McLaren GT has kicked off the 2016 racing season with a major win at the world renown mountain race, the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. Tekno Autosport claimed the overall win with the #59 McLaren 650S GT3 piloted by Shane van Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente and Jonathan Webb.
NISMO claimed second, 1.2 seconds later with the #1 Nissan GT-R GT3 of Katsumasa Chiyo while Bentley Team M-Sport rounded off the top three with a strong P3 finish in the #10 Bentley Continental GT3 of Bentley Boys Steven Kane, Guy Smith and Matt Bell.
2016 Bathurst 12 Hour Results
|1. McLaren 650S GT3 (#59)||Tekno Autosport||AP|
|2. Nissan GT-R GT3 (#1)||NISMO||AP|
|3. Bentley Continental GT3 (#10)||Bentley Team M-Sport||AP|
|4. Audi R8 LMS (#2)||Phoenix Racing||AP|
|5. Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 (#36)||Erebus Motorsport||AP|
|6. Audi R8 LMS (#5)||GT Motorsport||AA|
|7. Bentley Continental GT3 (#31)||Bentley Team M-Sport||AP|
|8. Audi R8 LMS (#75)||Jamec Pem||AP|
|9. McLaren 650S GT3 (#60)||Tekno Autosport||AP|
|10. Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX (#32)||JBS Australia||AA|
The #59 McLaren started the race from pole, leading the #75 Audi R8 LMS and another McLaren 650S GT3 – a total of four McLaren 650S GT3s qualified in the top ten. The race was however very dynamic and witnessed incredible 29 lead changes, out of the the 37 race starters, only 21 cars made it to the finish.
Most importantly, the top five had 5 different manufacturers who managed to swap positions from time to time throughout the race. Besides McLaren, Nissan and Bentley, Audi finished fourth with the help of Phoenix Racing while Mercedes-Benz crossed the finish line in fifth place courtesy of Erebus Motorsport with the #36 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. The team also displayed the new Mercedes-AMG GT3 at the racetrack.
There were 13 safety car periods in the race including that of the Erebus Motorsport #63 SLS AMG GT3 on the tenth hour, where the #10 Bentley was leading the race away from the #1 Nissan GT-R. With two hours left on the clock, Webb was leading the race in the #59 McLaren away from Chiyo’s Nissan who had managed to overtake Laurens Vanthoor in the #2 Audi R8 LMS.
Webb pitted and handed the McLaren over to Gisbergen, the Nissan had taken the lead with the #2 Audi in second and the Bentley in third. Suddenly, the #59 McLaren was slammed with a penalty for speeding in the pitlane, Gisbergen had to push even harder to keep up with the leaders, luckily, another safety car period allowed him to make a fuel stop.
Gisbergen made his final stop around the same time with the #2 Audi of Vanthoor with just 1 hour left in the race. The McLaren rejoined the race in 3rd behind the #10 Bentley, Chiyo was still leading in the GT-R.
The Bentley made its final stop with 55 minutes left, allowing Gisbergen to advance to second place, Chiyo pitted 5 minutes later and Gisbergen was back at the top. The GT-R rejoined in second place ahead of the #10 Bentley, but Chiyo was not done fighting as he was aiming for a repeat of his 2015 win. He managed to cut Gisbergen’s lead from 12 seconds to 1 second by the time the two drivers crossed the finish line. The Bentley thus claimed third ahead of Audi and Mercedes.
Elsewhere, the #4 Grove Racing Porsche won in Class B while #5 GT Motorsport Audi R8 LMS claimed the win in Class A – GT3 AM.