Notes, quotes, records and everything else you need to know about the 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. in our Bathurst notebook

➤  The #7 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3 completed the 12-hour race in 314 laps for a total of 1,950.882 kilometres. This beats last year’s record of 312 laps, largely due to a record-breaking green flag period halfway through the race. Bentley’s race time was clocked at 12:00:33.871, averaging 162.497 kilometres per hour.


➤  Jordan Pepper started the #7 Bentley from 11th on the grid, the lowest starting position in the history of the Bathurst 12 Hour for a winner to have come from.

➤  Bentley made its Bathurst debut in 2015. The British brand has been a contender in every edition since but 2018, scoring two third places in 2016 and 2017 before winning in 2020.

➤  Although Raffaele Marciello crossed the finish line in second, the #999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing was demoted to sixth as the result of a time penalty for keeping the engine running during the car’s last pitstop to replace a flat tyre. This gave Bentley a handsome victory margin of 41.5239 seconds to the second-placed #60 59Racing McLaren 720S GT3, and sent the #888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Maximilian Götz, Shane van Gisbergen and Jamie Whincup to the podium in third.

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➤  Silver Cup honours went the way of the #59 59Racing McLaren 720S GT3 raced by Fraser Ross, Dominic Storey and Martin Kodrić who finished eighth overall. Kodrić’ high-paced final stint ensured that the #46 Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3 couldn’t get near the McLaren.

➤  Ben Barker brought the #4 Team Australia Grove Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R home in tenth place overall, securing the win in the Pro-Am class for Barker and father and son co-drivers Stephen and Brenton Grove. The Porsche team took over the lead after drivetrain problems hit the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the second half of the race.

➤  In the Invitational Class the #91 Scania Racing by Racer Industries MARC II Ford Mustang V8 of Nick Percat, Broc Feeney and Aaron Cameron took an unopposed win as their two competitors ran into trouble early on. The Aussie-built machine finished 15th overall.

➤  The two-car GT4 class saw the #13 RHC Jorgensen-Strom BMW M4 GT4 take the win in 22nd position overall. The Daren Jorgensen, Brett Strom and Danny van Dongen-driven M4 finished seven laps ahead of the #19 Nineteen Corp Mercedes-AMG GT4.

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➤  Second place finisher 59Racing can be considered a brand-new team. The Melbourne-based team was established in 2019, taking its name from McLaren’s 1995 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning McLaren F1 GTR that carried starting number 59. In its maiden season the team competed a McLaren 720S GT3 alongside a 570S GT4 in the Australian GT Championship winning multiple races with both cars including the McLaren 720S GT3’s first-ever race win at the Australian Grand Prix at the hands of Fraser Ross. For 2020 the team is expected to return with a similar program and increased focus on young drivers.

➤  McLaren’s second place was the brand’s first podium finish since Tekno Autosports claimed victory in 2016 – Álvaro Parente was part of the line-up four years ago as well. Equally, the #59 McLaren’s Silver Cup win was McLaren’s first class win since 2016.

➤  Click HERE for the full race results.

➤  Alongside points for the Intercontinental GT Challenge, points were awarded for the Australian Endurance Championship as well, the latter for the first time. With the Australian Endurance Championship being a strictly Pro-Am championship, entries from all classes except Pro were accepted. 12 teams picked up the challenge with the winners in each class being: #59Racing McLaren 720S GT3 (Fraser Ross/Dominic Storey/Martin Kodrić*) in Silver Cup, #9 Hallmarc Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 (Marc Cini/Dean Fiore/Lee Holdsworth) in Pro-Am, #91 Scandia Racing by Racer Industries MARC II Ford Mustang V8 (Aaron Cameron/Broc Feeney/Nick Percat) in the Invitational Class, and #13 RHC Jorgensen-Strom BMW M4 GT4 (Daren Jorgensen/Brett Strom/Danny van Dongen*) in GT4. *International drivers are not eligible to score points in Australian GT.

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➤  The highest recorded temperature during all three days of track action was 39 degrees Celsius on Friday and Saturday afternoon. Race day was slightly less hot, with the maximum temperature reaching 37. Even on the grid with the sun still under the horizon the thermometer stood at 27 degrees.

➤  A coming rainstorm was set to shake things up, but that storm only arrived when the chequered flag was waved. The rain set in as Jules Gounon crossed the finish line and became a proper downpour shortly after. Strong winds preceded the storm, becoming an issue for the teams as it blew debris onto the track resulting in punctures.

➤  Mount Panorama’s tight, sweeping track took out five cars in practice and qualifying. KCMG’s #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 was the first car to retire before the race even began, the two-car team packing up its heavily damaged #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 after a crash by Josh Burdon in the first practice session. On Saturday four more cars abandoned the race weekend, including the sole Ferrari entry for the Intercontinental GT Challenge: the #27 HubAuto Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 suffered a crash in the final practice session on Saturday morning. The #777 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3, #92 Scandia Racing by Racer Industries Ford Mustang MARC II V8 and #62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 all followed in the qualifying sessions. Sam Shahin, who was involved in the accident in qualifying driving the #777 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG GT3 and got out of the car on his own power, later reported to have suffered two crushed vertebrae, a neck injury, and a broken rib and fingers. Two teams got lucky as they were able to repair their badly damaged cars: Bentley Team M-Sport brought the #8 Continental GT3 back to live after Oliver Jarvis went straight at The Chase and hit the tyre barrier due to a brake failure, while the Trofeo Motorsport crew worked all throughout the night to repair the #29 Lamborghini Huracán GT3 and managed to get the car out of the pits and onto the grid minutes before the pit lane closed. Bentley eventually had to retire its #8 machine after 225 laps after a puncture sent Jarvis spinning around at The Dipper, but the Trofeo Lambo raced by Dean Canto, Grant Denyer, Liam Talbot and Marcel Zalloua soldiered on to finish 19th overall and fourth in the Silver Cup class. 

➤  Race day saw three more cars retire due to crashes: Côme Ledogar was the first victim of the race when he crashed his #188 Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 in the Esses. The #6 Wall Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Jules Westwood and #22 Audi Sport Team Valvoline Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by Garth Tander followed shortly after. 

➤  At 4 hours and 10 minutes the 2020 race saw the longest consecutive green-flag racing in the history of the 12 Hour. 

➤  Ben Barnicoat (#60 59Racing McLaren 720S GT3) took the lead in the first hour with a late passing manoeuvre at The Chase where he kissed the back of Maximilian Buhk’s Mercedes-AMG: It was a brand-new team at the start of 2019 and they ran one car in Aus GT so to have a two car effort with these resources was phenomenal.

Immediately I could feel the car was quick, I was able to get past Patrick Pilet, caught Maxi [Buhk], I saw my chance, took it and it came close but I got it right. Thats what we get paid for not when you get it wrong!

The pace was very good, we mixed up the strategy a bit compared to what we were thinking but in the end it all worked out.

➤  Race winner Jules Gounon (#7 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental GT3) brought his car to the finish in a nail-biting ending that saw cars suffer punctures all across the field, including Gounon’s in the final hour: “It was an amazing race. Obviously after yesterday I never thought we’d have the pace to win the race but I think the track came to us towards the end of the race, the track rubbered up.

“It was really, really tense at the end because I had a puncture before the last stint so the team was really scared after the puncture of Marciello. It was a matter of trying to keep the car away from the kerbs, the debris, so it was tense still; not flat out but trying to manage the problem.

“It’s amazing for us, amazing for M-Sport, I think the new car showed potential last year and we’ve never had a big win except Paul Ricard, so it’s a big one for us.”

➤  R-Motorsport team boss Dr. Florian Kamelger brought out the big guns for the Bathurst 12 Hour, entering a Castrol Australia-sponsored Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 for Jake Dennis, Scott Dixon and Rick Kelly, and a second car for Olli Caldwell, Luca Ghiotto and Marvin Kirchhöfer. The #62 of Caldwell, Ghiotto and Kirchhöfer didn’t start as a result of a violent crash in qualifying, while the #72 Castol car struggled for pace: Of course, we would love to have achieved a much better result than 16th place for the hard-working guys in our team, especially as we at R-Motorsport were well-prepared and had a top-class crew of drivers. However, you have to take the rough with the smooth in motor racing, and we had to deal with quite a few setbacks.

The Australian fans here at Bathurst were impressive, as always, and their enthusiasm was a delight to behold once again. We intend to return next year to compete on the mountain and will do everything in our power to put on a great show for the fans and achieve an excellent result.

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➤  Rick Kelly (#76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3) made his first Bathurst 12 Hour start in four years, returning with R-Motorsport following his second place in 2016 with the Nissan works team racing the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3: This is something I wont forget! Very grateful for the opportunity, and although the end result wasnt what we wanted, I still enjoyed the challenge. Thanks to the team at R-Motorsport for having me, and to Castrol and BP for making us look the goods!

It was awesome to watch Scott Dixon take on the challenge of learning a new car and track like he did, and also great to watch Jake Dennis do his thing in qualy and thanks for your help bringing us up to speed through the weekend. Lets do it again sometime.

  Brenton Grove (#4 Team Australia Grove Racing Porsche 991.2 GT3R) continued his winning streak at Bathurst 12 Hour in his GT3 debut on Mount Panorama with a Porsche 991.2 GT3R run by family-owned Grove Racing with technical support from Porsche specialist Herberth Motorsport: “It was such a hard race, it was so hot and it eventually got to a point where the cooling system wasn’t blowing cold air anymore because the ambient and cabin temperatures were so high. The pace was so quick and we didn’t make any mistakes all day; the boys did a flawless job in the car and in the garage as well and the strategy was probably the determining factor. Stoked with the result and I can’t thank the team enough.”

➤  We have a full gallery of over 100 photos up in our Bathurst 12 Hour gallery. CHECK IT OUT.

  The next round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge takes place in half a year with the Total Spa 24 Hours. For Australian GT, the next race is held in two weeks at Sandown Raceway as part of the Australian GT Trophy Series for older-spec GT3s. The Australian Endurance Championship, of which the Bathurst 12 Hour is now part, resumes on 22 March at Phillip Island.

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