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Bathurst 12 Hour: Pre-Qualifying Notes

News and notes ahead of the sessions that decide who takes pole

How Qualifying works

Three sessions are used to decide the grid for the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour, which culminates with the Top 10 shootout to decide the winner of the Allan Simonsen Trophy.

The first part of qualifying starts at 12:40 pm this afternoon and runs for 45 minutes.

This session sets the grids for GT4 and the Invitational Class while giving class A vehicles a chance to tune their cars and drivers further ahead of the second session.

Qualifying two commences at 13:35 pm, runs for 30 minutes and is solely for Class A cars. This decides who makes it to the final shootout.

With a bulk of the field having determined their starting positions, the classic Mount Panorama one-lap dash commences at 5:05 pm with the 10 fastest cars from Qualifying two running in reverse order to determine the first five rows of the grid.

Previous winners of the Allan Simonsen Trophy include Raffaele Marciello (2019), Chaz Mostert (2018), Toni Vilander (2017), Shane van Gisbergen (2016), Laurens Vanthoor (2015) and Maro Engel (2014).

Qualifying stats

There’s been a real variety in the pole winners at the history of Bathurst 12 Hour.

Only one man has taken two pole positions (Steve Owen in 2009/10), and only one man has driven in all three Top 10 Shootouts to date, Matt Campbell.

As for Shane Van Gisbergen’s pole record from 2016 – a 2:01.286 back in 2016 – it looks pretty safe as during practice nobody has set a time under a 2:03.

You never know though!

Thanks again to the king of Bathurst statistics, David Greenhalgh!

Practice problems

There are plenty of mechanics hard at work after practice 5, a number of cars in the wars and being fixed ahead of Qualifying.

The #159 Garage 59 Aston Martin missed the latter part of the session, with the issue being diagnosed as a slipping clutch. A representative from the team confirmed to DSC that the car will be set to go for qualifying.

Similarly, the #24 Bostik Audi spent around 40 minutes in the garage, with the team diagnosing an ABS issue in the car.

“The ABS locked out into turn two,” driver of the #24 Max Twigg said. “No pedal feel at all, it just locked out. It turned out to be the ABS module itself.

“We took a little while to diagnose but we found that and replaced it, so it’ll be repaired.”

After their big shunts at the end of the session, there are question marks over the status of the Bentley Team M-Sport #8 Continental and the Hub Auto Corse #27 Ferrari 488. The garage at Bentley looks to be a hive of activity, with significant attention being paid to the right rear of that car.

The situation at Hub Auto Corse looks bleaker; when DSC went to the garage, there was not a lot of work being done.

At this stage, there has been no confirmation on the status of the Ferrari, though Bentley has told DSC that the #8 will make the race, but not be able to take part in Qualifying.

“At the minute we don’t know exactly what it (the issue causing the #8’s crash) was,” team boss Matthew Wilson told DSC. “Obviously there’s an issue with braking, it was not the braking performance that was normal, it seems like there was more braking to the rear than to the front which is why it managed to turn it sideways

“We’re pushing to get the car repaired as well. I think we can physically repair it. And to be out for tomorrow. Obviously we won’t make qualifying, that’s for sure.

“Structurally the car is in one piece, there’s obviously a lot of broken pieces, wishbones and stuff like that. The major work is to do with the rear of the chassis, but I think fixable.

“The boys did a brilliant job finding the wiring loom issue. and it was only a small a difficult one to find and eventually the whole we had to change the whole front wiring loom in the engine bay. So it was a bigger job than we first thought. And by the way, they managed to fix that one did a great job so we just need to rely on them again to fix this.”

“Thankfully the main thing is Ollie’s fine, he’s alright. He jumped out of it pretty quick no injuries or anything and he’s in good shape so that’s a positive.”

In the garage DSC noticed additional heat shielding going on to the internals of the Bentley.

“We’re just trying to do everything we possibly can to help drivers in any way,” he added. “We are just literally trying to do anything that we can to help to try to freeze drinks bottles, all of them sort of things. It’s going to be a real feat of endurance.”