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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Bathurst Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour…

Photo: EBM

***Porsche scored its first overall Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour victory and first outright win in Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli competition, coming in Earl Bamber Motorsport’s GT3 debut and in the last professional outing for the previous-generation Porsche 911 GT3 R.

***The No. 912 Porsche of Matt Campbell, Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner set a new race distance record of 312 laps (1,204 miles), in large part thanks to a four-hour green flag period, the longest in event history.

***Porsche Young Professional Olsen gave high marks to the professionalism of EBM, which only got the green light for the Bathurst program on Dec. 10. “I thought we were racing with Manthey Racing, not Earl Bamber!” Olsen said. “At the end of the day, they did a perfect job.”

***A post-race investigation for the late-race incident involving Campbell and the No. 42 Team Schnitzer BMW M6 GT3 of Chaz Mostert resulted in no further action. According to the stewards, there was “insufficient evidence” for a breach of the rules, which saw the two cars make contact at The Chase.

***Earl Bamber revealed to Sportscar365 post-race that he was initially planning to enter the Bathurst 12 Hour with a single Porsche 911 GT3 R for himself, Laurens Vanthoor and either Kevin Estre or reigning Virgin Australia Supercar champion Scott McLaughlin but was instead connived by Porsche to take on a two-car effort with its full-season IGTC lineup instead.

***Check out Bamber’s full interview on sportscar365.fm’s Double Stint Podcast, which will be released on Tuesday.

***Andy Soucek took responsibility for the two stoppages in the No. 108 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3, with the Spaniard having accidentally hit the kill switch on both occasions at pit-out. The final incident occurred during the car’s final stop when it had come into the pits from the race lead.

***BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt said Charly Lamm “would have been proud” of the performance by Team Shnitzer in the race, which led the race at key stages and challenged for a podium finish. “A big compliment goes to every single team member and all drivers for an outstanding performance in an emotionally difficult situation,” Marquardt said.

***Mercedes-AMG takes an early lead in the IGTC manufacturers’ championship, thanks to the third and fourth place overall finishes for the No. 999 GruppeM and No. 888 Team Vodafone Mercedes-AMG GT3s.

***It was a race to forget for defending manufacturer champions Audi, with the No. 22 Team Vavoline entry retiring in the eighth hour after an accident by Frederic Vervisch, with the No. 2 car finishing eight laps down in 14th after a broken steering rack.

***Power steering failure, meanwhile, resulted in retirement for the No. 911 EBM Porsche late in the race, with the No. 34 Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3 dropping out due to a second oil pump failure in as many days.

***A punctured radiator from a “small rock” cost the No. 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes a likely GT3 Pro-Am class victory, when the Scott Taylor Motorsport-run entry was forced to retire in the eighth hour due to overheating. The Thomas Jaeger, Dominik Baumann and Kenny Habul-driven entry had run as high as third overall.

***Questions have still surrounded the exclusion of R-Motorsport’s Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 from the Top 10 Shootout. Sportscar365 understands the technical infringement, related to the rev limit threshold, was a discrepancy in the car’s homologation documents. The team has declined comment on the matter.

***Mercedes-AMG is expected to have an increased presence in next month’s California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, with a former IGTC team set to return as a two-car operation supporting the German manufacturer’s efforts.

***Craft-Bamboo, which has made the switch to the German manufacturer this year, meanwhile, is expected to field at least one works-supported entry in the Suzuka 10 Hours and FIA GT World Cup in Macau, according to team principal Frank Yu. The team worked with Black Falcon this weekend in its first race with the GT3 car.

***Bathurst event organizers reported four-day weekend attendance of 49,495 fans, marking an increase of nearly 8,000 spectators compared to last year.

***It was announced on Sunday morning, moments before the start of the race, that Bathurst will play host to Sir Elton John early next year, with the city securing a date on his Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour of Australia. Sir Elton is set to perform at Bathurst’s Carrington Park on, Jan. 22, 2020.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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