Sparesbox Blog

LIVE – The 2016 LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour

By Brad Nash

Sun Feb 07 2016

5:49pm – You have to say it was truly deserved by the McLaren. It’s been the fastest car all weekend. What a performance and what a car from the British manufacturer! Bentley have also put in an immense shift, putting the Continental GT3 in 3rd place. That’s all we have time for today, and we truly hope you’ve enjoyed the coverage! Thanks for tuning in! Here’s the final finishing times.

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5:45pm – CHEQUERED FLAG – What a final lap! Chiyo tears the track apart, getting to within 1.2 seconds of the Shane Van Gisbergen’s McLaren, but it’s Tekno Autosport who take it out! It’s been the fastest, longest, meanest Bathurst 12 Hours in history, with the biggest crowd and the fastest lap ever set around the track in race conditions.

 

5:38pm (6 mins to go) – 6 minutes to go, and after almost 12 hours the drivers are still setting fastest laps and doing PB’s. Just an absurd show of endurance and strength. Every driver here should be damn proud of their efforts.

 

5:26pm (19 mins to go) – The gap between SVG and Chiyo is now 15 seconds as we head into the last 15 mins of the race. Is it done and dusted?

 

5:15pm (30 mins to go) – Chiyo-San starting to take some serious chunks out of SVG’s lead, setting a 2.03.00 time. Chiyo is on the warpath, and after 11 and a half hours of racing the gap is just 9.5 seconds. SVG probably has a 2.02 lap in him pretty easily though, so all it could take is a push and the McLaren could take it out.

 

4:57pm (47 mins to go) – 12 seconds separate SVG and Chiyo-San, with the Bentley and Audi another 15 seconds or so down the road. In Endurance terms, that’s hardly anything.

 

4:54 (51 mins to go) – LEADER CHANGE – In comes Katsumasa Chiyo, and Shane Van Gisbergen takes the lead. This is shaping up to be a cracking finish.

 

4:51pm (54 mins to go) – The #31 Bentley pits for its final sprint, with Steven Kane jumping in for the closing stages of this race. Fresh fuel, and that’s it. That was quick. The Bentley rejoins ahead of Vanthoor in the Audi, which is starting to smoke a little.

 

4:41pm (1hr06 to go) – Laurens Vanthoor comes in for a drink bottle switch, a fuel top up and NOT a fresh set of rubber. SVG does the same. They’re in it for the long haul now, and a 1 hr sprint is about to ensue.

 

4:30pm (1hr15 to go) – Probably good to note that all four leading cars will need to pit before this race is over. It’s still wide, wide, WIDE open.

 

4:27pm (1hr18 to go) – GREEN FLAG – We’re off racing again, and Chiyo-san (I love that I get to call him that) leads Vanthoor by just over a second, with the Bentley just a little more behind. SVG starts weaving his way through the field.

 

4:19pm (1hr26 to go) –  SVG pits for a top up of fuel, perhaps wisely so as he loses no track position by doing so. It should take him to the end of the race.

  

4:14pm (1hrs31 to go) – Shane Davies answers SVG’s prayers by suffering not just a tyre failure, but a tyre catastrophe. His right rear explodes in a shower of bodywork, and the safety car is back out to bring the leading drivers back together.

 

4:10pm (1hr35 to go) – As the leaders start to fall into fuel economy mode, Steven Richards tells us that the M6 GT3 may be at the Bathurst 12 Hour next year. It’s a seriously mean car.
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4:04 (1hr40 to go) – as SVG starts pumping out flying laps, Spares Box business analyst Big John is running around the office in a rush, putting on coconut scented sunblock. The reason? He’s off to Laneway Festival at the last minute. Psh, some people just don’t know how to have fun when it’s staring them in the face. We’ll see how he feels tomorrow morning.

 

4:00pm (1hr45 to go) – SVG takes his penalty, and stays on the lead lap. A safety car will put him well and truly back in it, but you’d expect some ferocious pushing either way. 250 laps down.

 

3:52pm (1hr53 to go) – BLACK FLAG – A massive black flag, as Shane Van Gisbergen gets pulled up for speeding in the pit lane. That will basically put him a lap behind, and make his day a lot worse. Here’s a quick timing update. Note that the Erebus and Tekno cars essentially have a pit stop in hand.

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3:45pm (2hrs to go) – As the clock literally ticks over to 2:00:00 remaining, Van Gisbergen pulls out of the pits. The driver change was about 10secs slower than expected. Could that be costly? Stay tuned to find out. Chiyo-san takes the lead in his GT-R and the final stint is now properly underway.

 

3:37 (2hr08 to go) – GREEN FLAG – We’re back racing again, and Chiyo heads off road to overtake Laurens Vanthoor. Things don’t get much more fearless than that.

 

3:28pm (2h17 to go) – Laurens Vanthoor hops in the Phoenix Audi to bring ‘er home. Will it be in first? Who knows. Is it the best looking car in the field? That question also probably can’t be answered. Channel 7 segways out to an Ad break, and we’re left with no ad break. I’m surprised it’s taken this long for that to happen. Katsumasa Chiyo also jumps into the NISMO GT-R for the final stint. It’s gonna be Chiyo, SVG, Vanthoor for the finish. Tasty.

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3:19pm (2h26 to go) – SAFETY CAR – 3 minutes is all it took, as a Porsche hits the wall seriously heavily. Twice. Hopefully he’s okay. Safety car is back out as the stricken Carrera lays to the side of the track and the medical team attends to him.

 

3:16pm (2h29 to go) – GREEN FLAG – “We have a lot to offer here”, says the Member for Bathurst as a Bentley is shown driving past with half it’s front wing missing. The race restarts and David Reynolds immediately attacks Matt Bell to reclaim his status on the lead lap.

 

3:05pm (2hr 40 to go) – A colleague comes up to me as a Caltex ad comes up. In the ad, a lady turns the car after filling up with soem vortex, and you see a number of high performance engines start at the same time. He remarks that it’s the same sensation Golf GTi drivers think they’re getting every time they turn the wheel. I laugh.

 

2:59pm (2hr46 to go) – David Reynolds finally passes Florian Strauss as it seeks to unlap itself. Matt Bell creeps ahead while the Nissan focuses on defending against the Mercedes.

 

2:54pm (2hr51 to go) – GREEN FLAG – I take a quick bathroom break while the safety car is out, and come back to find that no one has crashed. Much better luck than this morning. The Bentley of Matt Bell leads from Florian Strauss and Jonathon Webb as the race restarts.

 

2:43pm (3hr02 to go) – Austin Cindric is okay, being escorted off the track by a medical team. Thankfully he’s in a better shape than his Mercedes is.

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2:38pm (3hr06 to go) – The Bentley, GT-R and remaining Erebus SLS all pit, with driver changes and brake pad changes coming in equal measure. Everyone who pitted will still have to do a driver change though, so it will be interesting to see how these strategies will work out. Jonathon webb now leads in his Tekno McLaren as we head up to the 9 hour mark.

 

2:35pm (3hr09 to go) – SAFETY CAR – The camera flashes to a Mercedes SLS stuck very firmly into a tire wall, which will definitely bring out the safety car. The Erebus car was running 4th and being driven by Austin Cindric, but that’s another AP class car looking very much out of this race.

 

2:30 (3hr15 to go) – Frank, official Spares Box cash barbequer, was spotted getting to know the LIQUI-MOLY girls earlier this week. Cheeky devil.

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2:24 (3hr20 to go) – Thomas Jaeger pits from the lead, which means Rick Kelly takes the lead. The Erebus Mercedes has a little trouble with the classic gullwing doors, er, falling off, but they lose no time. The Penrite car comes out behind the Phoenix Audi and we’re back to pretty much where we were a couple of hours ago.

 

2:15pm (3hr30 to go) – Winkelhock comes in, and a fresh set of Michelins go on the Phoenix Racing Audi which should carry them to the end.

 

2:11pm (3hr34 to go) – It’s now been almost a 3 hour stint for Markus Winkelhock, as Channel 7 reports that the Phoenix Racing Audi may try and go for a 2 stop strategy to bring the car home in 1st. Because when has an extra pit stop up your sleeve ever been not handy?

 

1:54pm (3hrs51 to go) – Ever wondered how steep the Big Dipper really is? Well here you go. The McLaren and Nissan are still duking it out across the mountain with the Bentley hanging in there as well. It’s shaping up to be a 5 horse race to the end, with 5 different manufacturers involved.

Image: Reddit /u/Floodman11

 

1:50 (3hrs55 to go) – GREEN FLAG – Parente immediately attacks Kelly in the Nissan with the Bentley close behind. Kelly eventually pulls past Garth Tander in his Audi R8, clearing up the field for them to duke it out without any traffic. Bumper to bumper stuff.

 

1:40pm (4hr05 to go) – All 3 leading cars come into the pits, and a typically efficient pitstop puts the NISMO GT-R out ahead of the Tekno McLaren and the Bentley. Winklehock leads in the Phoenix racing Audi, and Jaeger is second in the Erebus Mercedes, but they’re still yet to pit.

 

1:37pm (4hr08 to go) – SAFETY CAR – And there it is! The leading MARC Focus goes off at Meguiars corner and beaches itself in the gravel. The safety car will be coming out while they retrieve it. The driver was Aaron Seton, son of famous V8 driver Glenn.

 

1:34pm (4hr11 to go) – Maro Engel puts in an another amazing effort to work his Mercedes back onto the lead lap. If only the safety car would come back out, hmmmm…?

 

1:29pm (4hr16 to go) – Thrills and spills galore. As the Tekno McLaren attempts to battle its way back past the lapped Mercedes of Erebus Motorsport, I open a beer and it proceeds to spew half of it’s contents onto the desk around me. Lovely.

 

1:20pm (4hr24 to go) – GREEN FLAG – 23 and sunny over at Bathurst, as 37,000 people are laced around the track to watch the action. Kudos to them! The Bentley and the McLaren are side by side heading up the mountain after the restart. Amazing racing to watch.

 

1:10pm (4hr 35 to go) – Laurens Vanthoor bemoaning the performance of the Audis along the straights, where he’s saying they’re losing 10km/h to the competition. Not really something you want at a track like Bathurst. Meanwhile, lunch time, Chicken rolls and Nacho Cheese Doritos. I can definitely live with these working conditions.

 

1:02pm (4hr43 to go) – SAFETY CAR – A full course yellow is waved as one of the MARC Ford Focus’ meets the wall. The Erebus Mercedes pits from the lead, and Guy Smith takes first place behind the safety car.

 

12:56pm (4hr48 to go): Bentley are getting Andy Soucek’s front wing ready after putting off their pitstop for possibly the longest time in history. Meanwhile the top 3 of Thomas Jaeger, Guy Smith and Alvaro Parente are separated by about 2 seconds as they cross the mountain on lap 181. This is gonna be close.

 

12:47pm (4hr57 to go) – GREEN FLAG – We’re back racing again, and the Bentley of Andy Soucek immediately begins falling apart once more. It’s front fender falls off ahead of Guy Smith and Alvaro Parente battling for second, and Parente displays some incredible reflexes to avoid it along Conrod. Amazing!

 

12:41pm (5hr03 to go) – Fox Sports claiming they’d rather spend $50 on something else other than Sauna rocks. Clearly they have no idea about the health benefits associated with a Sauna. Anyway, the NISMO GT-R pits from the lead for a top up.

 

12:33pm (5hr12 to go) – “Dad’s mate just put his R8 into the wall” says someone popping up on my Facebook messages. “Spewin.” Meanwhile the Darrell Lea McLaren gets spun around by a rival Lamborghini, tries to turn around and beaches itself on the opposite curb in the process. Once again, “Spewin.”

No one is safe today, as the Safety car comes out again.

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12:23pm (5hr22 to go) – Katsumasa Chiyo gets interviewed after 2 hours in a race car, and seems like possibly the nicest human being in history. His team mate Rick Kelly leads on track by about 10 seconds heading into lapped traffic, After the Darrell Lea Mclaren pits. They’re now 5th.

 

12:13pm (5hr31 to go) – Alvaro Parente is held up from properly starting his first stint due to a delayed pit stop while they change his brake pads. The McLaren of Darrell Lea Racing has survived through the incredible misfortunes suffered by surrounding it and finds itself in 2nd place. Thomas Jaeger sits in 3rd ina  great day for Erebus Motorsport while Guy Smith is 4th in his Bentley.

 

12:06pm (5hr38 to go) – CRASH – A big lap, as Jonathan Webb takes back his 2nd place spot from the Bentley, and the Audi R8 in running in the AA class crashes in front of them at the Ironically named Audi Corner. Katsumasa Chiyo takes the chance to end his stint after 2 hours of immense driving, while Tekno and Erebus also pit their cars. Safety car is due out, and so is Rick Kelly.

Image: Channel 7
Image: Channel 7

 

11:58am (5hr46 to go) – “Are the Bentley’s out? asks a colleague. Nope! They’re still out there, and they’re falling apart. David Russell sits in 11th with half of it’s front end hanging off, while Steven Kane is still running 3rd. Told you that race tape wouldn’t hold. Mechanical black flag for the #31 Bentley.

 

11:52am (5hr52 to go) – The Vicious Rumour Ferrari rips its rear spoiler out after smacking the rear wall at the final corner.

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11:46am (5hr59 to go) – “I always forget the Nordschliefe. It’s too long.” Says David Reynolds just seconds after declaring his intentions to put himself in the mix for more drives overseas. Probably not the best way to secure that race seat mate. We’re at the halfway mark, and our man on the ground has informed me that his mate’s Mk IV Golf has broken down again. Looks like that’s his day over.

 

11:37am (6hr08 to go) – It could be time for the second coffee of the day, as my own 12 hour stint of blogging and tweeting nearly enters the half way point. Meanwhile, Rick Kelly low-key brags about the comfortable conditions in his NISMO GT-R, while other drivers suffer in brutal heat. That’s just cruel.

 

11:27am (6hr17 to go) – GREEN FLAG – We’re back underway, while viewers in South Australia fervently stand by to switch to Channel 7. Markus Winklehock flashes his lights at the McLaren ahead to allow him to unlap himself, and then has lights flashed at him by the Bentley that’s actually racing the McLaren. Irony.

 

11:20am (6hr25 to go) – Amazing scenes as a Bentley engineer is shown sledgehammering the Bentley’s front end back into place. 5 years of engineering school, and still sometimes you just have to hit it with a hammer. Simple.

 

11:14am (6hr30 to go) – SAFETY CAR AND A LEAD CHANCE – Mt Panorama has more stricken souls on it than Everest, as the safety car comes out while they retrieve that exceptionally pretty Martini-liveried Mercedes. Such a shame. Jonathan Webb takes the lead in the Mclaren while Chiyo stops to refuel in the Nissan.

 

11:09am (6hr35 to go) – The Bentley heads back out on track, and by sheer luck avoids being lapped by the Nissan. Why they didn’t tape up the bodywork has befuddled basically everyone, and it’s smoking like hell out there. They’ve lost another tyre, and it’s back to the pits for David Russell. He must be fuming.

 

11:05am (6hr40 to go) –  The Mishumotors Mercedes SLS is out AND the Bentley has also come into grief, embedding it’s front headlight basically into its own tyre. The safety car is looking like it could be heading out. Did they come together? More importantly, will any of the AM-Pro class actually be left at the end of the day? My giddy aunt, what drama.

 

11:02am (6hr 43 to go) – Cheeky plug, we’re also running an amazing deal to mark today’s race. Enter the code MTPANO over at Spares Box to get $25 off any order over $150.

 

10:53am (6hr48 to go) – Sayonara to the 458, hello to the 488. If you haven’t seen the look of the new 488 Le Mans car, go check it out. It’s simply amazing. I’ve also been told that Caltex have donated 30,000 litres of fuel to the race this year, absolutely free. If they can afford to do that, no wonder they can keep fuel prices below a dollar.

 

10:40am (7hr05 to go) – General consensus from the colleagues around the office is that the Bentley is the best looking car on the grid. No bias though. What’s your favourite?

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10:25am (7hr20 to go) – Quick update so I’m doing my actual job, Chiyo took the lead while I was gone, overtaking the Bentley of David Russell. Tekno and Erebus autosport are 3rd and 4th in their Mclaren and Mercedes respectively, and the other Bentley is in 5th. Meanwhile, there’s a dog running around the office, causing all kinds of havoc. Back to business!

 

10:20am (7hr23 to go) – We’re back! Now with triple screen action for triple the blogging power. The commute threw up a lowlight – a matte black Nissan 350gt with the front end of a GT-R bolted onto it. Depressing stuff. You also have no idea how slow a Susuki Swift feels after watching a McLaren scream around Mt. Panorama for 4 hours. As I sit down, Steven Kane’s Bentley smacks the wall and blows out a tyre.

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9:40am (8hr04 to go) –  I come downstairs, get ready to head out, find Alvaro Parente is stopped on the track, and curse my existence. I didn’t miss it everyone! Nonetheless, Parente gets things rebooted, and loses 45 seconds in the process. Tekno looking understandably nervy.

 

9:28am (8hr17 to go) – Parente pits, and I will as well! Taking advantage of what could be a small lapse in the action to have a shower and head into the office. See you all in an hour or so! Stay tuned to the race through the live timing at the Bathurst 12 Hour official website!

 

9:24am (8hr21 to go) – Parente is now 43 seconds ahead of the pack out in 1st. If they were any more dominant, they’d have already won.

 

9:19am (8hr25 to go) – Florian Strauss has his lap seat belt unbuckled, in what could either be an unfortunate accident or a flagrant disregard for personal safety. He then slides his Nissan, and the world holds it’s breath. Okay, maybe that might be a little dramatic.

 

9:14am (8hr31 to go) – The endless circle of life completes itself, as Tekno Autosport takes the lead again. Portugal celebrates, or at least I presume. Parente then proceeds to set a 2.01.674, the 2nd fastest lap ever on this track. Way to stamp your authority Alvaro.

 

9:10am (8hr35) – Two big events! Matthew Bell leap frogs the Nissan after their round of pitstops, and our first ever Spares Box TV ad airs! This is exciting stuff!

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9:06am (8hr39 to go) – a very warm welcome to all our friends over at Reddit /r/WEC, possibly one of the world’s friendliest motorsport communities. Great to have you all! Our man on the ground informs me that he has his friend’s car started too.

 

9:01am (8hr43 to go) – LEAD CHANGE – Godzilla goes ahead again as the leading Bentley pits.

 

8:57am (8hr47 to go) – BREAKDOWN – The number 16 Porsche goes sideways after being touched by the Bentley, and somehow avoids touching anything. Meanwhile our man on the ground in Bathurst has informed me that his mate has left his accessories on overnight, and now they’re trying to jumpstart his car. Stay tuned, and we’ll keep you updated as the situation progresses.

 

8:55am (9:50 to go) – The battle for 3rd is hotting up, as the Erebus Mercedes rides the rear wing of Matthew Bell’s Bentley. Nissan also come out with some amazing pictures as we pass the 3 hour mark. Show offs.

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8:43am (9hr02 to go) – NEW LEADER – Bentley becomes the 7th leader of the race so far, taking the lead down the Caltex chase after looking seriously impressive bearing down on the Nissan for the last couple of laps.

 

8:38am (9hr07 to go) – Bacon sandwiches and coffee are in order now, as the remaining JAMEC Pem Audi runs wide again going along the top of the mountain. If you haven’t eaten yet like myself, might be a good time to get some nourishment into you. Godzilla still leads under the control of Florian Strauss.

 

8:30am (9hr14 to go) – Well that didn’t last long. Andy Soucek in the Bentley Continental gets past the Erebus SLS to race into second. The top 3 cars are now within a second and a half of eachother.

 

8:28am (9hr16 to go) – While 7mate treats us to possibly the world’s most unappealing ad for Milky Feet foot exfoliating socks, the #36 Mercedes of Erebus Motorsport goes 2nd. Meanwhile, JAMEC Pem racing have confirmed that the #74 Audi won’t be heading back out.

 

8:21am (9:23 to go) – It looks like Shane Van Gisbergen is FINALLY ready to pit. Come on lad, give someone else a go. Meanwhile, McLaren have released pictures of what his McLaren looks like without any of the decals on, and my giddy Aunt, what a car. Nissan takes the lead as Alvaro Parente takes to the wheel for Tekno Autosport.

Image: McLaren
Image: McLaren

 

8:16am (9hr29 to go) –  The second JAMEC Pem Audi has now come into strife! Looks like it was touched and boom! It’s suddenly down to 3 tyres. This is probably half a dozen race win contenders that have now been taken out in the first 2 and a half. This isn’t F1 lads, keep it together.

 

8:11 (9hr33 to go) – A Porsche and a Ford come together! #69 and #54 turn each other around at Forest Elbow, and that’s the end of things for the Focus as it somehow finds it within itself to burst into flames.

 

8:04am (9hr41 to go) – The traffic is starting to thin out now as the two Bentleys take up 5th and 6th. 2nd and 6th are separated by just a few seconds! Rick Kelly is 2nd in the Nissan, because let’s face it they were always going to be there eventually.

 

7:59am (9hr45 to go) – GREEN FLAG –  The track is insanely busy as racing gets underway again. Everyone getting back into formation now.

 

7:51am (9hr54 to go) – SAFETY CAR – The double yellows wave after the misfortune of the McLaren, as Warren Luff sits in his stricken McLaren contemplating his will to live. Van Gisbergen now leads the Bentley as the cars come together under the Safety Car.

 

7:45am (10hr00 to go) they’re dropping like flies out there! The #74 Jamec Pem Audi heads to the pits after a tyre let go coming into Conrod Straight. The Audi has some extensive damage to it’s rear right.

 

7:44am (10hr01 to go) – CAR OUT – OH NELLY. Warren Luff hits the wall in the objective McLaren and begins a looooooong limp down the mountain, but doesn’t get very far whatsoever. We now have one McLaren out.

 

7:32am (10hr12 to go) – TV’s very own Grant Denyer gets in the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari to begin his first stint! Van Gisbergen enjoys about a 2 second lead over his rival McLaren and is now over 17 secs ahead of the Bentley.

 

7:17am (10hr27 to go) – After the set of pitstops it’s a McLaren 1-2, while the Bentley rounds out the podium places. The Erebus Mercedes settles into 5th after surely one of the craziest 90 minutes in that teams history!

 

7:11AM (10hr35 to go) – Everyone is pitting! Engel, Rick Kelly in his GT-R, the two Jamec Pem Audis, and the lead is almost swapping faster than we can catch up! Almost ????

 

6:58AM (10hr45 to go) – We could have a very tasty British-German battle shaping up, as Engel finds traffic in his Mercedes allowing the Objective Racing Mclaren to bear down on him.

 

6:50AM (10hr57 to go) – Shane Van Gisbergen’s best lap, a 2.01.567, is the fastest lap ever put down under race conditions at Mt. Panorama. Bathurst has literally never seen this kind of speed in a race before!

 

6:35AM (11hr10 to go) – Well, hats off to Maro Engel. He started the race in 11th, and now after less than an hour has the Erebus Mercedes up to 2nd place behind Van Gisbergen. Unbelievable driving and simply immense pace.

 

6:22AM (11hr23 to go) – SAFETY CAR – The safety car is set to get it’s first run of the day, as the #94 BMW in the invitational class suffers a tyre failure and careens off at The Chase.

 

5:47AM (11hr58 to go) – The top 3 remain unchanged after the first lap.

 

5:45AM (12hr00 to go) – GREEN FLAG! A rolling start gets us underway and by the time we get around the second corner, Salo is already off! The #88 comes into strife as the cars head up the mountain.

 

5:12AM – We’re already getting some grainy images from our man on the ground over at Bathurst. It is dark though and I’m still in bed, so I have to give him credit where credit’s due.

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4:45AM – Shane Van Gisbergen will start the race on pole after setting a blistering 2.01.286 – the fastest ever lap set on the mountain. It’s probably good to note that this isn’t taking into account that time Jenson Button went around in his F1 car and gave everyone an uncomfortable sense of perspective.

 

4:30AM – Good morning motorsport fans! We’re already up and about as 12 Hrs of racing is set to take off at Mt. Panorama. I’m still very much in my bed I must confess, but nonetheless I’ll be with you for the next 12 hours for all the thrills, all the spills and what could turn out to be some of the fastest ever racing we see at Bathurst!