What makes the Bathurst 1000 so special

Mount Panorama
Mount Panorama

With less than a week now until the Bathurst 1000, the focus is well and truly on Mount Panorama.

As early as Monday and Tuesday next week, drivers and teams will begin arriving in Bathurst to prepare.

The team transporters will make their traditional arrival on Wednesday afternoon with the Pantech Parade.

Drivers will have countless public appearances, signing autographs and talking to the media before they hit the track for their first practise session on Thursday.

It's a busy time for everyone involved in the race but all will tell you that it's worth it because completing 1000 kilometres around Mount Panorama is one of the most satisfying aspects of the V8 Supercar calendar.

The Holden versus Ford series has evolved over the years with tracks coming and going and technical advances in all aspects of the sport but none of it has diminished the uniqueness of the 1000.

V8 Supercars have also had a tendency to overlook tradition in the interest of trying to attract a new breed of fans, including several street circuit races on the calendar that are almost more focused on the off-track entertainment like concerts than the racing. They also moved the traditional 500 kilometre race before Bathurst from Sandown to Ipswich and in the last three years to Phillip Island.

However, the category knows better than to mess with Bathurst.

The race might not draw as big a crowd as the Clipsal 500 at Adelaide or match the glamour of the Gold Coast, and it might not be right in the backyard of four million people like the Sydney 500, but that is part of what makes Bathurst great.

Every year 60,000 spectators make the pilgrimage to Mount Panorama, a circuit that started as a scenic drive, following the natural gradient of the mountain, resulting in some punishing climbs and tight, high speed bends.

The track also has history that can never be taken away. History like Peter Brock's six lap win in 1979 when he also set the lap record on the last lap of the race, Alllan Moffat and Colin Bond's famous 1-2 finish in 1977 and Dick Johnson's incident with The Rock in 1980 that almost ruined him, only for him to come back a year later and win.

It is a circuit unlike any other in Australia and only matched by a few in the world. Next Thursday it will come to life again.

The question now is whether anyone can stop the Team Vodafone juggernaut from winning their fifth Bathurst title in six years and whether Craig Lowndes and Mark Skaife will extend their winning run.