James Courtney and Jack Perkins have finished third in the 2019 Bathurst 1000, with Scott Pye and Warren Luff finishing eighth, making it a podium and a double top-10 finish in the biggest race of the year for Mobil 1™ Racing.
The NAPA Auto Parts Australia No. 27 of Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe did a great job to bring it home in 19th in their first Bathurst 1000, a baptism of fire.
For Courtney and Perkins, they faced a few challenges throughout the day, before coming so close to standing on the top-step.
An early leak in the front right tyre caused a unscheduled pit-stop just laps after their first stop, which changed the strategy for the rest of the day, and put them in fuel save mode.
After a quiet next 100-laps, it turned to chaos in the closing stages, especially after JC took over from Jack to triple-stint home. A double-stack pitstop on lap 111 of 161 put them back down the order in 14th, and then a safety car with 30-laps remaining, where they stopped for a final time, turned it into a fuel race.
The fuel range is usually 23 laps around Bathurst, which meant everyone had to go into ultra-conserve mode. The engineers stuck to their fuel numbers, and JC did a great job behind the wheel to maintain speed, but still keep enough in the tank.
A safety car with three-laps to go meant there would only be one flying lap to settle the score. With JC in third, and Scott McLaughlin and Shane Van Gisbergen in second, it was a one-lap dash to the flag. While he didn’t have enough for the front two, he managed to hold Jamie Whincup off to claim his third Bathurst podium, and Jack Perkins’ first.
On the Car No. 2 side of the garage, they had an up-and-down afternoon that threw everything at them.
They were looking like challenging for a top-five, and even a podium throughout multiple stages of the race.
A safety-car on lap 100, just two laps after their stop, meant they were in the wrong place at the wrong time in the train of cars, and lost five positions on track.
With 25 to go, Scott Pye was sixth, but had to splash and dash with fuel to make the flag. He also had to deal with bent steering in the dying stages, making his life difficult, but to get a top-10 at Bathurst is always a good achievement.
For the wildcard of Alexander Rossi and James Hinchcliffe, it was a baptism of fire. They did an incredible job all week, and during today’s race.
Despite a late excursion into the gravel with three-laps remining, they brought the car home in 19th. If you consider what they’ve had to adapt to this weekend, it’s a credit to them.
Thank you to everyone for their support, we wouldn’t be here without you.
Next up, Gold Coast. Let’s go get us some surfboards!
“We definitely had to deal with a bit today. I wasn’t able to go with the front two in that last lap, but to be able to hold off Jamie and grab that podium was awesome.
“It’s was a long day but to come home with third, I’m really happy. To do it with Jack beside me, the family history, everything we’ve been through, it’s really special and I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want to share it with.
“Thanks to the team for today, they were great with the fuel numbers, and our partners who make it happen.
“Let’s get up to the Gold Coast and keep it rolling.”
“Awesome day, fantastic to be on the podium, can’t thank the team, and our partners enough.
“I think Dad has about 15 of these things so it’s pretty cool to get one. I’ve been really close over the years, so to finally get up there is awesome.
“I’m proud of James and the team to give us a car that was good enough to get on the podium. It was pretty cool, there were a heap of people down there!
“I’d be lying if I said my preparation was ideal, being sick last week, but there were no issues today, and I’ll remember this one for a while, that’s for sure.”
“Today shows The Mountain always has something up it’s sleeve for you.
“Not much went our way today unfortunately, safety cars kept falling at the wrong time, which didn’t help.
“At the end there we were behind Shane, and in with a shot of a trophy, but it just wasn’t to be.
“It’s disappointing to not be on the podium again, but a top-10 at Bathurst is still always a reasonable day. Looking forward to jumping back in with Luffy at the Gold Coast already.”
“It was great to get a top-10, obviously not as high as we’d like, and things didn’t fall our way today, but still a reasonable day.
“We had a pretty good car today, and were in the mix late, which proves that, we just didn’t have the rub of the green.
“Congratulations to the team, and to James and Jack, it was great to see.
“Can’t wait for the GC.”
“First ‘1000’ in the books - it was quite an experience all around. We had an okay start, but the first stint was honestly a real handful. The track conditions were quite a bit different than what we had pretty much all through practice with it being really cold and overcast and/or wet. So with the tack heating up, the balance wasn’t quite there. I was working a lot with the tools in the car, so struggled a little bit in that first stint to get things on the right track. Alex jumped in after that and we started to make some progress on the balance. Track grip started to come up with the rubber going down and he had a couple really good stints. I jumped back in and had a couple good stints. But one of the big challenges at that point though is once you’re a lap down, with the blue-flag rules here you loose so much lap time just trying to let the leaders go by. It’s an unfortunate reality, but if you don’t want to do it, don’t go a lap down.
“We tried to run our race and make as few mistakes as possible. We made a couple little ones, I think that’s to be expected. A lot of more experienced guys made even bigger mistakes than we did, so I think there’s a lot to be proud of from the whole team. Big congrats to JC, Jack and the 22 on the podium, and to Scott and Luffy and the 2 team on eighth. I think the team had a strong result and we did what we wanted to do - we wanted to be running at the end. It was a great opportunity. I can’t thank NAPA AUTO PARTS Australia and everybody at Walkinshaw Andretti United enough for the chance to come out here and check off a bucket list race.”
“I came here with a huge amount of respect for this place and this Series, and I’m for sure leaving with no less. We knew this would be a big challenge. We didn’t come into this with an arrogance that it would be easy. By the same token, we didn’t really come here to finish 19th either so we are a bit bummed about that. Nonetheless, we finished and we finished ahead of where we started so that’s a positive. I think that’s all we can ask for considering where we started the weekend. I think we both got very comfortable with the car throughout the race, and we consistently gained time through each session. The gap between us and the front I think has a lot to do with seat time and overall familiarity with the cars. But, thanks to the 27 crew for hanging in there and to the whole Walkinshaw Andretti United team for the support. It was a long, tough day for everyone. I think the big win of the weekend was introducing NAPA AUTO PARTS Australia to the WAU world and hopefully they had a great weekend with at The Mountain.”