The French Connection
V8X Supercar Magazine|December 2019 - January 2020 Issue 114
While the focus was on the return of Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander entering the 2019 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, it was Alexandre Prémat who won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and helped Scott McLaughlin take his second championship win, capping a remarkable eight-year journey for the Frenchman in Supercars.
James Crocker

Many questioned Garry Rogers’ decision to bring Alexandre Prémat to Supercars for the 2012 season, given the vast differences of the category to anything the Frenchman had raced before.

Fast forward to 2019 and Prémat is a Bathurst 1000 winner and an elite level co-driver. His partnership with Scott McLaughlin is a formidable one, and the pair netted their first Great Race title in 2019, edging McLaughlin closer to his second consecutive drivers’ championship.

Whilst McLaughlin takes most of the plaudits and attention for the win, Prémat was the underrated and understated safe pair of hands that kept the car clean and in position for McLaughlin to take advantage, while the Frenchman battled more fancied co-drivers such as Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander.

The partnership is one of the longest-running endurance combinations in the field, with Prémat and McLaughlin teaming up for five enduro campaigns across two teams. Aside from a one-year fling with Shane van Gisbergen at Triple Eight Race Engineering, which saw Prémat win a PIRTEK Enduro Cup, the McLaughlin-Prémat combination is one of the most cohesive on the grid.

Prémat arrived in Supercars in 2012 with an impressive CV that featured GP2 wins, with future Formula 1 world champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton as teammates, a Macau Grand Prix win, an A1 Grand Prix title, four seasons in the competitive DTM and four Le Mans 24 Hours starts. Rogers took a chance on the Frenchman, despite the struggle of many internationals to get to grips with the Australian V8-powered beasts.

A tough 2012 saw him dropped for the Gold Coast, while he missed the final race of the season in Sydney through heat exhaustion (ironically to be replaced by McLaughlin) and drew the ire of his competitors with many on-track run-ins.

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