Supercars drivers look ahead to Bathurst

Championship leader Scott McLaughlin is on track to win his third consecutive Supercars title.
Championship leader Scott McLaughlin is on track to win his third consecutive Supercars title.

Drivers are preparing for back-to-back rounds at Tailem Bend but attention has already turned to the Supercars' first season finale at Bathurst in 20 years.

Ford flyer Scott McLaughlin is 143 points clear of Red Bull Holden rival Jamie Whincup in his chase of a third-straight championship.

But the Shell V-Power ace concedes it is unlikely he will be able to build an unassailable advantage during six races at the South Australian track.

It means the title will go on the line after switching from short-and-sharp sprint races to the one and only endurance race of the season at Mount Panorama.

"Jamie's not backing down, and Red Bull aren't either," McLaughlin said.

"We've got to make sure we're at the top of our game.

"But it's fantastic for the sport to go down to the wire. We fully expect it to finish up at Bathurst."

McLaughlin appeared to be cruising towards another championship in what is tipped to be his last season in Australia before quitting Supercars for a shot at racing full-time in the United States.

But Whincup and Red Bull teammate Shane van Gisbergen hit back during the Townsville double-header, with the pair winning four of the six races in north Queensland.

Seven-time champion Whincup is the 27-year-old's only genuine rival for the title.

McLaughlin has fond memories of The Bend, winning both races at the state-of-the-art circuit, which only opened in 2018, last year.

"We weren't necessarily strong at the start of this year in the tests (at The Bend) as a team but I think we've improved a lot set-up wise since," he said.

"I'm excited to get back with this new aero package and have a crack at it."

Saturday's first 24-lap race gets underway at 3.45pm AEST, while two more sprint races will complete the weekend on Sunday.

Australian Associated Press