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McLaren wins 2016 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 hour

The 2016 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 hour has been run and won by the McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Shan VAn Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente, and Jonathon Webb.

MCLAREN HAS WON the 2016 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 hour race with the McLaren 650S GT3 of customer team, Tekno Autosports starting from pole and finishing first. While four McLarens started the race from top 10 positions, the second-best McLaren finished in 9th. Others despite being competitive at various times throughout the 12 hours, either sustained damage or were unable to finish the race.

The Bathurst 1000 might well be the toughest touring car race in the world, and now it would seem Mount Panorama is proving to be just as tough for GT3 endurance racers. 

“On its debut outing at the iconic Mount Panorama, the 650S GT3 claimed the clean sweep over the course of the weekend with pole position, fastest lap, overall race win and a new lap record. The trio of Alvaro Parente, Shane Van Gisbergen and Jonathon Webb triumphed in the battle of strategies which saw five different manufacturers lead the race over the 12 hours,” McLaren said.

Jonathon Webb, Team Owner, Tekno Autosports said: ‘Winners of the Bathurst 12 Hour – that is something that will take a little while to sink in. It is a great result for McLaren and massive for Tekno, especially as it was our debut outing together. We faced some real challenges over the course of the weekend, but we pulled together and I am really proud of the guys who have worked faultlessly to achieve this result. Any endurance race is a true challenge, and it is not an easy race to win first time out – you just have to look at the quality of the competition and how close the racing was from the first to the last minute.’

Van Gisbergen opened up a strong lead in his opening stint, setting a new official course lap record of 2m 01.567s – beating his qualifying lap record. Factory driver Parente and Tekno team owner Webb both ran consistently quick laps as the temperature increased, with Parente’s best less than 2/10th off SVG’s record.

An electrical systems reset briefly brought the sprint to the flag to a halt on the start / finish straight, but the car was quickly back up and running. The second stint by Parente saw the Portuguese driver in the slipstream of the podium positions, and Webb maintained position before handing over to Van Gisbergen in P4 for the final stint.

As the clock reached 12 hours, Van Gisbergen managed the gap to the chasing pack without taking any risks, crossing the line with a winning margin of 1.276 seconds.

All four of the 650S GT3s were in contention at various points, with the #60 car of Bell, Davison and Watson running P3 before the charge was brought to an unforced end after sustaining damage when one of the chasing pack misjudged an overtaking manoeuvre. The damage was quickly repaired by the Tekno Autosport pitcrew, and despite losing four laps to the leaders, the team managed to recover to finish P9 overall.

Of the other McLaren cars, “The two 650S GT3 Pro-Am entries both led the highly competitive class with Objective Racing pushing for the overall race lead with the #11 car as the sun rose over the mountain. Contact with the barrier brought an early end to the team’s race in but not before showing the true potential of a well set up car around the 6.213km circuit. The Darrell Lea / Keltic Racing #37 650S GT3 also proved itself to be a contender for the overall podium, running as high as second. With experience of the track and racing a McLaren at the Bathurst 12 Hour previously, the trio of father and son Tony and Klark Quinn alongside Craig Baird ran a clean race and bold strategy to build a four lap advantage in the Pro-Am class before an unforced error pushed the car off track and unable to rejoin”.

Andrew Kirkaldy, Managing Director, McLaren GT said: ‘A hugely positive result for all our customer teams here, and a great result for McLaren. A huge congratulations has to go to the Tekno team and each of the drivers for achieving the clean sweep of pole, fastest lap and the race win. On top of that, the official race lap record and the distance record with 297 laps completed, so not a bad first outing for the 650S GT3 and for the first event with Tekno and McLaren GT working together. 

It was a great performance by each of the four cars and the drivers involved, and there were points where it looked like each of them was in with a chance of winning the race. Luff [Objective Racing] and Quinn [Darrell Lea] were both leading the Pro-Am category when they were forced to retire, and the recovery and race pace of the second Tekno car was clear to see. On another day, who knows what could have happened.’

Did you watch the race? More exciting than V8 Supercars?

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Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober