Shane van Gisbergen’s winning McLaren 650S GT3 dives into The Esses during its victorious run on 6/7 February 2016…
The McLaren won the Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race held at the classic Mount Panorama circuit last weekend from the Chiyo/Kelly/Strauss Nissan GT-R GT3 and Bell/Karel/Smith Bentley Continental GT3. The McLaren won the race by 1.2 seconds, the Nissan the 2015 defending champion.
The event was first held in 1991 and has evolved from a competition between ‘Series Production’ cars to an international race comprising GT3 (Class A) GT3 Porsche Cup Cars (Class B) GT4 (Class C) and Invitational. This year the race was the first round of the ‘Intercontinental GT Challenge’ which includes the Sepang 12 Hours and Spa 24 Hours and is sanctioned/organised by the Stephane Patel Organisation.
37000 punters drove to Bathurst, a magnificent 1850’s ‘Gold Rush’ era town in NSW’s Central Tablelands 200 Km from Sydney (the October V8 Supercar Classic achieves 200000 folks over 4 days) to see an interesting variety of cars race from Saturday evening to Sunday morning.
The field included a strong entry of V8 Supercar drivers and Internationals including Marcus Winkelhock, Guy Smith and ex-F1 drivers Mika Salo, Bernd Schneider and Andrea Montermini.
The lead of the race changed over 30 times, the winning McLaren prevailed despite 13 pitstops and a drive-thru penalty. The variety of the field is reinforced by the 4th placed Audi R8 LMS and 5th placed Mercedes SLS AMG GT3; five marques in the first five places.
Time to go and see this race!
Daniel Kalisz, Getty Images