Bathurst 2019: Kiwi Shane Van Gisbergen hoping Holden upgrades spark win

Drivers have set a blistering pace in practice for the Bathurst 1000, where changes to the body of every Holden have them catching up to Ford.

And Kiwi Triple 8 driver Shane Van Gisbergen's hopes it will lead to a maiden win.

"Hopefully, we’ll be closer," he told Newshub. "But whether the more downforce hurts us down the straight, it’s an unknown."

It certainly didn’t hurt at Pukekohe last month, where Van Gisbergen was a winner and a runner-up.

Van Gisbergen will take that momentum to Bathurst, where number 97 is always in contention, but has seen repeated heartbreak in previous years.

"I'm always in the hunt, which is something to be  proud of, but I haven’t finished it yet," he said.

Holden’s won just four of 24 races this season, with Ford’s new Mustang taking the rest, but Holden hope their new aerodynamics will level the field at this year’s 'Great Race'.

Not even Van Gisbergen knows if the changes to the car will pay off at Bathurst. The early returns in Auckland were obvious – but at Mt Panorama, it’s a different race

“The speeds are just too different," he said. "Pukekohe’s not as high speed now, with no long straight. 

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Photo credit: Newshub.

"Here it’s difficult. You’re doing 300kph down the straight, but also across the top of the mountain, it’s 200kph corners, so it’s tricky - but no idea.”

On today’s evidence, it’s a change for the better.

In the fastest first practice session ever at Bathurst, Holden was out in front.