19 Oct 2020

NZ's Shane van Gisbergen wins Bathurst 1000

10:16 am on 19 October 2020

New Zealand's Shane van Gisbergen has broken through for a long-awaited maiden victory in the Australian Supercars Bathurst 1000.

Shane van Gisbergen.

Shane van Gisbergen. Photo: Photosport

A two-horse race had emerged through the back half of the 2020 Great Race, as van Gisbergen and co-driver Garth Tander battled it out with polesitting combination Cameron Waters and Will Davison.

Just when it seemed like there would be a rare straightforward run to the flag - van Gisbergen having thwarted some Waters' advances - the Mountain claimed a trio of rookies in the final 10 laps to bunch the field.

The Safety Car was called on lap 152 with Jack Smith beached at The Chase and Bryce Fullwood moments later crashing at The Esses.

A six-lap dash to the flag was then interrupted by Zane Goddard smashing into The Grate soon after racing resumed.

A short delay made for three final laps in anger to battle it out for the coveted Peter Brock Trophy and it was van Gisbergen who hung on, sealing the deal by twice setting the fastest lap of the race straight after the restart.

It capped an outstanding performance in his 14th start at Mount Panorama, having twice been runner-up.

"It's just awesome," beamed van Gisbergen, after picking up a Holden flag on his victory lap.

"The last few laps were really tough with the Safety Cars but the team did a faultless job and the car got better all weekend, so thanks to my guys.

"We had a great car and it's a great way to send out Holden. Thanks to Garth, he did an awesome job. I just wish my Mum and Dad were here."

Shane van Gisbergen & Garth Tander winners of the 2020 Bathurst 1000.


He added of the late restarts: "I knew as long as I got through Turn 2 I would be fine.

"Each time he got pretty close but got through Turn 2 with good grip so I knew I would be ok. Those last three stints were just qualifying laps, so just awesome.

"It was a real track position race, super hard to pass and when that rain came I was a bit slow at the start but then got going.

"That got us to the front and we never left it. Awesome day."

For Tander, it marked his fourth Bathurst win following successes in 2000, '09 and '11.

"It's weird now being in a co-driver role, I would much prefer to be in the car at the end of the race having control over your own destiny but Shane was so good at the end there," he said.

"This one will take a little while to sink in, it's been such a strange year… a really special one, I'll sit back and enjoy it."

Waters was a fine second - clinching a career-best second in the championship in the process - just 0.8663 behind at the finish.

Chaz Mostert took third for Walkinshaw Andretti United to give veteran co-driver Warren Luff a sixth Bathurst podium in the past nine years.

Rounding out the top five were the Shell V-Power Racing entries of Fabian Coulthard and champion-elect Scott McLaughlin, who is widely expected to make a full-time move to IndyCar next year.

A curveball had been thrown McLaughlin's way with the cruel timing of a Safety Car called on lap 97 for the first case of Smith's Commodore being stricken in the gravel.

The Shell Ford co-driver Tim Slade had been on the verge of completing his minimum 54 laps for the day when the race was neutralised, forcing Slade to drive an additional stint.

That left him exposed against primary drivers when the race restarted on lap 100, losing spots to Waters, Mostert and Coulthard.

An early penultimate pitstop got McLaughlin back in the car and he would bang out some quick enough lap times to jump teammate Coulthard when the rest of the lead pack dived into the pits for the sixth time.

Van Gisbergen though remained at the head of the field, with Waters staying right on his tail as third-placed Mostert closed in.

McLaughlin was the first to pull into the lane for his final stop on lap 138; Mostert followed two laps later, with van Gisbergen, Waters and Coulthard all stopping on lap 142.

A brave pit entry and slick Tickford stop narrowed Waters' deficit to leader van Gisbergen to just 0.5s.

Van Gisbergen had vaulted to the front of the field during a brief wet period a third of the way into an otherwise unexpectedly dry race and not even the late Safety Car twists could bring him unstuck.

With Bathurst marking the final stop on the 2020 Australia Supercars Championship calendar, McLaughlin is now officially a three-time title winner.

Waters meanwhile finishes a breakthrough year as series runner-up, leapfrogging Whincup.