The Intercontinental GT Challenge season kicks off this weekend with the 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. Qualifying has already taken place, and the race itself starts within the hour.
For the Nissan squad, the two-car team has had a tough weekend before the green flag has even dropped. Florian Strauss pinged a wall in the #24 car (shared with Jann Mardenborough and Todd Kelly) during Practice 3 on Friday, sustaining heavy damage and putting the car’s presence in the event into question.
Luckily, a dedicated all-night effort by the pit crew got the car back up and running in time for qualifying. The #23 car would suffer a similar setback during the final practice session, with Katsumasa Chiyo clipping the wall en route to The Dipper. It too was fixed in time for qualifying, with Alex Buncombe just missing the top ten there with an 11th place spot on the grid. Jann Mardenborough would take the revitalized #24 to 14th.
Check out a timelapse of the #24 car’s impressive repair work:
The #88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 (driven by Toni Vilander, Craig Lowndes, and Jamie Whincup) enjoyed a fantastic Bathurst 12H debut, topping the Shootout and grabbing the top spot on the grid for the beginning of the race. Lining up beside it is the #90 MARC Cars BMW M6 GT3 (Chaz Mostert, Max Twigg, Morgan Haber). The full top ten is below:
- #88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 (Vilander, Lowndes, Whincup)
- #90 MARC Cars BMW M6 GT3 (Mostert, Twigg, Haber)
- #60 BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3 (Richards, Winterbottom, Wittmann)
- #35 Miedecke Stone Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage (Miedecke, Walsh, Bates)
- #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 (Soucek, Soulet, Abril)
- #911 Walkinshaw GT3 Porsche GT R (Bamber, Estre, Vanthoor)
- #7 Team Castrol Vodaphone BMW M6 GT3 (Skaife, Ingall, Glock, Longhurst)
- #12 Competition Motorsports 911 GT3 R (Calvert-Jones, Long, Lieb, Campbell)
- #5 GT Motorsport Audi R8 LMS (Taylor, Antunes, Barbour)
- #23 Nissan Motorsport Nissan GT-R GT3 (Chiyo, Buncombe, Caruso)
Thanks to an engine change, the #1 McLaren (winner of last year’s race) will be starting from the pit lane, which bumps the #23 Nissan into the fifth row for the start of the race.
Looking to watch the whole race? You’ve got a few options: