Australia’s prime racing circuit hosted an absolute thriller over the weekend which saw Tekno McLaren take the title, despite harsh competition from defending champions Nissan and a few issues faced along the half-day event. The driver team of Shane Van Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente and Jonathon Webb faced a car break-down and drive-through penalty, which threatened their chances of domination by pushing them down to 3rd in the closing stages of the endurance race.
However, the team were tenacious in their efforts throughout the race and got their reward when an aptly timed safety car eliminated a 1:40 gap to the cars in front. From there, Tekno seized the moment and used a welcome fuel stop to push their car to glory, McLaren’s first major coup since winning the Le Mans 24 Hour in the mid-90s.
Outside of the winner’s circle, the chimes of a missed opportunity will ring clear in the ears of Tekno’s competitors. Nissan – with 2015’s winners sharing driving duties with Rick Kelly – were let down by a poor qualifying performance, while Bentley lead the race on multiple occasions but fell flat to tyre problems and suspension failures. Regardless of these unfortunate events it would be unfitting to suggest Tekno did not deserve the victory, as they had the fastest car and overcame their issues…both self-inflicted and coincidental.
Mid-pack drama was rife, perhaps most disappointingly the performance of the Mercedes cars is that which should be quickly forgotten, forfeiting any sort of impact on standings in lieu of broken passenger doors, tyre worries and a broken pit boom. The SLS was completely over-shadowed by competing cars in its class but it should be a lesson learned for Erebus Motorsport that speed is nothing without reliability in this game.
In the other classes participating Class B was won by Scott McLaughlin, Earl Bamber and Stephen Grove in their impressive Grove Motorsport #4 Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car, placing 12th overall. Class I was taken by Jake Camilleri, Aaron Seton and Morgan Haber in their #93 MARC Cars Ford Focus – piloting it to a respectable 13th overall.
If you watched the race, why not share your thoughts below? Which driver/team really caught your eye? Join in the discussion in our GT Racing thread.
The event, which kicks off with qualifying on 13/02, will see Team Redline GT make their official debut in what poses to be a fantastic race. Featuring Touring and GT3 series vehicles, the event will be streamed live with full commentary. So, why not get involved? If the real deal was anything to go by, this promises some exciting racing.
Images provided by the official Bathurst 12HR Enduro website.