Bathurst 2017: Meet the Kiwi Drivers

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With New Zealand drivers up and down pit lane for this year’s Bathurst 1000, there’s a good chance of at least one of them standing on the podium on Sunday. David Long runs his eye over the nine Kiwi drivers.

Shane van Gisbergen

Car: Holden, Red Bull Racing Australia

Number: 97

Partner: Alex Premat

Age: 27

Bathurst Best: 6th in 2011.

Van Gisbergen has twice won the Bathurst 12 Hour race, but success has eluded him in this category. He came desperately close to winning two years ago, but stalled the car in his final pitstop. He is leading the Supercars championship this year and is regarded as one of the strong favourites to win the Bathurst 1000.

 

 


Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Steven Richards

Car: Holden, Team Vortex

Number: 888

Partner: Craig Lowndes

Age: 44

Bathurst Best: Winner in 1998, 1999, 2013 and 2015.

Son of New Zealand legend Jim, Steven regards himself as a Kiwi even though he’s spent nearly all of his life in Australia. A four-time winner of the Great Race, Richards is a solid and dependable co-driver who’s unlikely to let Craig Lowndes down.

 

 


Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Chris Pither

Car: Ford, Super Black Racing

Number: 111

Partner: Richie Stanaway

Age: 29

Bathurst Best: 13th in 2013.

Pither has found it tough going in his first season in the main game, although a pole position at Queensland Raceway in July. His car is prepared by Prodrive Racing Australia, so it should be quick and if the team’s strategy works out, the 111 car could finish among the front runner.

 

Credit: Sunday Star Times

Richie Stanaway

Car: Ford, Super Black Racing

Number: 111

Partner: Chris Pither

Age: 24

Bathurst Best: First appearance.

The former GP2 driver had the drive of the day in Sandown three weeks ago and didn’t do his hopes of getting a main game drive next year any harm. Stanaway showed that he can handle the car well and isn’t afraid to take on Supercars’ big name drivers.

 

Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Scott McLaughlin

Car: Volvo, Wilson Security Racing GRM

Number: 111

Partner: David Wall

Age: 23

Bathurst Best: Fifth in 2015.

This will be McLaughlin’s final Bathurst 1000 in a Volvo and after being in contention the last two years, a victory would be the perfect way to bow out before moving on to DJR Team Penske in 2017. There’s no doubt McLaughlin will be quick, but there are question marks over whether his co-driver will be able to stay out of trouble.

 

Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Fabian Coulthard 

Car: Ford, DJR Team Penske

Number: 12

Partner: Luke Youlden

Age: 34

Bathurst Best: 4th in 2015

Coulthard’s most memorable moment remains that spectacular crash had in 2010 when all that was left of his car was the frame. He hasn’t had an overly successful year since switching teams, but there have been signs recently that the car is getting quicker.

 

Credit: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Andre Heimgartner

Car: Holden, Abro/Repair Management Australia

Number: 3

Partner: Aaren Russell

Age: 21

Bathurst Best: 11th in 2014

The young driver has this season been finding out what it’s like to be in a team that doesn’t have much of a budget and he hasn’t been able to get a top 10 finish in any race this year. Chances of a Bathurst win are unlikely, but in a race that goes for around six hours, anything can happen.

 

 

Credit: Southland Times

Craig Baird

Car: Holden, Erebus Motorsport Penrite

Number: 9

Partner: David Reynolds

Age: 46

Bathurst Best: 4th in 1997.

The veteran Kiwi driver shows no signs of slowing down, despite it being 20 years since his first Bathurst 1000. For the last few years he’s been driving in GT categories, both locally and internationally. In a team that’s still finding its feet, Baird’s experience should be invaluable.

 

Chris van der Drift

Car: Holden, Erebus Motorsport Penrite

Number: 4

Partner: Shae Davies

Age: 30

Bathurst Best: First appearance.

Last year van de Drift won the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia championship, but has spent most of his racing career driving in Europe. Van der drift was introduced to the Erebus team by Greg Murphy, who believed van der Drift was up to the rigours of this gruelling race.

Bathurst 2017: Meet the Kiwi Drivers

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