IN just over 60 days, Mount Panorama will come alive with spectators, driver, trucks and the sounds of 25 Supercars vying to win Australia's biggest car race.
The Bathurst 1000 was officially launched in Sydney on Wednesday, with drivers from different teams there to talk about the event and their prospects of taking home the Peter Brock Trophy.
This year, eyes are likely to be on seven-time Bathurst winner and defending champion Craig Lowndes, who will tackle the race as co-driver for Jamie Whincup after retiring from full-time racing at the end of 2018.
For him, the Mountain is a special place.
"I love that time of year. I really embrace the energy of Bathurst, the crowd and I'm going to really enjoy this year," he said.
Although he is a master, Lowndes never gets complacent with the Mountain. He also knows that it poses quite the challenge for international drivers, who never truly know what to expect until they cut their first laps.
"You've go 6.24 kilometres of road that really needs your attention from turn one to the last corner and especially across the top of the mountain, where the elevation just goes up and you get to skyline and then it goes right down again," he said, adding that television cameras fail to capture the elevation.
Lowndes hopes to add an eighth Bathurst title to his name this year and is in a good position to do just that, given he won three years in a row alongside Whincup.
"I wouldn't pair up with Jamie if I didn't believe it was my best opportunity," he said.
Lowndes' former enduro partner, Steven Richards, will partner Mark Winterbottom, who he won the Great Race with in 2013.
Richards said it will be different to be driving against Lowndes instead of with him, but he's not concerned about being part of a new team for this year's Enduro Cup.
"It doesn't change the way that I go about things, but it does give me a whole new level of hunger to get involved and try to help Frosty build a team and make it a threat for that race and those other races," Richards said on Wednesday.
This year, the Bathurst 1000 will serve as the opening round of the Enduro Cup.
Bathurst has always been the second stop of the Cup since it began in 2013, however the shake-up to the calendar has been welcomed.
Bathurst Regional councillor Warren Aubin said it will serve as a unique form guide for the three-round event.
"Being first, with international drivers coming out to join the circus, and Bathurst being the most treacherous track they race on in the Enduro Cup, that might just separate the men - and woman - from the boys," he said.
"It will be a real eye-opener for some of them."
The Bathurst 1000 race event will be held from October 10 to 13.
Between now and then, council will need to prepare the track and the city for the arrival of teams, officials and spectators, which is always an enormous task.
And although it is something council has no control over, there will be a focus on the weather.
Cr Aubin said it would be good to have rain, not only because of the drought, but because it makes for interesting racing.
"You want a wet and dry race. Things are more interesting when it's a dry start and then it gets wet and then the track dries out again - that makes it a really good race," he said.
When asked who he thinks will win this year, Cr Aubin said there are around 12 pairings that he thinks are in contention, with one having a slight edge over the others.
"On Bathurst form, you'd have to look at David Reynolds (driving with Luke Youlden) as having a good chance, having won it one year and almost won it last year before he ran out of gas," he said.
"I'd say he'd have to be a dark horse."
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- Drivers with an asterisk are suspected by Supercars to be the co-driver for a particular driver, but have not been confirmed.