Mercedes lands first blow in Bathurst 12 Hour


TRIPLE EIGHT Racing has delivered a one-two punch in practice ahead of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this weekend at Mount Panorama.

The Aussie team finished 1-2 after four sessions on the Mountain today to show their true form ahead of qualifying tomorrow and Sunday’s around-the-clock enduro.

Supercars champion and former 12-hour winner Shane van Gisbergen set the fastest time of the day in his Mercedes AMG GT3, to be shared this weekend by Supercars teammate Jamie Whincup, and German ace Maximilian Goetz.

Teammate for the weekend, Anton de Pasquale, followed closely behind to give the Aussie team a lockout at the top of an ultra-competitive field after the first day of on-track action on the Mountain.

The 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour champion a quickest time of 2:03.9649 in the final practice session to top a competitive day of practice – staged in scorching 35-degree temperatures.

Van Gisbergen said both cars attempted a qualifying simulation late in the day, electing to show their potential early in the weekend.

“The car is awesome. Our two cars were up the front on low fuel and new tyres – other teams won’t be doing that. It feels good for now and we’ve got a good handle on what the car is doing.

“It’s a very different style to how the Europeans do it; they will be hanging out to qualy.”

Anton de Pasquale was second fastest in The Bend Motorsport Park’s entry – also prepared by Triple Eight.

Borrowed by the team from regular Supercars rivals Erebus Motorsport, de Pasquale was another to star in the final session and will share his The Bend Motorsport Park Mercedes AMG with Nick Foster and Adelaide brothers, Sam and Yasser Shahin.

He was only 0.2 seconds behind his Supercars rival, while South African star Kelvin van der Linde was third in the first Audi entry. In the scorching conditions, non-turbo cars dominated proceedings with Mercedes-AMG, Audi, Porsche and Lamborghini entries filling the top-10 positions in practice.

Friday saw 12-Hour competitors tackle four practice sessions to set the tone for the weekend ahead, the usual Bathurst drama a constant throughout a scorching day.

Practice one pacesetter Josh Burdon was impressive early, however on a dirty circuit the young Tasmanian crashed his KCMG Nissan GTR at Reid Park late in the session.

The damage was so severe that the entry, to be been shared by Japanese aces Tsugio Matsuda and 2015 winner Katsumasa Chiyo, was later withdrawn from the event having been judged unrepairable. The field now stands at 38 cars following the Nissan’s withdrawal.

One of last year’s standout drivers, Swiss pilot Raffaele Marciello, lifted the #999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing up to the top spot in Practice Two as he lapped the Mount Panorama circuit in 2:04.7819, almost two seconds than Burdon’s practice one time.

Initially running as the fastest car on track, the #77 Craft Bamboo Black Falcon entry of Maro Engel found itself in the wall after Griffin’s Bend late in the session, giving the team a big job to repair the Mercedes AMG GT3 – though it would later return to the circuit competitively following successful repairs.

Bathurst winner David Reynolds elevated the #75 SunEnergy1 entry to the top of the order late in the third practice session thanks to a 2:04.9312s effort – the repaired Engel AMG second and just two-tenths down.

The final session of the day saw slightly cooler track conditions and the fastest times of the day as drivers tackled something of a qualifying simulation at the very end of the session.

The battle was ultimately won by van Gisbergen: The Kiwi becoming the first and only driver to lap beneath the 2m04-second barrier today. Having topped the charts for much of the session, de Pasquale finished the day second to his teammate.

A final one-hour practice session will see the field on track at 8:45am on Saturday morning prior to a two-part qualifying session.

Practice resumes at 8:45am tomorrow morning before qualifying begins at 12:40pm, followed by two more sessions to determine the grid for Sunday’s race.


PosCarCompetitor/TeamDriverVehicleCLFastest LapGap
1888Mercedes-AMG Team Triple EightS.van Gisbergen/
J.Whincup/M.GoetzMercedes AMG GT3PRO2:03.9649*
2777The Bend Motorsport ParkY.Shahin/N.Foster/
A.De Pasquale/S.ShahinMercedes AMG GT3PAM2:04.16840:00.2035
3222Audi Sport Team ValvolineK.van der Linde/M.Drudi/
M.WinkelhockAudi R8 – LMS GT3PRO2:04.47760:00.5127
4999Mercedes-AMG GruppeM RacingF.Fraga/M.Buhk/
R.MarcielloMercedes AMG GT3PRO2:04.78190:00.8170
522Audi Sport Team ValvolineG.Tander/C.Mies/
M.BortolottiAudi R8 – LMS GT3PRO2:04.80910:00.8442
675SunEnergy1 RacingK.Habul/D.Baumann/
M.Konrad/D.ReynoldsMercedes AMG GT3PAM2:04.93120:00.9663
74Team Australia Grove RacingS.Grove/B.Grove/
B.BarkerPorsche GT3 RPAM2:05.02640:01.0615
82Audi Sport Team ValvolineD.Vanthoor/C.Haase/
F.VervischAudi R8 – LMS GT3PRO2:05.03940:01.0745
963Orange 1 FFF Racing TeamA.Caldarelli/M.Mapelli/
D.LindLamborghini HurracanPRO2:05.07370:01.1088
1077Mercedes-AMG Craft-BambooM.Engel/L.Stolz/
Y.BuurmanMercedes AMG GT3PRO2:05.14470:01.1798
111Earl Bamber MotorsportE.Bamber/L.Vanthoor/
C.LowndesPorsche GT3 RPRO2:05.19350:01.2286
1218KCMGJ.De Oliveira/
E.Liberati/A.ImperatoriNissan GTR Nismo GTPRO2:05.29720:01.3323
137Bentley Team M-SportJules Gounon (FRA)Bentley ContinentalPRO2:05.52290:01.5580
1476R – MotorsportJ.Dennis/R.Kelly/
S.DixonAston Martin VantagePRO2:05.56010:01.5952
1527Hub Auto CorsaM.Gomes/T.Slade/D.SerraFerrari 488 GT3PRO2:05.57470:01.6098
1630Honda Racing Team JASD.Cameron/
R.van der Zande/
M.FarnbacherAcura/ Honda NSX GT3PRO2:05.62900:01.6641
L.HoldsworthAudi R8 – LMS GT3PAM2:05.76060:01.7957
18912Absolute RacingD.Werner/M.Cairoli/
T.PreiningPorsche GT3 RPRO2:05.77130:01.8064
19911Absolute RacingM.Jaminet/P.Pilet/
M.CampbellPorsche GT3 RPRO2:05.77640:01.8115
206Wall RacingA.Deitz/A.D’Alberto/
J.Westwood/C.McConvilleLamborghini HurracanSIL2:06.03360:02.0687
2146Black FalconP.Assenheimer/
S.Afanasiev/M.BerettaMercedes AMG GT3SIL2:06.06470:02.0998
226059Racing/ EMA RacingA.Parente/B.Barnicoat/
T.BlomqvistMcLaren 720S GT3PRO2:06.15990:02.1950
2312NED Racing TeamD.Calvert-Jones/R.Dumas/
J.EvansPorsche GT3 RPAM2:06.17850:02.2136
2429Trofeo MotorsportL.Talbot/D.Canto/
M.Zalloua/G.DenyerLamborghini HuracanSIL2:06.27590:02.3110
2591Scandia Racer IndustriesA.Cameron/B.Feeney/
N.PercatMARC IIINV2:06.40940:02.4445
2634Walkenhorst MotorsportA.Farfus/N.Catsburg/
C.MostertBMW M6 GT3PRO2:06.53130:02.5664
2735KCMGJosh Burdon (HKG)Nissan GTR Nismo GT3PRO2:06.55310:02.5882
288Bentley Team M-SportAlex Buncombe (GBR)Bentley ContinentalPRO2:06.71350:02.7486
29159Garage 59A.Watson/O.Hart/
R.De AngelisAston Martin VantageSIL2:06.71430:02.7494
M.KodricMcLaren 720S GT3SIL2:06.77300:02.8081
31188Garage 59A.West/C.Goodwin/
C.Ledogar/M.MartinAston Martin VantagePAM2:07.62030:03.6554
3292Scandia Racer IndustriesH.Morrall/T.Everingham/
J.KayeMARC IIINV2:08.36770:04.4028
3320Local SearchA.Hargraves/
D.Jilesen/S.OwenMARC IIINV2:08.52370:04.5588
3462R – MotorsportL.Ghiotto/O.CaldwellAston Martin VantagePRO2:08.52970:04.5648
3596Hobson MotorsportB.Hobson/K.Kostecki/
G.WaldenNissan GT-R NISMO GTSIL2:08.59690:04.6320
3695MARC Cars AustraliaG.Taunton/B.Hall/W.Luff/
B.SchumacherMARC IIINV2:09.00480:05.0399
3724Bostik AustraliaT.Bates/G.Emery/M.Twigg/
D.O’KeeffeAudi R8 – LMS GT3SIL2:09.02260:05.0577
H.NeweyMercedes AMG GT4GT42:16.60840:12.6435
3913JET Battery ServicesD.Jorgensen/B.Strom/
D.van DongenBMW M4 GT4GT42:18.38480:14.4199