Porsche Secures A Quartet Of Trophies In Australia's Bathurst 12 Hour Race
The opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge
Porsche has had an impressive start to their 2017 motorsport efforts, having already won the 24 hours of Dubai, and secured a few trophies at the Daytona 24 last weekend. The trend continues with Australia's premier sports car race, the Bathurst 12 hour at Mount Panorama. While the Porsche pro-driver factory mounted effort failed to mount a charge on the outright victory, Porsche drivers won four separate class victories, including second place on the overall podium. This was a monumentally good day for Porsche drivers, taking the Class A GT3 Pro-Am Class, Class A GT3 Am, Class B GT3, and Class C GT4.
The GT3 Pro-Am victory was taken by the Competition Motorsports-entered 911 GT3 R of Pat Long, Marc Lieb, David Calvert-Jones, and Matt Campbell, also netting them an overall podium in second place. The GT3 Am victory was won by the Walkinshaw-entered 911 GT3 R of Liam Talbot, John Martin, and Davashen Padayachee, ending the race in fourth overall. A Porsche 991 GT3 Cup car won the "Class B", which was of course populated only by Porsches (Dean Grant, Dylan Okeeffe, Xavier West, and David Wall deserve recognition for their efforts nonetheless). In the GT4-specific category "Class C", A Porsche Cayman Prosport "Pro 4" was the victor (essentially a privately built GT4 Clubsport) with Max Braams, Joerg Viebahn, Nicolaij Moller-Madsen, and Harrison Jones splitting the driving duties.
Porsche's factory-backed Walkinshaw entered Pro-class #911 GT3 R of Earl Bamber, Kevin Estre, and Laurens Vanthoor looked very good in the early hours. Vanthoor started the car in the early hours of morning before sunrise, and ran as high as second place, slicing his way through traffic like the seasoned pro he is. Handing off to Earl Bamber for the second stint of the race, the forward charge was continued as he moved into the overall lead. Earl suffered shortly thereafter, hitting a slower competitor as he attempted to put them another lap down. Traffic on the mountain is brutal, and takes out even the best factory drivers. The 911 GT3 R's steering was broken beyond repair, and the team withdrew from the race without Kevin Estre even getting a chance in the car.
Post-Race Quotes -
“It was a sensational experience for me to return to Bathurst after 22 years and watch this incredible race. It was a very long day for the drivers and teams and everyone got a fright at one point or another. That’s totally normal on such a unique racetrack. I’m thrilled about the hard-earned second place for the #12 car and also about the tremendous effort of the other Porsche customer teams. They all did a great job.”
“Second place and class victory feels pretty good. We had to cope with a lot of minor setbacks, probably more than any other team, and that alone makes this a super result.”
“My stints were good. During the second stint I unfortunately nudged a Mercedes. I wanted to overtake it to snatch the lead but he didn’t budge an inch and I didn’t want to risk anything. So I decided to pull back and keep my position. But I was on the dirty side of the track and I couldn’t avoid touching the car. Luckily nothing more happened.”
“I was in the lead and wanted to lap a slower vehicle. The driver obviously didn’t see me, he turned in and hit me. My steering was so badly damaged that we had to throw in the towel. It was clearly my fault. I was just too impatient; I should have waited longer. I’m so sorry for the team. It’s such a shame. Up to that point everything was going really well for us.”