An exciting win by Mark Winterbottom at Mount Panorama will have made up for his disappointment of 2007 when he led with 10 laps to go only to skid off the circuit. Winterbottom drove well to earn the victory by holding off a strong and determined drive by Whincup in a final sprint to the line in damp, windy conditions. The final gap between first and second place was 0.47 of a second and remarkably it’s the fifth year in a row that less than a second separated the top two cars.
This year for the first time you had to be Sky Sport subscriber to be able to watch Bathurst 1000 from the couch, unless of course you were there. For as long as most people can remember it’s been free to air and so many grumpy race fans were created this year.
However if you’re a Ford fan and have a Sky Sport subscription then Mark Winterbottom & Steven Richards delivered one of the most dramatic finishes seen at Mount Panorama in ages. They held out the series leader and defending champion Jamie Whincup and the five-times champion Craig Lowndes who was partnered by Warren Luff, both Holden teams. Lowndes finished third in his 20th Bathurst and 500th career race start.
This is a first for both Winterbottom and Ford Performance Racing. Winterbottom having never reached the podium in 10 previous Bathurst starts and this being FPR’s first win at Mount Panorama adding to FPR’s podium finish back in 2004. It unfolded a few days after Ford ended speculation of a pull out of racing by announcing it would support FPR again in 2014.
The key moment in the race was when Winterbottom emerged from the pits in front of Whincup to take the race lead after 138 laps of 161 with both just having completed the seven pit stops.
A really strong finish by Lowndes and Tander threatened both Winterbottom and Whincup when their car was recording faster lap times at the same time on the wet track.
Every car in the race was required to have seven pit stops to cater for the newcomers. Both Nissan and Mercedes needed more fuel stops due to their economy issues, which caused more than normal lead changes throughout the five hours of racing. There were only two safety cars one after Todd Kelly's Nissan hit a kangaroo on lap 20 and the Holden veteran Greg Murphy crashed into the wall at 135 kmh. All up a great race for 2013.