The inaugural TCR event in Australia got away to a great start for Jimmy Vernon as he jumped 3 within the first lap.
Melinda Price will drive for Bendigo Reto in the TCM Championship in 2020.
The team has a brand new Holden HQ currently being built by renowned builder Bendigo Retro and will be powered by the new TCM control engine.
Team principle Jacqui Carroll has had the desire to create stepping stones into the TMC category. “This deal was put together to showcase some of the fantastic female competitors, pitcrew, managers and press within the sport”. “Our goal is to recruit and coach females to then let them go on to bigger things.” Stated Carroll.
The Touring Car Master Series has great TV coverage and offers great opportunities.
“With the first piece of the puzzle now locked in with Melinda, it’s now time to start building the team around her.” Stated Carroll
We also have some fantastic advertising and partner opportunities available for the 2020 Championship.
As a tease, Melinda may be seen in the team’s backup car in 2019 if funding can be sourced.
Team Alfa’s Jimmy Vernon made gains from P2 in the darkness yesterday to finish out qualifying in position 10.
A former Commercial Manager in one of Australia’s leading Supercars teams, David Vervaart has extensive experience in the operation and development of motorsport categories, whilst also enjoying time as a circuit manager, a team manager and a driver manager.
More recently Vervaart has been involved in motorsport retail, in fleet and dealer sales for a major Australian automotive group, whilst also present on the coal-face of the development of some of Asia’s leading sportscar and GT championships.
For Australian GT category owner Jim Manolios, he sees the appointment of Vervaart is an important next step in the development and success of the CAMS-supported championship, a factor which the two parties were keen to reinforce during Vervaart’s first appointment in the role with a visit to CAMS’ Melbourne HQ.
“Looking forward from the foundations that were laid over the last seven years, it was important to take the next step in the development of Australian GT with an experienced hand at the helm,” Manolios admitted.
“CAMS shared my view in that, and were keen to meet and endorse David in the role, as we all look to re-establishing Australian GT as one of the premier categories in Australian motorsport.
“We have some big plans for the coming seasons, but we also need to work more closely with the stakeholders of Australian GT to ensure we achieve the best result that we can moving forward. The motorsport landscape is changing constantly but also becoming very splintered with the growing number of new categories emerging, however GT3 competition worldwide is on a resurgence, and with quite a number of cars already on the ground in Australia, our aim is to get them out of garages and back on track.
“For us, this new appointment signals the start of the next chapter in Australian GT, and we’re very excited about what’s ahead.”
For Vervaart, the challenge of steering Australian GT into that next chapter is an exciting prospect, one in which he believes his past experiences will play a significant role.
“Having been a part of almost every angle you can approach the sport from – I can honestly say I am better prepared than ever to assist with the growth of Australian GT, and excited by the prospect of what’s to come,” Vervaart admitted.
“Having been involved with the SRO organisation over a 20 year span, and having seen the way the category has both evolved and recently re-energised, gives me the comfort of knowing there is nothing wrong with the model, and that GT3 still remains one of the most vibrant and successful categories of motorsport worldwide.
“I have already spoken with some of the stakeholders, and over the coming weeks will make direct contact with all of them to get a better picture of what we need to do to get the championship flourishing again, and I have no doubt that it will do just that over the coming seasons with the right ideas and the right kind of communication.”
Vervaart’s first commitment was to join category owner Jim Manolios at CAMS in Melbourne to endorse his appointment, and to also continue discussions about the future of Australian GT for which more announcements are pending.
He will then take over active duty from March 25, and front his first event at Barbagallo Wanneroo Raceway for the second round of the 2019 season under lights alongside Supercars on May 4-5.
THE 2019 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour delivered sweet redemption for Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey, the BMW M3 duo powering to a record-breaking victory after being denied within sight of the flag last year.
Revenge for the pair came in dominant fashion, leading every lap en-route to a victory margin of more than one lap - though the margin belied a tense strategic battle that unfolded throughout the duration with close rivals Sherrin Racing.
Lynton, a two-time Production Car Champion, and the vastly experienced Leahey became the first combination to win from pole position as they set a new Bathurst 6 Hour race record distance of 131 laps (814 kilometres).
The race was the fastest in six-hour history and was only interrupted by three Safety Car periods throughout, the least in race history.
2018 winners Grant and Iain Sherrin finished second, the third time in four years the team has finished on the Bathurst 6 Hour podium.
A heroic charge to the line saw the Matt Holt / Nathan Callaghan / Chris Lillis HSV GTS finish third outright, only climbing to the final step on the podium in the final 10 laps as they hunted down and passed the BMW of Class B winners David and Geoff Russell. It marks the first time a V8-powered car has finished on the six-hour podium.
After being denied last year, the winning duo were relieved to finally break their six-hour hoodoo.
“Last year with 20 to go we all know what happened,” Leahey said.
“Today was a good day. We led from start to finish. From the start we had the extra pit stop, which we weren’t all that happy about, but we got away with it.
“It all worked out. The car was great. We didn’t have any mechanical issues like last year. We’ll take it and that will make my girls happy that I wasn’t there for the Easter egg hunt this morning!”
Lynton said he was thrilled to finally stand on the top step of the podium.
“Last year we built a car that we thought could win the race. In it’s first ever race it was so close so we had to come back and give it one more crack. We’ve ticked the box – it’s great.
“Even with two BoP penalties the team did a great job and it went our way. I’m really happy.”
The Sherrin Racing team’s remarkable record at Mount Panorama saw them secure second; an additional pit stop and a lack of yellow ensuring their strategy didn’t quite work again this year.
“It seems like the whole weekend has been a tough weekend for us,” Iain Sherrin said.
“Though the race, we kind of went a bit conservative with the stops and threw four tyres at it just to see what was happening, only to have the Safety Car to come out on my out lap and that basically put us a lap down straight away.
“Credit to the team and the car, I’m realty proud of the boys. We stuck at it and pulled the second place finish.
“You still want to be on the podium, it’s three out of four podiums for us at this event which is a credit to our team.”
The brave performance from the Cachet Homes HSV saw Nathan Callaghan hunt down David Russell in the closing stages: much to the elation of the privateer team.
“When I came out of the pits and saw the BMW coming up the hill – It’s nice to be able to push rather than try and stop the car breaking,” Callaghan said.
“It was fun I was happy that I could make up some ground. It was so hard racing through the traffic but I’m stoked.
“I always wanted to do this with the guys, build a car and do it on our terms and get on the Bathurst podium, and we’ve done it,” added Holt.
The combination also won the A2 class (Extreme Performance – Normally Aspirated).
Second went to the Garage 1 BMW M3 driven by Anthony Gilbertson and Andrew Mill, who finished eighth outright. Third was the Graeme Muir / Jamie Hodgson Commodore.
The father and son combination of David and Geoff Russell dominated class B, despite their car slowing in the closing stages and slipping back from a potential outright podium finish.
Scott Gore and Keith Bensley (BMW 135i) finished second in class, five laps behind but still ninth outright.
A dramatic end to the race saw the Class C lead change hands in the final six minutes, thanks to a thrilling drive by Jake Camilleri.
He gave the N-Gen Racing Hyundai team a Bathurst victory on debut as he hunted down and passed Jake Williams’ BMW within sight of the flag.
Camilleri shared the car with Alfie and Charlie Senese, while a disappointed Williams led for much of the day with co-driver Rodney Stait. Third was the second N-Gen Hyundai in a strong debut for the team.
A giant-killing performance saw Aaron Cameron, Kyle Gurton and Cooper Murray win Class D, by finishing an outstanding 13th outright in their Toyota 86.
In Class E, Andrew McMaster, David Worrell and David Noble had looked to defend their class victory, however were denied with a post-race five lap penalty. That handed the victory to the Suzuki Swift Sport of Michael Hopp and Steve Pittman.
30 of the 44 starters finished the race, while 18,045 people attended the three days of the 2019 event.
Earlier in the day the event and major sponsor HI-Tec Oils announced a four-year extension of their major partnership, taking the partnership through the 2023 race.
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour will return on the Easter Long weekend next year.
The Porsche young gun called on his years of experience with the stories German marque to take advantage of fresh tyres at the end of the race, carving his way up through those in front to take the lead with minutes to spare for his first Bathurst 12 Hour win.
His win with Dennis Olsen and Dirk Werner is under investigation due to late race contact with BMW’s Chaz Mostert but Campbell can celebrate crossing the line first after a career defining final stint.
Heading in to the final stanza of the race, the #912 was in first with #62, #999, #108, #42, #18 and #888 all chasing on the lead lap, meaning any one of them could work their way into the podium contention with strategy and a safety car.
Matt Campbell hopped aboard the #912 Earl Bamber Racing Porsche 911 on lap 279, filling the car to the end of the race with brand new tyres on both sides of the car.
With the stop, car #62 inherited the lead with Jake Dennis behind the wheel, holding a narrow two second lead over Raffaele Marciello in the #999 entry.
Oliver Jarvis was the next to pit in car #18, handing the Nissan GTR over to Alex Imperatori until the finish flag and emerging back on track behind the Campbell Porsche.
Next up was Raffaele Marciello in the #999 Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, staying in the car and taking fuel only but stalling on the exit of his pit bay. The mistake didn’t hurt him in the short term though, coming out some 20 seconds clear of Campbell.
Marciello nearly threw it all away, pushing hard on his out lap and dropping all four wheels on the grass at McPhillamy Park, lucky to not hit the wall.
Jake Dennis hit the lane on lap 285, also staying in the car and not taking tyres in the stop, making Campbell the only car so far to take new rubber. Dennis returned to the track ahead of the #999 as the #888 pitted at the same time, van Gisbergen emerging on track just behind Campbell.
On lap 287, Mostert came in for the #42 car’s final stop, following the mentality of his other rivals and not taking on tyres to come out just behind Dennis and Marciello, effectively dropping to third and four seconds ahead of Campbell.
Maxime Soulet relegated the lead to Dennis when he stopped lap 290 but when Andy Soucek on-board, the Spaniard stalled the Bentley Continental at the end of the pit lane, going to last out of the lead lap runners.
Dennis held the lead ahead of Marciello with 40 minutes left on the clock as Campbell applied the pressure to Mostert for third, the Australians engaging in a fight for the last step on the podium.
Campbell finally got past Mostert at the Chase, giving the BMW a love tap off the road just as the engine of Tim Macrow’s #50 Class C KTM machine let go on Conrod Straight, parking to the side while the safety car was deployed with only half an hour left, neutralising the race.
Under the safety car, van Gisbergen in the #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 came in for new tyres as Dennis led from Marciello, Campbell, Mostert, Imperatori, Soucek and then van Gisbergen.
Imperatori was issued a drive through penalty for weaving just before the restart and nearly ended his race on the opening tour, going wide at Griffin’s Bend.
Dennis opened up a gap on the first lap as Campbell hounded the back of Marciello, showing the nose a few times to the #999 as the timer ticked down and the Mercedes-AMG started to slide around.
Campbell finally muscled his way past at Hell Corner on lap 304, setting his sights on Dennis in the Aston Martin two seconds up the road as Mostert went after Marciello.
With just over eight minutes to go, Campbell went down the inside of Dennis at Forrest Elbow, taking the place and holding off the V12 Aston Martin down Conrod Straight with help from the Objective Racing McLaren which moved out of the way.
A few places further back, van Gisbergen was on a charge on new tyres, getting past Soucek and Mostert to range up behind Marciello for the final podium spot, trying every which way to get past the bright yellow entry.
Nothing could stop Matt Campbell up front who crossed the line to win the Bathurst 12 Hour, 3.4 seconds ahead of Jake Dennis as Raffaele Marciello only just held off Shane van Gisbergen for the final spot on the podium.
In the Pro-Am class it’s the #51 Spirit of Race entry which takes the honours with Pedro Lamy driving the car home for a class victory with Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda.
Class B saw the Grove Group entry of Ben Barker and Stephen and Brenton Grove take another win at the mountain, making it a happy day for Porsche across the top two classes.
Class C was won by the #48 KTM of Glen Wood, Justin McMillan, Dean Lillie and Elliott Barbour only one lap ahead of the #13 BMW GT4.
The Invitational Class results saw the T2 Racing by Liajen Motorsport #20 car of Adam Hargraves, Daniel Jilesen and Steve Owen cross the line first, the only Class I cars to make it home.
1 912 EBM D.Werner/D.Olsen/ M.Campbell Porsche 911 GT3-R
2 62 R-Motorsport J.Dennis/M.Vaxiviere/ M.Kirchhoefer Aston Martin Vantage
3 999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Raci M.Buhk/R.Marciello/ M.Goetz Mercedes AMG GT3
4 888 Mercedes-AMG Team Vodafone C.Lowndes/J.Whincup/ S.van Gisbergen Mercedes AMG GT GT3
5 42 BMW Team Schnitzer A.Farfus/C.Mostert/ M.Tomczyk BMW M6 GT3
6 108 Bentley Team M-Sport A.Soucek/M.Soulet/ V.Abril Bentley Continental
7 18 KC Motorgroup LTD A.Imperatori/O.Jarvis/ E.Liberati Nissan GTR Nismo GT3
8 107 Bentley Team M-Sport S.Kane/J.Gounon/ J.Pepper Bentley Continental
9 51 Spirit of Race P.Dalla Lana/P.Lamy/ M.Lauda Ferrari 488 GT3
10 98 Aussie Driver Search T.Hazelwood/R.Lago/ D.Russell Audi R8 LMS
11 9 Melbourne Performance Centre M.Cini/L.Holdsworth/ D.Fiore Audi R8 LMS
12 6 Wall Racing A.Deitz/J.Westwood/ C.McConville/ T.D'Alberto Lamborghini Huracan
13 19 Team Nineteen, Black Falcon M.Griffith/Y.Buurman/ C.Nielsen Mercedes AMG GT GT3
14 2 Audi Sport Team Valvoline C.Mies/C.Haase/ M.Winkelhock Audi R8 LMS
15 35 KC Motorgroup LTD K.Chiyo/T.Matsuda/ J.Burdon Nissan GTR Nismo GT3
16 4 Grove Group S.Grove/B.Grove/ B.Barker Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
17 20 Localsearch A.Hargraves/D.Jilesen/ S.Owen MARC Car Marc II V8
18 27 HubAuto Corsa N.Foster/T.Slade/ N.Percat Ferrari 488 GT3
19 23 Team Carrera Cup Asia C.van der Drift/ P.Tresidder/J.Bao/ P.Hamprecht Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
20 48 M Motorsport J.McMillan/G.Wood/ D.Lillie/E.Barbour KTM X-Bow GT4
21 13 JET Environmental D.Jorgensen/B.Strom/ G.McLeod BMW M4 GT4
22 55 Ginetta Australia B.Schumacher/J.Vernon/ A.Love Ginetta G55 GT4
23 11 Objective Racing T.Walls/W.Luff/A.Watson McLaren 650s
DNF 50 Vantage Freight D.Crampton/T.Harrison/ T.Macrow/C.Wood KTM X-Bow GT4
DNF 911 EBM R.Dumas/S.Muller/ M.Jaminet Porsche 911 GT3-R
DNF 75 Sunenergy1 Racing K.Habul/D.Baumann/ T.Jaeger Mercedes AMG GT GT3
DNF 71 Exedra Motorsport D.Koutsoumidis/ J.Parsons/J.Winslow/ M.Beche KTM X-Bow GT4
DNF 91 MARC Cars Australia K.Kassulke/P.Morris/ P.Tracy/A.de Pasquale MARC Car Marc II V8
DNF 77 Team Craft Bamboo Black Falcon M.Engel/L.Stolz/ G.Paffett Mercedes AMG GT3
DNF 22 Audi Sport Team Valvoline K.van der Linde/ G.Tander/F.Vervisch Audi R8 LMS
DNF 29 Haemokinisis/ Trofeo Estate/ P J.Manolios/B.Porter/ I.Capelli/D.Canto Lamborghini Huracan
DNF 760 R-Motorsport F.Kamelger/A.Baenziger/ P.Leemhuis/M.Parry Aston Martin Vantage
DNF 777 The Bend Motorsport Park Y.Shahin/D.Reynolds/ L.Youlden Mercedes AMG GT GT3
DNF 92 AJC Portables/ Nana's Naturals J.Busk/G.Taunton/ D.OíKeeffe MARC Car Marc I
DNF 43 The Furniture Broker D.Stutterd/S.Fillmore/ R.Muscat Porsche 911 GT3 Cup
DNF 96 GAP Solutions / SEKTOR H.Morral/M.Bakker MARC Car Marc I 6
DNF 12 Ice Break - Virgin Australia D.Calvert-Jones/J.Evans Porsche GT3-R
DNF 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport C.Krognes/N.Catsburg BMW M6 GT3