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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Bathurst Saturday Notebook

John Dagus’ Saturday notebook from Mt. Panorama…

Photo: John Dagys

***Chaz Mostert’s pole-winning lap was the second quickest in Bathurst 12 Hour history. Mosert’s 2:01.934 time was unable to beat the track qualifying record of 2:01.567, set by Shane van Gisbergen in 2016. 

***Mostert has likely lost his chance of winning the 2017/18 Asian Le Mans Series GT drivers’ title, as the Australian is missing this weekend’s season finale in Sepang in favor of being in Bathurst. Mostert currently leads the championship following class wins in two of the three races.

***BMW Team Schnitzer returns to Bathurst for the first time since 1987, when it took part in Bathurst 1000 with a BMW M3 for drivers Emanuele Pirro, Roberto Ravaglia, Markus Oestreich and Roland Ratzenberger.

***A heavy accident by Lee Holdsworth in qualifying has resulted in extensive repairs set to be made to the No. 9 Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS ahead of tomorrow’s race. The car was taken to a local garage adjacent to the circuit for chassis repairs and is expected to be ready for the 5:45 a.m. start on Sunday.

***Two cars, meanwhile, have been swapped from its original entries, with Richard Gartner, David Wall, Hadrian Morrall and John Bowe having switched to M Motorsport’s spare Lamborghini Gallardo following engine failure for its primary car.

***The No. 94 MARC Cars Australia MARC Mazda V8, which crashed this morning in the hands of Zane Goddard, meanwhile, has been swapped to the team’s spare No. 33 car, which was on the final entry list but without nominated drivers.

***Adam De Borre, who engineers Mostert’s Prodrive-run team in Virgin Australia Supercars, is serving as the race engineer for the No. 74 Jamec Pem Racing Audi, which qualified second in the hands of Kelvin van der Linde. “I think it’s cool to have that friendly rivalry because Adam has that relationship with Chaz, so it’s pretty cool,” van der Linde said.

***Prodrive Chairman David Richards made an appearance in the paddock today, having visited Mt. Panorama to see friends and colleagues.

***A fuel miscalculation dashed hopes of the No. 991 Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R making the Top 10 Shootout, as Earl Bamber had limited laps in Q2 prior to brushing the wall in the session. Co-driver Kevin Estre told Sportscar365 that he believed the Kiwi would have been able to match Matt Campbell’s lap in the session.

***Campbell and Competition Motorsports led Porsche’s charge for the second consecutive year, with the Pro-Am entry set to start from 10th overall, as the only car from the German manufacturer to have made the shootout.

***The No. 911 Manthey Racing entry has struggled since unloading, with all three drivers in their Bathurst debuts. Romain Dumas explained the German squad has battled setup issues, although has enjoyed his first experience of the Mountain. “It’s cool. It’s a little bit like the Nordschleife with a mix of Pikes Peak in the middle,” said the three-time Pikes Peak International Hill Climb winner.

***Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser has called for event organizers to allow current-year homologated cars to compete in the future. 

***Cars such as the new-generation Bentley Continental GT3 and Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s, as well as 2018-spec Evo kits for the Porsche 911 GT3 R and BMW M6 GT3, are ineligible this weekend. “When the season starts the 1st of January, running old specifications doesn’t make any sense. We already raced [with 2018-spec cars] in Daytona,” Walliser told Sportscar365.

***Walliser said it’s not yet decided if Manthey will run entries in the final two Intercontinental GT Challenge rounds at Suzuka and Laguna Seca. The team is confirmed for the Total 24 Hours of Spa, by virtue of its full-season Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup entry.

***Porsche’s crop of Young Professionals, including new additions Campbell and Dennis Olsen, are set for GT3 drives this year, according to Walliser, who indicated they will be allocated to customer teams in Blancpain GT, Pirelli World Challenge and ADAC GT Masters.

***Matteo Cairoli, who along with Mathieu Jaminet were the two initial drivers in the program last year, is set to return to Proton Competition in the WEC GTE-Am ranks.

***While comprised entirely of Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars, Class B features three different iterations of the single-make racer. The class pole-sitting No. 4 Grove Racing entry, as well as the No. 23 Team Carrera Cup Asia and No. 85 Wall Racing entries are all first-generation 991 Cup cars, while the No. 21 car is a Gen 2 version. The No. 40 car, meanwhile, is a 997-based Cup car.

***Bentley Motorsport Director Brian Gush has remained hopeful of a strong showing for its two Bentley Continental GT3s, despite a rather lackluster qualifying effort in 9th and 14th. “It’s a long race; it’s 12 hours,” Gush told Sportscar365. “We’ve just got to keep circulating, keep on the lead lap, then two hours from the end, we’ll start the race. The trick is to be there.”

***Despite it being the last race for the current-generation Bentleys in the hands of the factory M-Sport squad, Gush confirmed that both of the cars racing this weekend will still be seen in competition. One car has been sold to an undisclosed customer, while the other Bentley will be run in either the British GT Championship or Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup by Team Parker Racing.

***While debuting the new-gen Continental GT3 in the Blancpain GT Endurance Cup season-opener in April, the car’s first IGTC appearance will come at the Total 24 Hours of Spa and will complete the season in the hands of the M-Sport squad. 

***Gush said they intend to begin customer deliveries of the new-gen Bentley in the second half of the year, with Pirelli World Challenge outfit K-PAX Racing likely to be among the first to receive the new cars. K-PAX will run three current-gen Bentleys for the entire PWC season before a planned switch to the new car in 2019.

***Audi Sport customer racing Asia director Martin Kuehl is on-site this weekend, in working to finalize entries for the first-ever Audi R8 LMS Cup race in Australia next month. The popular single-make series will kick off its season in Adelaide on March 2-4, with a number of Bronze and Silver-rated Audi drivers racing this weekend also expected to be in attendance.

***Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi’s regional motorsports support chain, is expected to assist with multiple entries for the event, which will be run on the season-opening weekend for the Australia Supercars championship.

***Will Davison survived a dramatic 720-degree spin in his No. 39 WRT Audi at McPhillamy Park on Friday, and remarkably kept the GT3 contender off the walls. The on-board footage has gone viral, with nearly 500,000 views in the last 24 hours. 

***Davison’s co-drivers, Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy, are coming off last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona in a Spirit of Race-entered Ferrari 488 GT3, marking the third different GT car the trio have driven in two months, following their FIA World Endurance Championship GTE-Am title with Aston Martin Racing last year.

***Dalla Lana told Sportscar365 that he’s yet to decide on possible additional GT3 races with WRT, which has expressed interest to complete the entire IGTC season.

***Watch the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on the event’s official Web site, featuring commentary from Radio Show Limited, beginning Sunday at 5:45 a.m. local time, or Saturday at 1:45 p.m. ET. Australian viewers can watch the race live on 7Mate. Click Here for more details.

***Despite not having a car entered in this year’s race, has continued its tradition of also providing a live stream.  

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John


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