As the last driver to win the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 from ARMOR ALL Pole Position, paired with Garth Tander in 2009, Will Davison spoke to v8supercars.com.au about what it's like to start from the front at the year's biggest race.
With the Great Race just around the corner, Erebus Motorsport's Davison posted a montage of his three front row starts on social media, and explained what it feels like to sit in a rumbling V8 Supercar on Sunday morning, knowing how far there is to go.
"No doubt, there is a huge build up, which is backed up by an incredible atmosphere," Davison said when asked about the feeling racing at Bathurst gives the drivers.
"I suppose that's brought on by the pre-race ceremony, the fans, how early the fans come in and line the track, and the rareness of what the day is - it's like no other race we do all year.
"That's why it's so exciting as well, it's a completely different build-up. You get so used to your standard routine during the season, and it's different, it's once a year and that strange mix of emotions. Depending on where you've qualified, that alters your mindset a little bit, but you're all about just getting off to a clean start."
Davison has been on the front row at Bathurst three times in his V8 Supercars career - in 2012 he started from p1, trumping Jamie Whincup by just 0.03 seconds, and p2 in '11 with Greg Murphy on ARMOR ALL Pole Position.
"It always is an amazing emotion at the start, but you're just trying to focus on the short term - but you can't get your head out of thinking about what's about to unfold over the next six or seven hours. Anything can happen - but you can waste a lot of energy trying to pre-empt it, so you've got to focus on that first stint. When that's out of the way you're generally really relaxed and get on with it ... you just want a safe, clean first stint - but you want to always maintain track position - so quite often, particularly as the years have gone on, you have to race harder and harder to maintain that track position.
"But the last thing you want to do is touch wheels with anyone, or bang panels, because you've got six hours of racing to go and if you have a bent bonnet, or slightly knocked out wheel alignment or something like that, it's completely irrelevant fighting for position in those early laps.
"Also, you want to get track position so you're in a nice clean, comfortable place - so you can pace yourself, so to speak."
Davison joked that over the years he has been attached to either the first or third row, having started on either since 2007.
For him, that image of the cars on the grid is iconic, and reminds him of how historic Mount Panorama is - so it was a no-brainer to share it with his fans and pump up the excitement before next week's 1000.
"Obviously building up to the event this last week, going through old photos - I like putting up photos of your old experiences, particularly coming up to a race like Bathurst.
"I like to touch on things I've had at each circuit - something that's happened at that track and that car, go back in history a bit and just go through some photos.
"Every year you look at that shot of yourself on the front row and it's such an historic photo that means so much, whether it's looking back at the 70s and 80s start-line shot at Bathurst, and then through the '90s and early 2000s. That start of the Great Race is a pretty poignant moment.
"I was just going through some old shots and there's three of me sitting on the front row! Looking back on those things gives me a good feeling about the sport, because each and everyone has it's own story, it's own special tale. Each one of them - not only those experiences, I've got a lot of other crazy experiences and stories from other positions on the grid - but certainly that moment, sitting on the front row at Bathurst, you get nerves and an adrenalin like no other race."