The year was 2015, my buddy Russ and I had just spent a full weekend in the sweltering Australian summer sun, pretty tired from a decent amount of walking and alcoholic beverage consumption throughout our 12-hour (and then some) stint. Japanese driver Katsumasa Chiyo announced himself as a new Bathurst cult-hero in 2015 after delivering Nissan an unlikely Bathurst victory for the first time since 1992 in style. Chiyo-san sat third on a late race restart but fired past two cars on the penultimate lap to take an incredible victory with co-drivers Florian Strauss and Wolfgang Riep.
This year was unlike any other in the history of the Bathurst 12 Hour race – it was controversial from the outset… Supercars did not yet own the event, it was run by an independent company who had been doing so since its inception in 2007.
The 12 Hour race was threatening to Supercars (who eventually bought it out) and in a move that was pretty shitty from Australia’s largest racing championship, they decided to run a free “season-opening test day” at Sydney Motorsport Park which would test the allegiance of its fans – do they make the pay the expense and make the trek to Bathurst (3 hours from Sydney) or watch all the big names and teams of the V8 Supercars for free? As you can imagine, this created a really large conflict for any full-time or enlisted V8 Supercar driver, because they couldn’t do a test day and run a 12-hour race no matter their logistical capabilities.
As a result, myself (right) and Russ (as well as a lot of other Australian motorsport fans) were pretty pissed off by this and as a result, we made shirts that we wore to the race denoting that the Bathurst 12 Hour was WAY better than some test day… And we had some brief insta-fame as a result!
The night before the race, we briefly bumped into the winning Nissan combination wandering the streets of Bathurst, with their dinner in hand. After wishing them luck for the next day, what do you think the high-performing food they required to complete the next days race was? Pizza!