WHEN Supercars announced that the Bathurst 1000 would be the first round of the 2019 Enduro Cup, it signalled a long break in tradition.
Not only will it mark the first time the three-round Enduro Cup commences at Bathurst since its introduction in 2013, but it will be the first time since 1967 that there is no 'warm-up' enduro before the Great Race.
The break in tradition which will see the Bathurst 1000 followed by the Gold Coast 600 then Sandown 500 means an added degree of difficulty in what is already the most challenging race on the calendar.
For some that prospect is a little daunting, others are not concerned, but what all agree on is that it will add further interest to the battle which unfolds at Mount Panorama.
Here are the thoughts of some of those who will tackle the 161-lap epic come Sunday.
GARTH TANDER - CAR #97
"I think it definitely changes the dynamic of it and I think it probably creates a lot of uncertainty and anxieties, nervousness, amongst a lot of the teams," Tander, who will co-drive Shane van Gisbergen's Red Bull Racing Commodore, said.
"I guess we're fortunate in our team with Craig [Lowndes] and myself being first year out of the series full-time, that we are almost basically full-timers anyway. We can jump in the car and feel comfortable straight away, we don't need that Sandown weekend to relax and ease into the role.
"Whereas I think right now a lot of teams up and down Pit Lane will be saying it doesn't make a lot of difference, I think come Bathurst week and we do the first practice day on Thursday, there will be noticeable differences in some teams because they haven't had that warm up event, that Sandown 500.
"I think everyone is putting on a brave front at the moment, but I'm sure there are a few nerves in the background."
NICK PERCAT - CAR #8
"Bathurst is always super exciting, but it is interesting rocking up there for the first enduro of the season. It will be bit of pressure on the co-drivers, pressure on the teams," Percat, who sits eighth in the championship, said.
"For the main driver it is really not much different because we are always in the cars and it's normal to go to a race track and not have been there for 12 months. But the co-drivers haven't driven the cars that much and there's a lot of pressure on them.
"When we roll down Pit Lane and say we are doing brakes, it's going to be interesting the first one, everyone will be a little bit anxious. That's where Brad [Jones], the team boss in our team, can have a bit of influence and keep everyone calm."
SCOTT McLAUGHLIN - CAR #17
"It's certainly different, I wouldn't say it's more challenging, everyone is pretty on it these days, I feel like we've been testing and have been preparing for the race for a long time. But certainly not having the warm-up and going through the procedures just makes you need to practice it more, driver changes and pit stops sort of stuff," McLaughlin, who currently leads the Supercars championship, said.
"There's more to lose I guess now.
"It's all going to be really about no mistakes, probably more so from the co-drivers I think. You know it's a big ask racing Bathurst straight away.
"But we've all got pretty decent ones up in that front pack and I think everything should be alright. It's going to be an interesting one for sure. I can't tell you exactly what it's going to be like, but it's going to fast and a bit different."
ASH WALSH - CAR #14
"I think even with the miles under my belt from doing Super2 this year, it is a big ask coming to Bathurst as the first race," Walsh, who will co-driver for Tim Slade, said.
"We do normally have Sandown as a bit of a dress rehearsal, just for the little things like the driver change practice and things that by the time you get to Bathurst, they are usually pretty polished.
"You've got all the nerves and butterflies out of the way, but we're straight into it this year."
RICK KELLY - CAR #15
"I guess it's a little bit of an anxious time ... even though Bathurst has the same points as the other enduros, it's a pretty prestigious event and with motor sport being our livelihood, it's something that we think about for a fairly long time before," the Nissan Altima driver said.
"Sandown being usually the first enduro, you see a lot of little mistakes being made, mostly in Pit Lane with the driver changes and brake changes and all those little things which are abnormal in our championship until you get to enduro season.
"So it's going to be a lot more pressure, not only on the co-drivers, but on the pit crew as well. That's going to add to the event, there's definitely going to be more chaos in Pit Lane and probably on the track."
CHAZ MOSTERT - CAR #55
"It's a super-tough mentality going into this year, normally with the enduros you've got that first race at Sandown, it's a good warm up for your co-drivers and the team because there are a lot more factors which go into enduro races than what there are for the sprint races," the Tickford Racing star said.
"If something does happen at Sandown you're gutted because the Sandown 500 is it's own epic little event as well, but you know you've got another chance with the big Holy Grail of Bathurst as well.
"This year, first cab off the rank is a lot to play for ... at the end of the day you'll need a lot of luck there, so we'll see how it all pans out."
DAVID REYNOLDS - CAR #9
"I think it suits the really experienced guys, I think they're looking forward to the challenge. I think the younger kids probably don't agree with the change, but I'm all for it," the 2017 Bathurst 1000 victor said.
"I think Sandown is only a bit of a fluff up session and Bathurst is the big one you want to hang out for.
"Going into that race, it's the one that means a lot, why can't we just go to the big dance straight away rather have this little dance leading up to it?"
TIM SLADE - CAR #14
"I guess it's the first time that I've ever gone straight to Bathurst as the first enduro, I think it's always been nice to have had a precursor to the Great Race because it does give the co-drivers an opportunity to get up to speed in the cars on a track that's not quite as challenging as what Bathurst is," Slade, who is in his 10th season as a full-time driver, said.
"From a team perspective, it gives you a bit more of an opportunity to fine tune all the procedural things that are different at an endurance event compared to a normal sprint round.
"Obviously you normally have to be well and truly on top of that heading into Sandown, but we don't normally do a full brake change at Sandown and we do at Bathurst, so going straight into Bathurst with things like that, it's definitely going to be different.
"It could potentially catch out a few people."
CRAIG LOWNDES - CAR #88
"It think that's a big issue, not having that 500 race lead in where you normally get your issues and problems out of the way. We come straight into the first endurance race of the year here," Lowndes, who will reunite with Jamie Whincup in this year's Bathurst 1000, said.
"If you're not performing well in the championship, you want to perform in the Bathurst 1000, so there is pressure, but with our experience it will help and I know the preparation of the car won't be a question."
DEAN CANTO - CAR #21
"It's always good going into enduros with continuity so this year, because there is no warm up for Bathurst, everyone needs to be on their A game. Changing teams obviously makes it a bit more of a challenge," Canto, who will be Macauley Jones' co-driver, said.
"But everyone is professional, so hopefully everything will run smoothly."
TIM BLANCHARD - CAR #8
"I know everyone in the team very well, the car and all the procedures pretty well, which is very handy coming into the enduros, especially with Bathurst being the first one this year," Blanchard, who will be Nick Percat's co-driver, said.
"It's going to be challenging for everyone, but we're looking forward to it.
"Having Sandown was always good to get some of the issues related to driver changes and getting co-drivers up to speed - all those sort of things that can get you unstuck pretty quickly, we had Sandown to get on top of that.
"Bathurst first this year, we're straight in the deep end so preparation is going to be key. It's going to be noticeable which teams have done all the hard work before they get to Bathurst in terms of their preparation."