Bathurst 1000 victory on top of Penske’s wish list
By Mat Coch
Saturday 12th October, 2019 - 6:00am
Roger Penske has highlighted the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 as the event which is currently his most coveted for a victory.
Having won the teams’ and drivers’ championships across the last two seasons, a Bathurst 1000 win is the glaring omission from the squad’s record of achievements.
The billionaire American has forged a long and successful career in the sport, which includes a victory in Formula 1, 18 Indianapolis 500 wins, two Daytona 500 wins, and 35 national championships.
“This is one of the greatest races in the world we haven’t won and it’s got to be at the top right now,” said Penske about his ambitions regarding the Bathurst 1000, relative to other races.
“We’re going to do everything we can to try and execute, but certainly not going in overconfident.
“With Roland’s team (Triple Eight) and Tickford and all the teams up and down the pit lane, I respect all of them.”
Penske also threw his support behind Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard, suggesting their achievements were even more impressive in the light of the constant regulation changes.
“Scotty has overachieved when you think about it,” he declared.
“Weekend after weekend, they’ve put more on us, take more away from us and we’re still able to continue, and Fabian doesn’t get enough credit because he is kind of overshadowed by obviously what Scotty is able to do.
“The sanctioning body continues to put pressure on us by changing the rules, which is disappointing to me quiet honestly,” he added.
“I think we’re doing our job here and certainly at the end of the day we’ve got two great drivers and co-drivers are terrific and I think it’s all execution.”
McLaughlin shattered his own practice lap record during Practice 4 in setting a 2:03.4813s, a which was almost three tenths faster than the new benchmark he had only established the afternoon prior.
It’s left ‘The Captain’ optimistic of the team’s chances, though he stopped short of making any predictions.
“I was watching the lap with Scotty, amazing,” he said.
“I think the team has really gotten the car sharp in the corners.
“We’ve got good speed on the straightaway which is what we didn’t think we would have here.
“Overall, it’s got to be reliable, it’s got to be consistent — no pit stop problems, if you don’t do that you’re not going to win. It’s just like Indianapolis.”
McLaughlin, who is again paired with Alexandre Premat, will head out last in today’s Armor All Top 10 Shootout after claiming provisional pole in a wet qualifying, while Coulthard qualified the #12 Mustang which he will share with Tony D’Alberto in 16th position on the grid for Sunday’s race.