Sunday, February 7, 2016

Tekno Autosports McLaren Holds Off Nissan At Bathurst

Nissan charged hard for its second consecutive victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour but the Japanese manufacture fell just short as the #59 Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3 of Shane Van Gisbergen, Jonathon Webb and Álvaro Parente took the victory after completing 297 laps, a new record for most laps completed in Bathurst 12 Hour history.

With fifteen minutes to go in the race, Van Gisbergen led the #1 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 of Katsumasa Chiyo by over 13 seconds. Chiyo picked away at the New Zealander's lead but ended up finishing 1.276 seconds behind the McLaren. Chiyo and co-driver Florian Strauß were going for their second consecutive Bathurst 12 Hour victory. Rick Kelly, the third driver in the #1 Nissan, was looking to become the eighth driver to win the Bathurst 12 Hour and Bathurst 1000.

In third was the #10 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3 of Guy Smith, Matt Bell and Steven Kane. The Bentley finished a minute and 18 seconds back of the winning McLaren. The final car on the lead lap was the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS of Laurens Vanthoor, Markus Winkelhock and Alex Davison, which finished over two minutes back.

Rounding out the top five, one lap down was the #36 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of Nico Bastian, David Reynolds and Thomas Jäger. The top A Class amateur team was the #5 GT Motorsport Audi of Greg Taylor, Barton Mawer and Nathan Antunes, who finished sixth, three laps down. The #31 Bentley of Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and David Russell finished four laps down in seventh with the #75 James Pem Racing Audi of René Rast, Garth Tander and Steve McLaughan finishing eighth.

The #60 Tekno Autosport McLaren of Rob Bell, Andrew Watson and Will Davison finished five laps behind its teammate in ninth. Six laps down in tenth was the #32 JBS Australia Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX of Luke Youlden, Roger Lago and Steve Owen. The #82 International Motorsports Audi of Andrew Bagnall, Rick Armstrong and Matt Halliday finished ten laps down in 11th.

The B Class winning #4 Grove Racing Porsche of Earl Bamber, Scott McLaughlin and Steven Grove finished 12th overall, 12 laps down. Thirteenth overall was the I Class winning #93 MARC Cars Australia Focus V8 of Jake Camilleri, Morgan Haber and Aaron Seton, 17 laps behind the overall winners.

This is McLaren's first victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour and McLaren is the fifth different manufacture to win in the last five years. Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Ferrari and Nissan had won the previous four editions. Van Gisbergen joins Craig Baird as the only New Zealanders to win the Bathurst 12 Hours. Parente is the first Portuguese driver to win the event and Webb is the 20th different Australian to stand on the top step of the podium. Not only did this year's Bathurst 12 Hour see a record set for most laps completed but there were a record 29 lead changes.

The second round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge will be the Spar 24 Hours on July 30-31st.