Typically, when someone thinks of an awesome weekend of car racing, it’s easy to default to Memorial Day weekend.  The Indy 500 is run on that day.  Sometimes, the schedules line up and you get the Monaco Grand Prix as well.  And then there’s always some NASCAR race going (these fuckers run year round, don’t they – shit, but not when there’s some hint of dew in the infield!).  Open-wheeled cars and steel bathtubs spend an entire day mindlessly driving around in a circle, with grand prix cars take processional laps for two hours around an over-the-top town dripping in riches in the south of France.  Yay.

But this past weekend… this weekend was a racing spectacle that any proper racing fan should’ve eaten up.  This weekend saw the running of the Bathurst 1000 in Australia, which was immediately followed by the Japanese Grand Prix.  One immediately followed the other on TV.  The TV network barely had time to flip the switch from one race feed to the next.

This was 8 hours of the best racing you’ll get all year.  And you fucking missed it, dipshit.

The Bathurst 1000 is one race in the Australian V8 Supercar series.  Does what it says on the tin!  It’s Australian!  The cars use V8 engines!  The cars are superb!  This race is a 621-mile blitz around an absolutely mental road circuit two hours outside of Sydney – called Mt. Panorama (and it lives up to its name) – which takes about 6 hours to complete.  The series is a spec series: there are only two makes of cars – the Ford Falcon and Holden Commodore.

It’s like the thinking man’s NASCAR.  That sounds a bit like an oxymoron, doesn’t it.

But it is.  You’ve got fans who are fiercely loyal to either Ford or Holden (both American car companies, you xenophobes!).  Just like rednecks who love Dodge or Chevy or whatever in NASCAR.  The series dictates absolute parity amongst all the cars, regardless of make – just like NASCAR!  They bang doors and race right on the ragged edge.  The liveries on these cars are so lively chockful of sponsors, they make NASCAR cars look like Steve Jobs’ wardrobe.  And all the drivers sound like the Crocodile Hunter.

But they don’t drive around in ovals.  Fuck that shit.  These fucking guys take these mechanical animals and thrash them around proper race tracks with right-hand turns, hairpins, and chicanes.  This is proper racing.

And at the Bathurst 1000 is where you see some really fucking proper racing.  I’m not fucking around here – it was six hours of completely brilliant racing action.  There’s a long downhill straight which these guys use to draft the cars in front of them with some bullshit moveable wing.  And they pull off tons of crazy overtaking moves.  You get some brilliant car crashes, too – that’s the shit NASCAR fans live for, isn’t it – we got a massive fuel fire after a car hit a barrier.  The track and the car were engulfed in flames (after the driver got out safely, that is).  It looked like the Deep Horizon down under, and it was fucking awesome.  FIRE!!!

But that paled in comparison to the closing laps of the race.  This was a straight-on dogfight with Garth Tander being chased down by Craig Lowndes.  It was an absolutely heroic drive by both drivers, more so by Lowndes.  Lowndes was something like 100 yards behind Tander, and lap after lap, Lowndes ate through the lap times.  Every straight, he was faster.  Every corner, he attacked it faster.  ‘Til they both crossed the finish line nose to tail.  It was one of the most incredible drives I had ever seen.  Ever.

And you fucking missed it.

 

And as if that wasn’t enough adrenaline pumping furiously throughout your body, when the Bathurst 1000 concluded, the Japanese Grand Prix was starting up.

This was a big fucking race.  This was the race in which we’d prepare to crown a new F1 world champion driver.  Sebastian Vettel, the champ-to-be, had scored pole for the umpteenth time.  The Japanese Grand Prix was held at one of the most brilliant race tracks on earth, Suzuka.  It’s got a figure-8 layout.  If I gave a crayon to Michael J. Fox and asked him draw the figure 8, it’d look like Suzuka.

All the top drivers were driving for bragging rights, for the win, and Vettel would only need 1 championship point to stitch up the championship.  He only needed to finish 10th and it’d be a lock.  Only one problem: Vettel never races for points, he races for wins.  And he was on pole position with everyone out to ruin his day.

The race was ridiculous.  Vettel chopped across the racetrack at the start and almost drove a rival off the track altogether (front two cars on the left of the image above).  For me, it was worthy of a drive-through penalty, but the race stewards decided against it.  I’d have given him the penalty, then watch him claw back positions back up to P10 – that would have been brilliant.  But they raced on.  And holy shit, did they race like cheetahs being attacked by angry bees.

Drivers were taking the Degner Curve and the 130R curve flat out.  You do that if you want to see how fast you can crash into the far barriers.  Of if you have balls the size of the Goodyear blimp.  After some shuffling during pitstops, Jenson Button in the McLaren took the lead (rightfully, after being nearly forced off the track at the start by Vettel), followed by Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso, with Vettel following in third.  And Vettel was told to hold station – do not pass, do not risk the championship points.  And that’s how they’d finish.

Button won because he drove with surgical precision.  He wore a special edition helmet with was covered in Japanese writing, that would be auctioned off with the proceeds going to support the tsunami relief effort.  It’s worth heaps now that Button actually won the race.  Vettel came in third, still got on the podium – he didn’t deserve to win this race because he started the race like an asshole.  But he would be champion at the end of the day.  Make that double world champion.   Actually, the youngest double world champion.  Holy shit, he’s good.

It was a superb race on a great racetrack with stellar drivers, and with all the stories and results you could hope for.  It was real and it was spectacular.

And you fucking missed that race, too, dickhead.

 

You almost don’t deserve this fucking video – it is the best of both worlds: an F1 car doing a lap around the Bathurst track.

That should make your sphincter pucker up nicely.