CRAZY, incredible and special moments - that's what defending Bathurst 1000 champion Lee Holdsworth is anticipating next month when he forms part of the biggest Great Race grid in almost a decade.
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With three wildcard entries approved for this year's edition of the enduro epic, it means a total 28 cars are set to tackle the Bathurst 1000.
That is the biggest field since the 29-car grid in 2013. That year Mark Winterbottom and Steve Richards claimed the chequered flag for Ford Performance Racing.
This year's race will mark Holdsworth's last Bathurst 1000 as a full-time member of the Supercars grid, the Penrite Racing driver having announced his retirement in late August.
He'll also line up as a defending champion for the first time, having paired with Chaz Mostert to win last year's 161-lap race.
So the veteran of more than 500 race starts is aiming to soak up every moment of his time in Bathurst.
"I guess it's a bit strange that it's definitely going to be my last as a full-time driver, but I'm just going to enjoy it," he said.
"Bathurst is a big week and you tend to do well when you enjoy it. The atmosphere is crazy and going back there as reigning Bathurst champion is going to be pretty special as well.
"I'm just going to really try and enjoy the week and make the most of it being my last as a full-time driver."
Before hitting the track for opening practice on Thursday morning, Holdsworth is looking forward to having his name added to the Victors' Walk on Wednesday.
"To get the plaque in the main street, it's going to be pretty special," he said.
"Not many drivers have been able to put their name on a plaque and there's some pretty incredible, legend names on a plaque already.
"So that's one part of the week I'm going to cherish."
Alongside Holdsworth in the #10 Penrite Racing Ford Mustang for the Great Race will be 19-year-old Matt Payne.
While Holdsworth is lining up for his 19th Great Race, it will be Payne's first.
"That experience I have goes a long way and that's something I'll try to use to my advantage with my co-driver Matt Payne, he's only a young bloke, this is is first Bathurst 1000," Holdsworth said.
"I'll be trying to, I guess, hold his hand through it all and try and make sure it doesn't get too much for him before we hit the track.
"It's kind of strange I feel like I'm just about to take my son for his first driving lesson. But look he knows his way around there, he's been there before plus he'll be there in Super2 as well.
"He's going to get plenty of laps under the belt, but the Bathurst 1000 will be a completely different kettle of fish to what he'll be used to and it's such a long day.
"You don't really realise how long the day is until you get about halfway through the day, you'll hit lap 100 and you think 'It's nearly over' but then you realise it's still another two or three hours in the race."
Though Payne was locked in as Holdsworth's co-driver some time ago, the final seat for this year's Bathurst 1000 was only confirmed on Monday afternoon.
That's when Brad Jones Racing announced Jaxon Evans as co-driver alongside Jack Smith.
The 26-year-old Kiwi will be making his Great Race debut, but he is familiar with endurance racing at Mount Panorama.
Evans has raced in the Bathurst 12 Hour on three occasions, most recently in 2020 when placing second in class in a Porsche 911 GT3 he shared with David Calvert-Jones and Romain Dumas.
"Endurance racing isn't new to me, and neither is Bathurst, but heading there in a Supercar is definitely going to be a pinch me moment," Evans said.
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