The Ford Performance Mustang Supercar has won the 2019 Supercheap Auto 1000 from Pole Position. The driver pairing of Scott McLaughlin and Alexandre Prémat in the #17 Shell V-Power Racing Ford Mustang won the 1,000km ‘Great Race’ after setting a new lap record in qualifying to start first on the grid for the 2019 event.
“Bathurst is the race that every team and driver wants to win and to see Scott and Alex take the chequered flag for Mustang’s first Bathurst victory is something truly special,” said Kay Hart, President and CEO, Ford Australia and New Zealand.
“The Mustang has had an amazing season, but winning Bathurst in its first championship year is a proud moment for our Ford Performance team. We have to congratulate the entire Shell V-Power Racing Team on this historic win.”
The 161-lap race saw Mustangs start first, second and third, with McLaughlin’s Pole Lap beating Chaz Mostert, in the #55 Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing entry, and #6 Cameron Waters, qualifying in a third place in the Armor All Top Ten Shootout.
Six Ford Performance Mustang Supercars competed at the 2019 event, with Thomas Randle the only Bathurst 1000 debutant as Lee Holdsworth’s co-driver in the #5 Tickford Bottle-O Tickford Racing entry. Sharing the same garage was the #55 Tickford Supercheap Auto Racing Mustang of Chaz Mostert and James Moffat, while Cameron Waters was paired with Michael Caruso in the #6 Tickford Racing Monster Energy Mustang. Will Davison was joined by his brother Alex Davison in the #23 Tickford Racing Milwaukee Mustang.
Shell V-Power Racing continued the same driver partnerships of 2018 for this year’s event, with Fabian Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto joining forces in car #12, while defending Champion and current series leader McLaughlin was teamed with Alexandre Prémat.
Proving quick in practice, four Mustangs qualified in the top ten of Friday’s rain-affected qualifying session, with only the Mustangs of Holdsworth (P20) and Coulthard (P16) missing out. Defending Champion and current series leader, Scott McLaughlin, topped the session with a 2:27.6476 in the damp conditions, with Mostert just 0.4008 seconds behind in second place. Tickford Racing’s Will Davison was fourth fastest and Cameron Waters, also from Tickford, set the eighth-fastest time to see four Mustangs in the Top Ten.
Saturday’s shootout saw Cameron Waters turn in a superb lap to jump from eighth to third on the grid, with Will Davison in sixth place. Mostert was again second fastest, after a new lap record from McLaughlin saw his Mustang claim Armor All Pole Position for the 15th time in the 2019 season and make Mustang first, second and third on the grid.
Sunday’s race saw a delayed start following an incident on the warm-up lap, with McLaughlin, Mostert and Waters leading the pack up Mountain Straight for the first of 161 laps. Further in the field, Will and Alex Davison maintained position six, while Tony D’Alberto, who drove alongside Fabian Coulthard in the #12 Shell V-Power Racing Mustang, made steady progress after starting in 16th.
The 1000-kilometre contest saw several Safety Car periods, and saw Cameron Waters and Chaz Mostert collide at The Chase on lap 123, sending both Mustangs into the gravel trap. Fortunately, they were able to make it back to the pits for repairs, which enabled them to return to the race and be classified as finishers, gaining valuable championship points. Both had displayed potentially-race winning pace, however the incident dropped them out of contention for a strong result.
The race winning #17 Shell V-Power Mustang, which followed on from its qualifying lap record to set a new race lap record, had been close to the front of the field for the majority of the race, staying in touch with the lead pack to be well positioned after Prémat handed the car over to McLaughlin, who completed multiple driving ‘stints’ back-to-back.
The final 40 laps provided a showdown which saw McLaughlin regain the lead after Jamie Whincup made a pit-stop during a Safety Car period with only ten laps remaining. With car #12 battling cooling issues, McLaughlin led the Mustangs for pace up front, but was pushed as various teams and drivers gambled between saving fuel to make it to the end of the race, and having enough pace to remain with the lead pack.
A Safety Car period with only three laps to run set-up a nail-biting single-lap dash of green flag racing as the field lapped Mount Panorama for the final time, with McLaughlin driving his Mustang to victory despite significant pressure from the field on his tail.
The win is Ford Mustang’s first Bathurst 1000 crown in the race’s 56-year history at the mountain, the first Ford win since 2014, and the 21st for the Ford brand since 1963. It was Shell V-Power Racing’s first win since 1994.
Scott McLaughlin leads the 2019 Drivers’ Championship in the #17 Mustang, with 3308 points, with Shell V-Power Racing team-mate Fabian Coulthard third in the overall standings on 2521 points. Chaz Mostert is fourth in the Supercheap
Tickford Mustang is fourth (2441) points), Cameron Waters seventh (2059), Will Davison ninth (1955) and Lee Holdsworth tenth (1860 points).
Shell V-Power Racing leads the Teams’ Championship on 5769 points, with The Bottle-O/Supercheap Auto Tickford Racing third (4251) and Monster Energy Racing fifth (3934).
Round 13 of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will take place between 25 –27 October with the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 at Surfers Paradise, Queensland. Tickets can be purchased via supercars.com.au