McLaughlin had a tyre change but no lasting damage while Reynolds needed repairs to his steering arm and rejoined three laps down on the rest of the field.
The Erebus driver ultimately finished four laps down in P20 while McLaughlin was in 12th.
The two have been known to have been critical of each other on their competing podcasts this season and speaking after the race, Reynolds admitted their confrontation boiled over to an extend that his girlfriend got involved to yell at McLaughlin.
“It’s not the best day I’ve had in a long time,” Reynolds said on Fox Sports.
“I Got off the start line, and going down after Turn 1, Scott seemed to brake early so I thought there was an opportunity to try and pass him. It looked like he jinked right a little bit and we made contact. It ripped the front out of my car and tore the rear out of his car.
When asked if everything nice between the two drivers, he added: “Not really, he just wanted to know what I did and I said ‘probably go and look at the footage before you come back.
“My girlfriend was yelling at him and stuff. It was alright, no dramas.
“We’re just here racing. If I don’t go for the spot then we’re not racing, we’re just following each other around. It’s not fun and it’s not interesting.”
McLaughlin seemed to disagree and placed the blame at the doorstep of Reynolds as his six-race winning run came to an abrupt end in Townsville.
Whincup hits the wall
“It was pretty full-on wasn’t it? Especially lap one!” McLaughlin said. “Everyone’s battling for visibility and traction.
“It’s risk management on days like today, especially when you’re up the front and in a championship position like he is.
“Dave was just a desperado. He can say what he wants and I went down and saw him and he said I turned in or whatever. I personally don’t think I did… if I did it was by a millimetre and he’s just clipped me up the rear. So, yeah, whatever.
“You can’t win all of them and I felt like we had a great car today, we rebounded really well. There are others with worse than us – especially him [Reynolds].”
However, after four days of action, and one hell of a race, few could deny Scott McLaughlin and Alex Premat deserved to enjoy the biggest day of their careers.
Here are some of the key stats from another brilliant Bathurst 1000.
2009: The last time a pairing won from pole position prior to the McLaughlin/Premat victory. 10 years ago, Garth Tander and Will Davison combined for the Holden Racing Team to win a rain-affected mountain battle. The #17’s win on Sunday was also just the 11th time in history the car starting first finished first. It was also the fourth such instance this century, after 2002 (Mark Skaife/Jim Richards) and 2003 (Greg Murphy/Rick Kelly).
24: Lead changes in the race, the most since the 2017 race, which also featured 24 lead changes. These include on-track overtakes, and lead changes during pit sequences. 11 different cars led the 2019 race, which is the most since the chaotic eight-hour 2014 marathon, which also featured 11 different leaders — including one on the final lap.
58: Laps led by the race-winning car. This was the first time since 2012 that the race-winning car led the most laps in the race, when Jamie Whincup and Paul Dumbrell led 102 of 161 laps. Whincup/Dumbrell also led the most laps in 2013 (69), 2015 (68) and 2016 (133) yet failed to win the race each time. In 2014 — when Chaz Mostert and Paul Morris combined to lead one lap, the final lap — McLaughlin and Premat were at the front for 70 laps in the GRM Volvo. In 2017, Cameron Waters and Richie Stanaway led 63 laps in the wet, while David Reynolds/Luke Youlden led a whopping 112 laps in 2018 before the former succumbed to cramping.
‘Slow down, slow down’
25: Years since Dick Johnson tasted success at the mountain. In 1994, three-time winner Johnson and John Bowe — also combining to win in 1989 — defeated a young Craig Lowndes and Brad Jones for HRT. McLaughlin was born just a year earlier.
8: Safety Cars in the 2019 race, the most since the 10 in the 2014 race, which also featured an hour-long stoppage when the bitumen at Griffins Bend began to break up. The 2015 race featured just four Safety Cars, with six in 2016, six in 2017, and three in the race-record 2018 race.
11: Years since James Courtney stood on the Bathurst podium. Courtney registered three straight podium finishes between 2006 and 2008 for Stone Brothers Racing, with the latter two alongside David Besnard. The 2006 podium was claimed — alongside Glenn Seton — by a scant 0.01s over teammates Russell Ingall as they went side-by-side out of the final corner.
0.8233s: Combined time Shane van Gisbergen has missed out on victory. In 2016, van Gisbergen shadowed Will Davison to the line by just 0.1434s in the closest ever competitive finish in the race. On Sunday, after the final-lap dash following a late Safety Car, McLaughlin ousted van Gisbergen by just 0.6799s.
Bathurst 1000: As it happened
13: Cars underneath the race lap record on Sunday. The previous lap record, set by David Reynolds in 2018 (2:06.1492s) was annihilated late in the race by Chaz Mostert, who rewrote the record books with a 2:04.7602s on Lap 155. Pye/Luff and Rick Kelly/Dale Wood were the only top 10 finishers on Sunday not to dip below Reynolds’ record time in the race.
13: Finishers on the lead lap, the fewest since 2017. Thanks to the late-race Safety Car, the gap between the winners and the final lead-lap car of Stanaway/Chris Pither was just 11.2623s.
5: Race retirements, the most since 2017 (6).
6:27:51.5260s: The race time of the winners. This was the 12th fastest 1000km race ever. Last year’s record race was completed in 6:01:44.8637s, and sits ahead of the 2013, 2010, 2012, 2015, 1991 and 2016 races between the six-hour and six-hour-19-minute bracket. The 1984 race went for 6h23m, but was held over 163 laps in the era prior to the addition of The Chase, while the 1992 race was called at 143 laps in 6h27m because of late-race rain and accidents.
502,000: The 2019 event broke a FOX SPORTS record, with an average of 502,000 viewers watching the coverage — which was ad-break free. It was 21 percent up on the 2018 race day broadcast, which brought in 413,000 viewers. It makes the 2019 race the number one Supercars race of all time on FOX SPORTS.
201,975: Attendance at the 2019 event. It is the fifth year in a row that over 200,000 fans have attended the Bathurst weekend. It was slightly down on the 2018 event — the second highest all-time — which brought in 206,755 punters. The record remains 207,205, which was set in 2012 in the 50th anniversary of the race.
Regardless, another Bathurst classic left us bemoaning the fact that there are 51 weeks until the next one comes around.
Here are five things we learned from the 2019 Great Race.
The (wrong) talking point
The chatter should have been centred on be the historic Scott McLaughlin/Alex Premat victory. In the eyes of many, it was.
Other teams, should they have been in the same position, would have made the same call that the DJR Team Penske squad did with Fabian Coulthard, with an eye on track position and the avoidance of double-stacking.
Simply, it just wasn’t a good look.
The battle all day was raging, it was close, and it didn’t need that obstruction, but track position is everything. Coulthard was branded a “sacrificial lamb” by Shane van Gisbergen, who missed the win by just 0.6799s despite being better off on fuel when he was held up. However, Coulthard was the one that was penalised on the day, and now we’ll see if officials can determine a breach of team order regulations. Penalties could be wide ranging, but don’t expect the #17 to lose its victory — even if rivals argue otherwise. McLaughlin thought little of the drama at all, celebrating the biggest day of his career.
So what needs to change? Should Safety Car intervention trigger the closure of the pit lane? Should Supercars look to bring in a Virtual Safety Car-like system? Like we found out in Auckland, the Safety Car is a gamechanger, but things can go sour very quickly. The show is the important thing, but so is safety — don’t forget, Jamie Whincup and McLaughlin bolted at race speed to the lane despite the Safety Car deployment — but so is an outcome that doesn’t leave a stain on an otherwise sensational race.
Thursday, lap record broken. Same on Friday, and again in Saturday’s Top 10 Shootout, the pressure cooker to end all pressure cookers. However, while McLaughlin was on the money when it came to single-lap pace, his racecraft also helped he and Premat get it done.
Late in the race, for so long, he stared at the rear bumper of Jamie Whincup’s #888 Red Bull entry before the Holden squad gambled with a fuel stop at a late Safety Car. Concurrently, DJR Team Penske gambled and left McLaughlin out. Pressure on big time for 26-year-old McLaughlin. Rolling the dice worked in the end in a race that was about track position, but that final lap — to hang onto the lead in the face of unrivalled pressure — was proof of McLaughlin’s unbreakable mental fortitude.
Unfair to point finger at Fabs
Take one look at form, and it’s clear Coulthard isn’t currently operating at a level higher than McLaughlin. To be fair, no one is. Coulthard is third in the championship. He is 787 points down on his teammate. McLaughlin, who continues to flex his muscle, has 18 wins and 15 poles in 2019. Coulthard has two wins and one pole. In nearly three seasons together, McLaughlin has taken 35 wins to Coulthard’s seven, and 42 poles to Coulthard’s two. Coulthard is locked in alongside McLaughlin for 2020, but it is truly is a case of the younger teammate being a class above.
So, it’s easy to frame the drama from Sunday as the team sacrificing the #12 as McLaughlin was the lead car, which encouraged van Gisbergen’s quip.
But quickfire criticism of Coulthard himself — even though he followed orders from the pit lane — was unfair. Far too many, including those on social media, flung turds his way. Coulthard is no mug. He is a very good driver, but he’s up against a very very good teammate in a very good team. Through it all, he had a right to feel upset.
Regardless, when asked after the race whether Coulthard “took one for the team”, DJRTP co-owner Roger Penske — who discussed McLaughlin’s US aspirations — downplayed the drama: “I’m not sure that made the difference in who was going to win the race,” he said. “We can look at it, and talk about, but it’s secondary as far as I’m concerned when you think about what happened at the end. Everybody had a chance. The two top guys had a chance to duel there at the end.”
‘Slow down, slow down’
Parity debate takes a back seat, for now
High speed, slow speed, long straights, aero turns. Mount Panorama had all the makings of the rebirth of the parity storm. However, there was little between the Mustang, Commodore and Altima all weekend. Notably, Andre Heimgartner plonked his Nissan in the 2:03s in practice, a mark which is reserved for those that can get car and driver in complete synergy alongside their highly fancied rivals.
The factory Holden cars were strong all race and both were in with a massive shot of winning. While strategy perhaps cost the #888 the win late — hindsight is a wonderful thing, and who could have predicted the later Safety Car — the speed was there, and highly competitive. Whether it was worth rolling the dice late in the race will keep the team’s strategists up for nights on end, but both cars could have won that race — but not unless McLaughlin didn’t prove as clinical as he did on Lap 161.
Meanwhile, Walkinshaw Andretti United were rewarded with a podium for James Courtney and Jack Perkins. From the outside, they were in all sorts, but the speed was clear at the end from the #22 to keep Whincup at bay.
The racing was robust and there was lots of overtaking. Cars were able to slipstream comfortably down Conrod Straight, so any fears of a difficult race to pass in were happily negated. Hopefully this is the last we’ll see of the ‘P’ word this season, and the next, and beyond, with Supercars committing to a reduction of downforce from 2020.
Emotional final Bathurst lap
When Chaz Mostert waltzed by Premat on Lap 50 for the lead, the Tickford garage could have been forgiven for getting excited. However, for the third Bathurst running, and for the second time in two events this season, the teammates got in each other’s way.
The team has failed to prevent these clashes from happening. It’s all well and good to see cars from the same stable race hard and fair, but these are not isolated incidents. Mostert was remorseful, while Cameron Waters was gutted, and rightfully so. Team boss Tim Edwards believes his men can race door-to-door, and refused to prevent them from doing so in future. But measures should be taken if they want to win, because they can — and could have on Sunday.
Mostert appeared to renege on fuel saving instructions, and lost control on the outside of Waters into The Chase, which would prove a race flashpoint. Maybe s**t happens, but the #6 and #55 were two of the fastest cars all day. Mostert, despite being off the lead lap at the end, annihilated the previous race lap record. They only have themselves to blame.
There will be eight Mustangs on the 2020 grid, adding to the two from DJR Team Penske and the four Tickford entries.
The Kelly team — which was born out of the HSV Dealer Team from 2009 — will continue to run two Altima Supercars in the Dunlop Super2 series from 2020.
Kelly Racing will prepare its two main-game Mustangs at its Braeside base including an in-house engine program.
The team will now look to its driver line-up from 2020, with four drivers — team co-owner Rick Kelly, Andre Heimgartner, Simona De Silvestro and Garry Jacobson — all running full-time in 2019.
‘Slow down, slow down’
Team principal Todd Kelly revealed his excitement in the switch to Mustangs, which have won 21 of 25 races this season.
After 11 seasons in Supercars we step into a Ford Mustang that is a proven race winner and will provide us with our best opportunity for success in the future,” Kelly said.
“In this competitive environment it has necessitated a reconsideration of our structure to create the optimal model for the future.
“This has resulted in our consolidation and focus on two Supercars for the 2020 season and our intention includes running two Dunlop Super2 entries from next year.
“We are grateful to Kay Hart and her team at Ford for their interest and support to work with Kelly Racing and we look forward to continuing their success both on and off the race track from next year.”
Ford Australia and New Zealand CEO Hart added: “We’re so glad to have Kelly Racing bringing two additional Mustang Supercars to the grid, which brings fans more great news on the back of a hugely positive 2019 season.
“Having more Mustangs racing next season is a reflection of the team’s hard work and the success of the program so far.”