Chasing the ‘Bathurst Calendar Double’

SHANE van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb will both be seeking some Mount Panorama history in this weekend’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.

Not only are both drivers yet to win the most famous race on the Australian Motorsport calendar, no driver has ever followed up a victory in February’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with a win in the October classic eight-and-a-bit months later.

Driving for TEKNO Autosports’ McLaren GT operation, van Gisbergen and Webb teamed with international ace Alvaro Parente to win this year’s 12-hour epic – but with the fast Kiwi moving to Red Bull Racing for this year’s Supercars Championship only one will be able to say they claimed the Bathurst double first should they triumph this Sunday.

Both can consider themselves a chance to achieve a ‘Bathurst Calendar Double’ as both are in cars very much capable of winning this weekend.

Van Gisbergen and co-driver Alex Premat, who finished second in the Wilson Security Sandown 500 last month, can be considered amongst the race favourites driving their Red Bull Racing Commodore.

The pair narrowly missed victory in the Bathurst warm-up, SVG falling less than one second short of the eventual winners – Garth Tander and Warren Luff in their Holden Racing Team Commodore.

Meanwhile, TEKNO boss Webb remains one of the best ‘enduro only’ drivers on the grid and teams with his full-time driver Will Davison this weekend.

The Queensland-based combo finished third at Sandown last month and will be amongst the Bathurst contenders this weekend, Davison looking to add a second Peter Brock trophy to his collection while Webb his first.

Only six drivers have won both Bathurst enduros and just two have achieved the feat back-to-back – winning the 1000km race first before following it up with a win in the 12-hour early the next year.

After teaming with Win Percy to take an incredible win in the 1990 Bathurst 1000, Allan Grice went on to win the inaugural Bathurst 12 Hour race the following year when he shared a Toyota Supra with Nigel Arkell and Peter Fitzgerald.

Meanwhile, fresh from his 1993 Great Race success with Larry Perkins, champion two-wheel racer Greg Hansford continued his run of victories on four wheels by winning the 1994 12-Hour on the Easter long weekend, sharing a Mazda RX-7 with Neil Crompton.

John Bowe has two wins in both the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, while Craig Lowndes, Paul Morris and Tony Longhurst have also won both.

Morris is the only driver to achieve success in the 12-Hour prior to winning the October classic – having driven a BMW to victory in the 2007 and 2010 Bathurst 12 Hour races well before he paired with Chaz Mostert to win the 2014 Supercars epic.

Lowndes won for Ferrari (with Bowe) in 2014 while Longhurst won for Mitsubishi in 2009, driving with Damien White and Rod Salmon.

Nissan are the only brand to have ever won both races, thanks to their Bathurst 1000 double in 1991 and ’92 and their dramatic 12-hour victory in early February 2015.

Nissan finished second in this year’s 12-hour, falling less than two seconds short of the winning McLaren at the line. And while Erebus Motorsport are yet to taste success in the Supercars Bathurst enduro – their success in the 2013 12-Hour will give them hope that a little Mountain Magic could repeat this weekend.

It’s also worth noting that Prodrive Racing Australia driver Chaz Mostert could also get his own piece of Bathurst history this weekend – the Ford driver having teamed with good mate Nathan Morcom to win the first Bathurst 6 Hour Production Car race at Easter this year.