This year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst International was special for countless reasons, but for some, the opportunity to leave the iconic circuit as a national champion would be at the top of the list.
Five national categories concluded their 2023 campaigns at Mount Panorama, with each crowning a new champion in a split of dramatic and fitting circumstances.
Josh Buchan – Supercheap Auto TCR Australia
Entering the round as the underdog, Josh Buchan relied on a mix of favour and fortune to top his HMO Customer Racing Hyundai teammate and fellow title contender, Bailey Sweeny in dramatic circumstances.
The newly crowned 2023 champion secured two top-three finishes for the local contingent in races one and two respectively, holding the advantage heading into the final race of the season.
Meanwhile, Sweeny was unable to classify in race two due to an intercooler issue on his Hyundai, before he was later disqualified for a technical breach in race three and ruled out of contention as a result.
While the title was decided in dramatic fashion, it comes as a true reward after a fantastic season for Buchan, who was forced to bounce back after a troubled opening round in Tasmania.
He would go on to take two race wins for the year, both coming in an emphatic round win at Phillip Island back in May.
From there, consistency was key as a manageable gap to his teammate was maintained throughout the entirety of the season.
Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series final standings
- Josh Buchan
- Tony D’Alberto
- Bailey Sweeny
James Moffat – National Trans Am Series
In what had been a dominant season to date, the title was James Moffat’s to lose with the team Valvoline GRM driver comfortably leading his teammate, Lochie Dalton.
The weekend started on the right foot for Moffat with pole position on Saturday morning, before converting it into his seventh win of the season later that afternoon.
A win in race two would have secured the title, but despite leading the race, chaos erupted behind him as a multi-car incident resulted in the race being declared a non-event.
A spanner was then thrown in the works for race three when an issue to his Ford Mustang became apparent, forcing the series leader into the pits before returning to the rear of the field.
With the race finishing under safety car conditions, the placing was enough to secure the title at the expense of Dalton, who had charged his way through the field following an earlier incident.
National Trans Am Series final standings
Jude Bargwanna – Kumho V8 Touring Car Series
It was a debut season to remember for Jude Bargwanna, with his early season dominance paving the way for a convincing title win that was secured at the season finale.
His closest title contenders, Jamie Tilley and Jim Pollicina needed everything to go their way to be in for a shot at Mount Panorama, but it was newcomer Cameron Mcleod who dominated the proceedings with a clean sweep of race wins.
Despite not picking up the round win, three second-place finishes was more than enough to ensure he returned home with the trophy, leading the ‘refreshed’ Kumho Series from start to finish.
Kumho V8 Touring Car Series final standings
Marco Giltrap – Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge
It was a similar story for Marco Giltrap in the one-make Porsche category, with the Kiwi only needing a 17th place or better finish in race one to claim the title.
It’s fair to say the pressure of the weekend would have almost immediately disappeared after finishing on the podium in race one, giving his fellow contenders the pleasure of fighting it out for ‘best of the rest’ honours.
Again, it was Giltrap’s early season dominance that paved the way for a dominant title run, picking up four of the first five race wins of the year.
From there, consistent top five finishes helped him maintain the position, finishing 113 points clear of second-place Aron Shields.
Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge final standings
Iain Sherrin – Mobil 1 Australian Production Car Series
The popular Production Cars series saw two drivers claim outright honours, with Iain Sherrin the APC winner while Shane Smollen rounded out a dominant year in the Invited class.
Sherrin was required to continue his usual season form to be able to call himself the 2023 champion, and he did just that by claiming the round win.
As a result, Sherrin would finish the year ahead of Coleby Cowham and Lindsay Kearns, who proved a formidable duo throughout the entirety of the year.
Mobil 1 Australian Production Car Series final standings
2.Coleby Cowham / Lindsay Kearns