IN a year when prior Bathurst 1000 experience in co-drivers will be worth its weight in gold, Red Bull Racing duo Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander might as well have come straight from the vaults at Fort Knox.
This year marks Lowndes' 27th Great Race start, he's won it seven times and has stood on the podium on another seven occasions. As for Tander, this will be start number 23 and his prior campaigns include three wins, a second and a pair of thirds.
They are certainly experienced and their resumes are golden.
But with the COVID-19 pandemic meaning lead up enduros and test days - a vital part of preparing co-drivers for the Bathurst 1000 - have not gone ahead, that Tander and Lowndes know the Mount Panorama circuit and the Great Race so well is even more valuable.
"Not having a test day or even seat time before, it's going to be very different," Lowndes, who will co-drive for Jamie Whincup said.
"I think hopefully experience will pay off when we get there, it's one of those things, all of the co-drivers are going to be on the same plain in the sense of lack of seat time, which is what we all strive for. I've been obviously at race weekends doing commentary, but not actually being behind the wheel is something - especially going to the biggest race of the year - that is a little bit daunting.
"I think the good thing is we like the car very similar and I've been keeping up to date with the progress of the team and the way they've been setting up and running the car, that's been fantastic."
After placing second alongside Shane van Gisbergen at the Mount last year, Tander will one more take the co-drive in the #97 Holden Commodore.
Before he got to Bathurst Tander spent two weeks in Darwin and a week in Brisbane as part of COVID quarantine measures.
"No doubt it's different, there's no getting away from that, that's probably the term of 2020," Tander said.
"The immediate preparation has been quite different and with the year we've had it's been different, the last time I drove the car was February and look, there'll be a lot of co-drivers in that same situation.
Like Lowndes, Tander knows all the prior laps he's done at the circuit will help. As well as his vast Bathurst 1000 experience, he's done the Bathurst 24 Hour twice and Bathurst 12 Hour on five occasions.
"It's [experience] certainly not going to hurt that's for sure. Given it's a different preparation this year I'm taking a fair bit of comfort in that knowledge experience will count this year. So having that in the bank, if you like, provides a bit of comfort," he said.
"It really is a lot like riding a bike, once you get back in the groove and remember where all the switches are and what you need to do, the actual driving the car bit will all come pretty comfortably."