There have been a number of retirements before the race has started. The #59 Tekno McLaren (Barnicoat, Kane, Davison), the #99 Walkenhorst BMW (Muller, Menzel, Collard) and the R Motorsport #62 Aston Martin (Baenzinger, Leemhuis, Struve) all through crash damage. Additionally the #1 Tekno McLaren (Parente, Bell, Ledogar) have had ongoing cooling issues and could seek to replace the engine in that car with that of their retired stablemates. If this is allowed by the Stewards, the car will start from the back of the grid. If so, they will start from alongside the Brookspeed Porsches who mistakenly refueled during qualifying and were automatically demoted.
There has been a marked difference between the two Bentleys with the #8 car qualifying on 2:03 084 while the stable mate #17 was 23rd with a time of 2:04.721. The team has run tests on the engines which both seem to be performing within an acceptable range of each other. However Guy Smith explained that the car was new for this weekend and without time to shakedown the car, they have been troubleshooting issues. While the car is fine, the drivers have some confidence issues over the tight mountain top. Tactics will come into play to keep them in contention.
The Bentley squad do have a revised cooling function for the cockpit. New for this year is vents on the rear of the cockpit area to enable better flow through of air. Traditionally teams have had air conditioning and vents facing the driver. The new vents ensure that warm air has a chance to escape, hence keeping the cockpit cooler without hampering the car.
The race is also a little special for Vincent Abril who has been a dedicated V8 Supercars fan and enjoyed watching Bathurst since he was a child. Now he gets a chance to race against some of his V8 idols.
Naturally there has been plenty of chatter about BoP, given this is the first race many of these cars have raced at Bathurst. As Nissan and Mercedes missed the top 10 and BMW has had a stellar weekend to date, Defending pole setter and winner, Shane van Gisbergen and Chris Meis discussed the issue on Twitter saying the “balance is out of balance”. Pedro Lamy said that the car feels fast but is slow.
Nissan have posted time lapse of the repair of the #24 after Florian Strauss hit the wall in Friday practice. The team ended their repairs at 8am and the team worked through. Certainly worth watch. https://www.facebook.com/Bathurst12Hour/videos/1225882640782350/
Bernd Schenider debuted the new Mercedes AMG GT R road car at Bathurst and went on flying laps. In road car he managed 2:17 – good enough for 46th on the grid. Again the onboard should be seen – https://www.facebook.com/MercedesBenzAU/videos/1335027353239221/?hc_ref=PAGES_TIMELINE
This year is Jorg Muller’s 20th year with BMW, originally starting in 1997 in Super Touring, he has progressed through WTCC, ALMS, FIA GT, Le Mans, DTM and GT3 and has had a hand in every BMW factory race car during the time.