however the latter has not been given a Superlicence dispensation by Motorsport Australia.
“In considering the circumstances and the driver’s experience, as well as the fact that this dispensation is being requested for one of the most challenging motorsport events and venues in the world, Motorsport Australia has decided not to provide a dispensation to Nathan Herne,” Motorsport Australia CEO Eugene Arocca said.
“Motorsport Australia has consulted with the Supercars Commission who are aligned with this decision, given the nature of the event and the location in question.
“Nathan has also yet to compete in any Supercars event, and has no Super2 or Super3 experience, so consideration of the risks of stepping straight into a Supercar at the top level at Bathurst was a part of our decision making process.
“The Superlicence requirement was introduced in 2016 by Motorsport Australia and is intended to maintain the highest safety and driving standards across the sport.”
Rogers has flagged his intention to appeal the decision.
Team Sydney owner and 2016 Bathurst co-winner Jonathon Webb will join Alex Davison in the team’s #19 Holden, while Steve Owen will start his 21st ‘Great Race’ alongside Chris Pither in the #22 Holden.
Jack Perkins will join Jack Smith at Brad Jones Racing, securing an enduro seat after losing his drive alongside Will Davison at 23Red Racing after the team shut down mid-year.
Tickford recently announced a shuffle of its planned lineup due to the impact of COVID-19 with reigning Bathurst co-winner Alexandre Premat now no longer able to travel from the United States for the race.
In his place in the Tickford quartet comes Will Davison, himself out of a full-time drive since the sudden of Milwaukee Tools sponsorship forced 23Red Racing to be shuttered prior to the resumption of the 2020 season in June.
Davison will share the #6 Monster Energy-backed Ford Mustang with Cameron Waters, whose co-driver of last year Michael Caruso will now be reunited with his old Garry Rogers Motorsport teammate Lee Holdsworth in the #5 Truck Assist-sponsored entry.
We also expect Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes to again swap numbers for the endurance races and use #888 rather than Whincup’s usual #88.
Drivers who competed in last year’s Bathurst 1000 who don’t have a seat include: Richard Muscat, Alex Rullo, Dean Canto and Ash Walsh.
It will be the first Bathurst 1000 without Richards on the grid since 1994 – and the first time a ‘Great Race’ has taken place without either Steve or father Jim on the grid since 1973 – while Youlden has competed in every ‘1000 since 2000.
We’ll update this list every time there’s a co-driver officially confirmed in upcoming weeks and months.
|Jack Le Brocq
|Shane van Gisbergen
|Anton De Pasquale