Here’s to the unsung heroes, co-drivers! Whether in rallying or endurance events, they hardly get a mention unless their car wins. Even then, the main kudos goes to the driver, as it should.
So who is Alex Prémat, the winning co-driver of the 2019 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000?
Prémat is not new to Supercars or the top of the podium, having won the 2016 Pirtek Enduro Cup alongside Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight Race Engineering. They finished second, three times and won the Castrol Gold Coast 600.
It was Garry Rogers who first introduced the Frenchman to the Australia Supercars Championship back in 2012 as a full-time replacement for the outgoing Lee Holdsworth. It was a year of struggle with Prémat finishing down in 27th place. He best finish was 13th at Symmons Plains, Tasmania, at the third round.
In 2013 he was joined by a young rookie by the name of Scott McLaughlin. Prémat had his best finish of the season with a fourth in the opening race in Adelaide. Compared to the rookie who won two races and finished tenth overall, Premat finished down in 19th.
For the last six seasons he has been used as a co-driver for the Enduros, and having more success. Other than in 2016 partnering van Gisbergen, he has been with McLaughlin. No wonder they have worked so well together for their wining performance at Bathurst.
Behind the his Supercars career is an impressive single seater CV which even includes winning the Macau Formula 3 Grand Prix in 2004. Prior to that he had won the 2002 French Formula Renault and finished runner up in the F3 EuroSeries in 2004.
Following on from the win at Macau he competed in GP2 finishing fourth in 2005 as well as driving for the successful French A1GP team in the 2005/06 season.
Then followed stints in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) and Le Mans with Audi. In fact it is reported that Audi fired him before the final race of the 2010 DTM season for running in the New York Marathon instead of recovering from a heavy crash at the previous round.
While his two years as a full-time driver in Supercars may not have been successful, it set him up to be a top co-driver for Scott McLaughlin. Alex Premat can now say that he has won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.