Shane van Gisbergen proved why he is the toughest man in Supercars at Bathurst.
And it helped that he had Garth Tander, the toughest fighter of his generation, alongside him on the race to victory in the 2020 running of The Great Race.
Scott McLaughlin led, and Cam Waters challenged, and Jamie Whincup crashed, and Safety Cars re-set the field five times, but nothing was going to stop SvG and GT taking the big prize at the end of the most difficult season in the history of Supercars.
“I finally got to tick it off,” van Gisbergen said as he savoured his Bathurst win.
“That was the best car I’ve ever had at this place,” said Tander.
As usual at Bathurst, the final laps were marred by Safety Cars as tail-enders succumbed to battle fatigue at the end of the toughest contest on the motorsport calendar.
Each time, Waters got close and threw out his best challenge with the Monster Mustang, but SvG never blinked as he hustled his Red Bull Holden Racing Team Commodore to the win.
“I gave it absolutely everything I had. I just wasn’t quite close enough. But I have never worked so hard in a race-car,” said Waters.
It was a fitting send-off to Holden’s official involvement in touring car racing after 51 years, even though the Commodores will continue to race next year before General Motors shifts its focus to the Chevrolet Camaro for 2022 and beyond.
The finishing order was an honest reflection for the day of days in Supercars, as Chaz Mostert and Warren Luff took third to continue the run of podium places for ‘Wazza’ at The Mountain.
“This year has been a big building year for the team. We really turned the car around,” said Mostert.
“It’s an awesome way to finish the year with a podium.”
“It’s been a lot of fun, and I learned so much from him. To be up here again in such a trying year … has certainly been very special,” said Luff.
“We’ve tried our best this weekend. We came up a little short but we’ll be back again next year.”
Any time that Fabian Coulthard beats Scott McLaughlin you know something has gone wrong for the triple champion and that was true in his last start – unless he returns from the USA as a guest co-driver – in The Great Race.
“They were faultless all day. Made it happen,” McLaughlin said of the winners.
“It’s been an awsome year. Just proud to bring home the bacon.”
The Shell V-Power team lost at Bathurst but won everything else, scooping the drivers, teams and manufacturers title.
For Roland Dane, who pulls the strings at The Bulls and has always championed van Gisbergen, the Bathurst result was a huge success for his team and a fitting send-off for Holden.
“It was great. It was great to watch. What an awesome battle,” Dane said.
And his verdict on van Gisbergen.
“He is actually the most intelligent racing driver. in the car he understands, totally, the race. And that’s where he is so good.
“And it really worked today. He knew when he had to be quick, when he didn’t. Tander was brilliant. The guy did exactly what it says on the tin.
“It’s farewell to Holden. We’re leaving with a tinge of sadness but also an eye for the future.”
|Shane van Gisbergen/Garth Tander
|Cam Waters/Will Davison
|Chaz Mostert/Warren Luff
|Fabian Coulthard/Tony D’Alberto
|Scott McLaughlin/Tim Slade
|Mark Winterbottom/James Golding
|Anton de Pasquale/Brodie Kosteki
|Jack Le Brocq/James Moffat
|Scott Pye/Dean Fiore
|James Courtney/Broc Feeney