It’s the race the Mountain truly deserves. A stunning line up of the finest GT3 cars and drivers alongside the stars of Australia’s popular Supercar series taking on the famous Mount Panorama circuit.
The race itself, and the top ten shootout are exclusively live for Australian viewers this afternoon on 7Mate, but the good news is that the practice and main qualifying session are also being streamed live.
Even better news for some, is that the support events will also feature so you can check out the action of the combined Sedan race featuring an eclectic selection of old V8 Supercars, Sports Sedans and Improved Production Cars.
There’s the Radical Cup and for the first time classic Sports Cars with the Group S Historic Sports Cars of the 60’s & 70’s.
Audi topped the time sheets on Friday after the Schnitzer BMW team set the early pace.
The #22 Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi of Kelvin van der Linde, Frederic Vervisch and Garth Tander were the fastest in the opening day of track action at Mount Panorama with Vervisch setting the quickest time of the day, a 2:03.136s flyer, during the fourth practice session.
“Everything is going good. It’s difficult to see the real pace of everyone and the second thing is you have to have a clear lap as well,” the 31-year-old Belgian driver said.
“Not bad, for a first time for sure better than I expected so it’s good to be in front, but you want to be there on Sunday,”
“The car is really nice, we did some improvements from earlier in the day to now and I’m more comfortable and confident, it’s really cool. Like everybody describes its really nice.”
Vervisch said the No. 22 squad felt like they would be a competitive proposition for the remainder of the weekend.
“I think we have a really strong line-up, we all three are on a really strong pace,” he said.
“Obviously it’s very nice to have Garth as a team mate he knows the track well, we did a track walk yesterday and he really gave us some good indications which obviously helped today.
“We will see, we still have to decide who will do it [Qualifying], one of us three can do it and obviously we want to keep the car on track, I think that’s the main thing.
“For sure top ten would be nice, that’s out aim and its always better to start at the front than the rear.”
The BMW team Schnitzer M6GT3 of Chaz Mostert / Marco Wittman and Augusto Farfus was second fastest overall, just 0.25s behind the leading Audi.
All three of the BMW drivers lapped towards the front of the time sheets during their respective times behind the wheel today.
Returning to Mount Panorama for the first time since Touring Car racing in the 1980s, the famous Schnitzer squad impressed from the outset with Farfus storming to the top of the times during his first ever run at Mount Panorama.
Completing a good day for the Jamec-Pem Audi squad, the sister Audi R8 was third fastest overall today with former winner Christoper Mies, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock splitting the driving duties.
The day was dominated by Audi and BMW with the two brands filling the top five positions in the final session.
Outside of the searing lap times, the biggest story was perhaps the arrival of the Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3s t Mount Panorama.
After lengthy shipping delays, the five containers worth of freight – including pit lane equipment for AMG outfit Strakka Racing – was unloaded in Melbourne on Thursday afternoon and trucked the 10 hours to Bathurst.
They arrived at 3:00am Friday morning, with the team on hand to prepare the cars and get them on track for the first practice session just after 8:30am.
Remarkably, the cars lapped on the edge of the top-10 in the later practice sessions, despite the rushed preparation.
Saturday action will include a fifth and final practice session prior to qualifying with the Pirelli Top-10 Shootout, which will be broadcast live on 7mate around Australia. International viewers can watch the shootout and the main race on Sunday via the Bathurst 12 Hour website with commentary from the team at Radio Show limited John Hindhaugh, Johnny Palmer and Shea Adam alongside local commentator Richard Craill.
Source: With Bathurst 12 Hour Media Release.
Photo @Richard Craill.