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Bathurst 12 Hour: Friday Paddock Notes

Viper, Bentley, Ginetta, Nissan and McLaren Plus Pirelli

The Daytona Sportscars Viper turns out not to be the ex Brookspeed 2008 British GT Championship winner, but rather the ex RPM Motorsport 2007 British GT Championship winning car.

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Good news from the team is that their provisional 2018 plan for the Bathurst 12 Hour is to enter both the Viper and their much loved Daytona Coupe, some 28 roadgoing examples of which have now been built.

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Bentley Motorsport have unveiled their 2017 livery here at Bathurst, an evolution of their previous colour scheme, it continues to feature the same basic colour palette as before with two tones of green including the racing green that has featured on all of Bentley Motorsport’s racing cars, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning Speed 8.

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The design sees the rear end feature far more green than in 2016 with the Bathurst cars also featuring the ‘subtle’ integration of boxing kangaroo logos on the rear wing endplates.

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The Ginetta G55 is delivering its performance in a very different way to the GT4 opposition in Class C here, the Ginetta pulling 238 km/h down the Caltex Chase, at least 18 km/h down on the next slowest in straight line speed, 25 km/h down on the `Caymans, and 30 km/h down on the Aston Martins. “All of our lap time comes over the top of the Mountain,” said Mike Simpson. “We did ask if we could change the gearing but the homologation doesn’t allow that.”

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The Ginetta team and the Nissan Australia crews were though pulling all nighters after sizeable incidents for the pace setting #55 G55 and the #24 GT-R in FP4, the Ginetta seemingly suffering further damage during the recovery process from the gravel trap.

Paul Tippins captured the incident for Florian Strauss at the top of the Mountain, the crew comprehensively rebuilding a very bent front end, we’ll know just before the qualifying session this morning whether the car is good to go.

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There has been a little disquiet over the regulations for the top 10 shootout. As per the shootout for the Bathurst 1000, the cars line up in pit lane, nose out at a 45 degree angle prior to the session starting. While this is all well, it has been complicated by the fact that this is the first race with tyre ovens. The unforeseen consequence is that the first car on track will have the biggest benefit from the tyre ovens, having the warmest tyres to go on track. By the time the 10th car sets off, the tyres will be cold. While the prevailing attitude was “it is not ideal” or “it is what it is, we have to work with it” it is believed that race control has been lobbied for a change to the procedure for the session.

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With 55 cars on the Mountain and a fair share of drivers that have not have not had multiclass experience. Over the four practice sessions, some mentioned that up to 90% of their laps had been compromised by traffic over the top of the Mountain. While Class A will have their own qualifying session and the aforementioned Top 10 Shootout, come race day, dealing with traffic will be of vital importance.

The #37 Keltic McLaren lost an engine after, as driver Grant Denyer put it, “a bolt shot out of the engine”. The team missed most of the day’s action as they attempted to fix the issue, McLaren GT assisting the team to undertake the required work at the track rather than decamp to a local repair shop.

Their issue was compounded by the fact the Tekno McLaren had taken most of the necessary spare parts on site but the team reported last night that they will be back out.