CRAIG LOWNDES and Steven Richards have won the fastest ever Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, enhancing both of their remarkable records at Mount Panorama in the process.
The pair won by just over seven seconds, their Autobarn Lowndes Racing Holden Commodore, leading home Scott Pye and Warren Luff (Walkinshaw Andretti United Holden) and Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat (Shell V-Power Racing Falcon) after just over six hours of racing.
The 2018 triumph marks Lowndes’ seventh triumph in the October classic, drawing him level with Jim Richards for second on the all-time winners list in the race.
It was also his ninth Bathurst endurance race victory, adding to his pair of Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour success in 2014 and 2017, respectively.
Richards’ victory was his fifth in the Bathurst 1000 – placing him sixth on the all-time list – and adds to his Bathurst 24-Hour endurance race success also achieved at Mount Panorama in the early 2000s.
The race featured the usual Bathurst drama, Erebus Motorsport’s David Reynolds and Luke Youlden dominating much of the race before the former succumbed to serious cramping in his legs, forcing him into another pit stop and ultimately out of the car.
After qualifying first and third, the former 12-hour winning team ultimately finished 13th and 24th in a disappointing day.
12-hour stars filled many of the top five places: 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour Pirelli Pole award winner Chaz Mostert teamed with James Moffat to finish fourth, while 2016 12-hour winner Shane van Gisbergen paired with double Class B winner Earl Bamber to finish fifth.
Heading into the Vodafone Gold Coast 600, Scott McLaughlin now trails van Gisbergen by just 19 points in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, while Lowndes and Richards lead the Pirtek Endurance Cup into the Gold Coast finale’.
Lowndes’ 2007 12-Hour winning teammate Jamie Whincup and co-driver Paul Dumbrell lost two laps early in the race but recovered to 10th place thanks to a stunning drive through the field.
Though yet to confirm his participation in the race, Lowndes has targeted further success in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour as part of his expanded racing plans in 2019, following full-time retirement from Supercars competition.
The 2019 race will be held between January 30 – February 3.