The 2021 Supercars season will kick off at Bathurst as a focused Jamie Whincup looks to get his final year as a full-time driver off to a perfect start.
The seven-time Supercars champion announced he would be retiring at the end of the 2021 season before taking up a role as team principal of Triple Eight Race Engineering.
He will begin his final season on the weekend as one of the favourites at the Mount Panorama 500 alongside Shane van Gisbergen.
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It comes after defending champion Scott McLaughlin made the call to head to the United States and race in IndyCar.
Chaz Mostert impressed with the quickest times in both practice sessions on Friday to put his name forward for the vacant V8 crown.
There will be plenty of attention on Cam Waters too after his strong finish to last season.
The 26-year old faces great expectations, having taken his first solo race win last year at the Bend while he also broke the Mount Panorama lap record to take pole at last October’s Bathurst 1000.
Waters finished with a career-best nine podiums from 27 starts last season and can make an early statement for Tickford Racing as Dick Johnson Racing undergo changes.
DJR has an all-new driver line-up consisting of Will Davison and Anton De Pasquale following the departure of McLaughlin.
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The spotlight will well and truly be placed on De Pasquale who takes McLaughlin’s vacant seat, having finished the 2020 championship in eighth and taken out his first race win.
De Pasquale was the fastest in qualifying to lead the likes of van Gisbergen, Waters and Mostert.
It sets up a thrilling top 10 shootout.
It will be a challenge for all drivers involved though with a change in weather what has normally been expected when competing at Bathurst in October.
It marks the first solo round at Mount Panorama in 25 years.
We are also back at the same course that hosted last season’s finale (the first time that back-to-back scenario has occured in 50 years).
The Mount Panorama 500 will include two single-driver, 250-kilometre races along with two top 10 shootouts to finalise the grid for each race.
Follow all the action in the live blog below. Can’t see it? Click here!
FULL BATHURST 500 EVENT SCHEDULE (SATURDAY):
– All times AEDT
Armor All Qualifying (Race 1): 9:05am – 9:25am
Armor All Top Ten Shootout (Race 1): 12:10pm – 12:50pm
Race 1: 3:00pm – 4:50pm