The arrival of the Armstrong 500 from Phillip Island in 1963 established Bathurst as one of the most picturesque and demanding road courses in the world.
The arrival of the Armstrong 500 from Phillip Island in 1963 established Bathurst as one of the most picturesque and demanding road courses in the world. Mount Panorama is a true driver’s challenge, with sheer drops, the daunting Skyline section, and mile-long Conrod Straight. The Armstrong developed into Bathurst's annual touring car classic, known simply in Australia as "The Great Race". Traditionally a battle between Australian Holdens and Fords, the race has attracted strong European participation, which culminated in its inclusion in the original World Touring Car Championship in 1987. Although a chicane (Caltex Chase) was introduced to slow cars on the Conrod Straight, it is now taken flat-out. The dangers of this corner were highlighted by the death of privateer Don Watson during practice for the 1994 race. When the Bathurst 1000 adopted 2-litre Super Touring Car rules in 1997, a rival race for traditional Australian V8 Supercars was organised to compete with it. This originally served to confuse and dilute interest but support for the Super Touring category in Australia was on the wane by the new millennium. Only the V8 Supercar event has been held since 2001 and the Bathurst 1000 remains one of the world’s great races.