IF you’re a rev-head, the Bathurst 1000 is the real race that stops the nation in Australia.
Each October, the Virgin Australian Supercars Championship stops in Bathurst for a grueling 161-lap endurance race around Mount Panorama.
The victor walks away with the Peter Brock Trophy, named after the King of the Mountain, who had clocked up nine Bathurst 1000 victories prior to his death in 2006.
On Thursday, the countdown to the Great Race officially begun with the launch of the event in Sydney.
The event was attended by Supercars chief executive officer Sean Seamer, Hall of Fame driver Colin Bond and defending Bathurst 1000 champion David Reynolds, as well as Bathurst mayor Graeme Hanger and state member Paul Toole.
Reynolds and Bond were brought together for a special anniversary, with 2018 marking 50 years since Holden’s first victory on Mount Panorama.
Reynolds will be racing to defend Holden’s victory this year, while Bond had backed-up Holden’s Bathurst success in 1969 with Tony Roberts.
The Bathurst 1000 has obvious significance to drivers, but it is also an important event on the calendar for regional towns and cities, the state and the economy.
“The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is a signature event not only for Bathurst and the Central West, but all NSW,” Mr Toole said.
“Bathurst and Mount Panorama are literally synonymous with car racing and we are rightly proud to host this event.”
The presence of drivers on the mount for the endurance race is worth more than $55 million to the state economy annually and more than $30 million to the Central West.
“Of that, more than $26 million is injected into the Bathurst economy, making this event vitally important for the hundreds of full-time jobs it supports,” Mr Toole said.
The event brings thousands of people to the city and last year the second-biggest crowd in history was recorded, with 205,693 fans present at Mount Panorama.
As there are several milestones being marked in 2018, that number is expected to be matched, and perhaps exceeded, come October 7.
Adding to the excitement, a further three legends of motor sport will have their names added to Legends Lane, an honour introduced in 2017, during the event.
Mr Seamer said this year’s Legends Lane inductees played a significant role in helping to forge Mount Panorama’s great history, both on and off the track.
“It is an honour to be announcing three new inductees into Legend’s Lane,” he said.
“While much of its traditions are forged in touring cars, the mountain also has a history in many forms of motorsport, including bikes and other categories.
“In fact, there are many greats of the mountain who may not have raced a car or ridden a bike but played an equally important part in its history.”
The new inductees will be revealed on October 5.
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