August 15, 2002 - Leading V8 Supercar drivers Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes believe this year's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 10-13 will be one of the toughest tests of man and machine ever seen in Australia. The...
August 15, 2002 - Leading V8 Supercar drivers Mark Skaife and Craig Lowndes believe this year's Bob Jane T-Marts 1000 at Bathurst's Mt Panorama on October 10-13 will be one of the toughest tests of man and machine ever seen in Australia.
The pair made the claims today during the official launch of the event at Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne which was attended by some of the greatest names in Australian motorsport history, including inaugural race winner and now naming rights sponsor, Bob Jane.
Skaife has dominated this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series in his Holden Racing Team Commodore and heads back to Mt Panorama on October 10-13 as the defending champion.
There is little doubt that the Holden Racing Team will arrive at Bathurst this year with possibly the strongest two-car team ever at Mt Panorama.
Between drivers Skaife, Jason Bright, Jim Richards and Tomas Mezera the team has a total of 11 victories in Australia's "Great Race", which will be round 11 of this year's V8 Supercar Championship Series.
The team is not likely to announce its final driver pairings until a week before the event, but whatever the final line-up, both cars will be among the pre-race favourites.
"There is probably anyone of at least 15 cars that can win at Bathurst this year," said Skaife.
"The quality of the field has improved dramatically in recent years and I think this year will be the most competitive ever.
"You could never get sick of winning at Bathurst, but to win the race in its 40th anniversary year would be something special.
"Bathurst really is a test of man and machine and is regarded as one of the world's great races. You will not be able to relax for a second if you are to win it."
Lowndes won Bathurst in 1996 and would love nothing more than to win this year's race for his new manufacturer in Ford with his highly-experienced co-driver Neil Crompton.
"The V8 Supercar series is the most competitive in the world and you won't see that anywhere more obvious than at Bathurst this year," said Lowndes.
"Bathurst has always been a tough race, but in recent years the bar has continually been raised.
"Preparation, a good driver combination and a little luck are the key ingredients to a successful race at the mountain.
"Winning at Bathurst in 1996 was a fantastic feeling and I would love to experience that again in the 40th anniversary year."
Both Skaife and Lowndes will in be action this weekend in the ninth round of the V8 Supercar Championship at Winton Raceway in North-East Victoria.