McLaughlin won't change Bathurst approach

Andrew van Leeuwen
·2 min read

The Supercars season could finish at Bathurst for the first time in two decades, with the 1000-kilometre classic firming as the final round of the truncated 2020 campaign.

That's courtesy of a deadly second COVID-19 wave in Victoria, which, paired with precarious case numbers in New South Wales, has seen border restrictions tightened up and down Australia's east coast.

Should the plan for a rapid-fire end to the season come to fruition, and the title fight goes down to that final Bathurst round, drivers could be left with a tough decision to make – go for Great Race glory, or limit risk and bank points.

According to reigning series and Bathurst champion McLaughlin, who leads the 2020 standings by 107 points, his approach to the Mount Panorama race is unlikely to change either way.

“It doesn’t really change anything for me," he said.

"Bathurst is Bathurst, whenever we go there, whether it’s a week later or two weeks before or whatever they change – it’s Bathurst.

"We’ll just go there and try to win the thing.

"Yeah, it’s a finale for the championship potentially, but it’s not going to change too much. I want to win that race just as much as I want to win the championship.

"But we’ll worry about where we are, and what objectives we need to complete, when we get there."

Bathurst has emerged as the likely finale due to the border landscape between the three states that the 10 Supercars teams call home – Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

Teams will be free to travel from the Northern Territory, where they will race over the next two weekends, to Queensland for the Townsville double-header and the expected Queensland Raceway double-header.

However, if the Melbourne teams were to return to their permanent bases before Bathurst, they would probably need to go into quarantine before being let into New South Wales for the Bathurst 1000.

With no quarantine requirement if travelling from Queensland to New South Wales, the majority of the exiled teams told Supercars this week they'd prefer to stay on the road until the trip to Mount Panorama.

The longer stint interstate would be off-set by the early conclusion of the season.

The only potential complication is for the Queensland teams, who could face self-isolation orders upon returning from New South Wales. That will largely be dictated by how the NSW COVID-19 case numbers trend over the coming weeks.