5 Bathurst moments that will influence fleet services
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It's the best weekend of the year for many fleet managers around Australia, with the country's automotive community taking up residence on the fabled Mount Panorama in Bathurst, NSW.
The Bathurst 1000, so named due to the number of kilometres competitors will travel through the course of the race, is Australia's premier motor racing event, existing as the toughest event on the V8 Supercars calendar.
Each year, teams of two drivers pilot a 600 horsepower race-prepped war machine for roughly six and a half hours. On the surface, this sounds almost manageable, but the treacherous high-speed circuit has seen a fair few attempts end in tears due to its difficult nature.
Naturally, an event of this magnitude has been the scene of almost every possible automotive issue, from encounters with wild animals to running a fuel tank dry. While these situations were disastrous for the effected drivers, they've left plenty of examples that fleet managers can learn from.
1. Jamie Whincup loses the lead - Always be prepared
Six-time series champion Jamie Whincup has won all there is to win in a V8 Supercar, but the dramatic events of last year's Bathurst 1000 have left an empty space in his trophy cabinet.
With a handful of laps to go, Whincup appeared to have a comfortable lead of the race. He'd won Bathurst before, so his team, rivals and the world's spectators thought were they were witnessing yet another victory.
However, the Holden driver was then informed of impending fuel consumption issues, and his crew chief urged him to save fuel - a decision that would mean ceding valuable seconds to pursuing rival Chaz Mostert.
Whincup ignored his crew, running out of fuel on the final lap, handing the victory to Ford rival Chaz Mostert.
The lesson is a tough one for drivers who regularly head into Australia's outback. Always check your fuel, and always listen to your fleet manager.
2. Fabian Coulthard's dramatic roll - Prioritise safety
While there have been innumerable crashes over the years at Bathurst, few incidents were as frightening as Fabian Coulthard's lap one rollover at the fastest part of the circuit.
The Kiwi driver was approaching 300 kilometres per hour at the end of Conrod Straight, a bit of track that leads into a complex of corners known as The Chase. As he prepared for the right hander - taken at full throttle - Coulthard suffered a rear tyre blowout, sending his car into the sand trap where it tumbled end over end, sending pieces of bodywork flying.
Thanks to the safety equipment essential to these modern cars, Coulthard emerged from the car unscathed and under his own power. For some, it was minor miracle. For others, it was yet another advertisement for safer cars.
3. David Russell strikes a kangaroo - Beware of animals
Australia is well known for its unique and often dangerous wildlife. While most people are aware of the dangers posed by crocodiles and an intimidating range of snakes, few are aware that kangaroos and other apparently harmless animals can be just as much of a threat to high-speed vehicles.
David Russell learnt this lesson the hard way in what was supposed to be Nissan Motorsport's triumphant return to the mountain. The driver hit a kangaroo which had made its way onto the track at more than 160 kilometres per hour, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald.
The damage was substantial, breaking the steering in Russell's Nissan Altima and forcing him out of the race.
4. Greg Murphy's 'Lap Of The Gods' - The value of teamwork
There are some positive lessons that can be learnt from past events as well, with the mountain being the scene of as many triumphs as it has moments of pain. As with any sport, teamwork in motor racing is key, and the ranks of engineers, mechanics and team principals are all essential to a successful Bathurst campaign.
In 2003, Kiwi Greg Murphy illustrated the results of effective teamwork by breaking the lap record in qualifying, an event that has since been dubbed "The Lap Of The Gods". The achievement was also recognised as the Most Thrilling Bathurst Moment in a competition run by UBET and V8 Supercars. Check out the footage below.
5. Larry Perkins wins from last place - Never give up
Some people thrive under impossible odds, like the expert pairing of Larry Perkins and Russell Ingall who achieved a landmark victory in the 1995 race. Starting third, the team were considered a good chance of finishing there or higher. However, a puncture on lap one sent them to the back of the pack.
Many teams would write the race off at this point, but not this one. By producing one of the greatest drives ever seen on the mountain - and with a bit of luck - the pair fought back to claim top spot on the podium, writing themselves into the history books in the process.