By this time next week, the 2023 Bathurst 1000 will have been run and won, but by whom?
Once again, the victorious pairing of the previous year has been broken up, with Garth Tander heading to Penrite Racing to co-drive with David Reynolds, meaning Shane van Gisbergen is joined this time around in the #97 Red Bull Ampol Racing entry by Richie Stanaway.
That did not stop Triple Eight Race Engineering from winning the Sandown 500 just over a fortnight ago, although it did so courtesy of the car on the other side of the garage, with Broc Feeney/Jamie Whincup leading the way in the #88 Chevrolet Camaro.
Said race is the first Sandown 500 in five years which exists as a form guide for the Bathurst 1000.
In 2018, Whincup/Paul Dumbrell led a Triple Eight podium sweep at the southeast Melbourne circuit before team-mates Craig Lowndes/Steven Richards prevailed at Mount Panorama.
This year, both of the full-time Triple Eight entries made the top three at Sandown, split by Erebus Motorsport's #99 Camaro, steered by Repco Supercars Championship leader Brodie Kostecki and Bathurst veteran David Russell.
The first enduro of 2023 was hardly an outlier in the context of the season to date.
In fact, the top five come the chequered flag made for the same top five in the drivers' championship, save for a couple of changes of position.
Feeney finished two positions up on that which he occupies on the points table, bumping each of Kostecki and van Gisbergen back one, with Erebus's Will Brown fourth and Brad Jones Racing's Andre Heimgartner fifth.
As such, it would hardly be surprising if the Repco Bathurst 1000 plays out essentially as a head-to-head battle between Erebus and Triple Eight, with BJR also in the mix.
At Sandown, Whincup scythed his way past the other co-drivers before Feeney saw off big pressure from Kostecki when a Safety Car closed the field up in the latter stages.
However, how Kostecki would have fared if Russell had not lost track position due to an early double stack is an interesting question.
Pit priority may well be crucial at Mount Panorama and, on that basis, it is significant that Feeney/Whincup had the edge on van Gisbergen/Stanaway at Sandown, as did Kostecki/Russell on Brown/Jack Perkins.
Heimgartner/Dale Wood led the way for BJR at Sandown, gaining 10 positions over the course of Sunday afternoon in the #8 R&J Batteries Camaro.
Twelve months ago, it was the less fancied Bryce Fullwood/Dean Fiore which scored a top 10 in the Albury squad's #14 entry at Mount Panorama.
Fellow Chevrolet squads Matt Stone Racing and Team 18 have won races this year, while PremiAir Racing might have scored a surprise top 10 at Bathurst last year, if a splitter drama did not set back the #31 entry of James Golding/Dylan O'Keeffe.
Switching focus to the Fords, and the parity question cannot be ignored.
At time of writing, it is still not known if the Mustangs will benefit from an aerodynamic tweak ahead of the Great Race.
Of course, there are also claims from the other side of the fence that complaints about a disparity are overstated.
Certainly, two of the more fancied Ford duos were out of contention less than 20 laps into the Sandown 500, when Tander spun into the fence after losing a wheel which landed on the boot of the Cameron Waters/James Moffat and pulled the rear wing off the #6 Tickford Racing Mustang.
It was left to the other Grove Racing car to lead the way for the Blue Oval, with Matt Payne and co-driver Kevin Estre impressing in what was a Sandown 500 debut for the former and a Supercars debut entirely for the latter.
Grove is on a roll, after an August test day led to gains at The Bend, and Tander is a five-time victor at the Mountain, but it is Tickford which has been the biggest hope for a Mustang victory at the 1000 in recent times, with Waters on pole twice and the podium three times in the past three years.
The Shell V-Power Racing Team, Ford's last Bathurst 1000 winner, scored a double top 10 at Sandown and has been chipping away after a troubled pre-season meant it started the 2023 campaign on the back foot.
Walkinshaw Andretti United had an utter shocker last time out but Team Principal Bruce Stewart was left under no illusions about the task ahead.
In the Clayton squad's favour is that its 2021 Bathurst 1000-winning duo of Chaz Mostert/Lee Holdsworth has been reunited in the #25 Mobil 1 Optus Mustang, and its tendency to lift at Mount Panorama even in its down periods.
Then there is the Blanchard Racing Team, for which Todd Hazelwood was something of a surprise packet at Sandown.
BRT is a two-car effort again this weekend given it is fielding a wildcard, as are Dick Johnson Racing and Triple Eight.
While the performance of Simona De Silvestro/Kai Allen in the #98 Mustang will be a talking point, it is intriguing to ponder what sort of result the latter's #888 Supercheap Auto Camaro is capable of.
The entry finished eighth last year in the Bathurst 1000, the best ever result for an official wildcard, when Craig Lowndes and Declan Fraser steered a ZB Commodore.
Lowndes is the most prolific Great Race winner in the field, and an evergreen at Mount Panorama, while his 2023 co-driver Zane Goddard was solid at Sandown, where he earned qualifying duties and they combined to finish 10th.
Who do you think will win the 2023 Bathurst 1000? Cast your vote in this week's Pirtek Poll.