The Bathurst 1000 (currently called the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000) is a 1,000 kilometre touring car race held annually at Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst, New South Wales, Australia. The Armstrong 500, which became the Hardie Ferodo 500/1000 and later the Bathurst 1000, was first held on 20 November 1960 at Phillip Island in Victoria over 500-mile (800 km) to determine which car had the best combination of speed, performance and reliability.
The popularity of the race continued to grow so rapidly during the 1960s that by 1966 most major manufacturers operating in the Australian market became heavily involved in what became known as "the Great Race". This is because an outright win in the long and tough race would add great credibility to the car and its brand, especially in proving the winning car-brand offered the best overall package in terms of performance, durability, reliability and image. This proved to be a great marketing opportunity to increase sales and market share in the local market, and so the famous "Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday" concept was born.
Notably, it was during this period that the famous Holden-Ford-Chrysler rivalry originated.Holden has won the most races of all the car makes (25) and Ford is the second most successful with 14. The Bathurst 1000 race was intially intended for small vehicles, as it was thought V8s would struggle due to the conditions and the required driving techniques. However, a Mini Cooper S' outright win in 1966 was the last time a naturally aspirated 4 cylinder car won at Bathurst. From then on V8s and V6s have dominated the winners table. The most successful driver at Bathurst is Peter Brock, whose nine victories (1972, 1975, 1978–80, 1982–84 and 1987) earned him the nickname King of the Mountain.
The track itself is the most famous landmark in the small inland city of Bathurst. In total the track drops 174m from top to bottom. The race begins at the bottom of Mount Panorama and follows a series of sharp turns, steep straights and huge drops. The cars can reach up to 300km/hour near the end of the track, on the longest racing straight in Australia (1.9km in length). Bathurst 1000 continues to draw crowds of thousands and will no doubt remain Australia's most popular racing event for many years to come.