Scott McLaughlin and Jamie Whincup have welcomed the prospect of deciding the 2020 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
The Great Race is set to be officially announced tomorrow as the title decider for 2020, with its date pushed back by a week to October 18.
News of Bathurst becoming the decider was confirmed on the Fox Sports broadcast from today’s NTI Townsville SuperSprint.
The Fox team also flagged that a doubleheader at The Bend in South Australia will bridge the gap between next weekend’s second Townsville event and Bathurst.
Ending the season at Bathurst will enable the season to be completed before Melbourne-based teams return home, having been on the road since early July.
McLaughlin and Whincup are locked in what appears to be a two-way scrap for the Supercars title, split by 123 points following the weekend’s action.
Third-placed Chaz Mostert is 384 points adrift of the lead, with Cameron Waters and Shane van Gisbergen also outsiders, locked together in fourth 399 points behind.
This year will mark the third time in history that Bathurst has hosted the final round, having also done so in the first two years it was a points-paying event; 1999 and 2000.
McLaughlin and Whincup now face the prospect of balancing their championship and Bathurst aspirations, but are welcoming of the situation.
“I think if anything it’s most appropriate,” said Whincup of the Bathurst finale. “Most other sports, their grand final is the biggest event of the year, so I think it works.
“I can understand why we don’t finish a normal season at Bathurst and we keep pushing through to a place like Newcastle, but I think this year makes complete sense.”
Asked of Bathurst’s place in the championship battle, McLaughlin added: “It’s such a reward when you go well there and there is a big swing in the championship regardless.
“We always come out of Bathurst thinking ‘where are we [in the points]?’ and then you go on with the championship, but to have the final there in a year that’s been completely crazy I think is a great decision.”
When pushed on the subject, both drivers admit they rate a championship win above Bathurst glory.
They’ve experienced both; with McLaughlin the two-time reigning Supercars champion and defending Bathurst winner, and Whincup boasting a haul of seven titles and four Bathurst wins.
“You just do what you need to do,” said McLaughlin of balancing the two. “It’s obviously a big deal, both things, but we’ll do what we need to do to win the championship.
“I think at the end of the day it’s important to do that, but we’ll just worry about that when we get there and hopefully we’re in the position.”
Added Whincup: “I’ve always said the biggest prize of the year is the championship, closely followed by Bathurst.
“But you just race, you’re not going to do anything different, no one deliberately does anything untoward to anyone else or no one goes harder or softer.
“It’s the same every race, you go absolutely all out.”