Mercedes-AMG has finished on the podium with a valiant 2nd placing amid an unprecedented red-flag finish at the 2018 LiquiMoly Bathurst 12 Hour Race.
A massive three-car accident at the top of the Mount Panorama circuit with 15 minutes left in the race – involving a fellow Mercedes-AMG GT3 racing car – brought out the red flag and resulted in the race being declared whilst the remaining cars sat stationary on the grid.
The #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 was sitting in 2nd placing in the hands of Australian touring car champion and last year’s race winner Jamie Whincup at the time of the accident. Over the course of the day, the four-man team – rounded out by international stars Tristan Vautier and Raffaele Marciello plus Australian expat team owner Kenny Habul – had worked through the field to be in strong contention for victory in the race’s crucial final hour.
After coming so close to winning the race, Vautier admitted to mixed emotions over the result. “We were so close to the win and you know, we really wanted it, but if someone told us before the weekend we were going to get 2nd, we would signed (for that) straight away,” he said.
Also well in contention was the #55 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, which was in 7th placing and – like all the cars it was racing – involved in a race-deciding game of fuel strategy when the crash occurred that ended the race.
Both the #55 – piloted by international drivers Nick Leventis, Lewis Williamson and David Fumanelli as well as Australian touring car star Cameron Waters – and the #75 car led the race during the afternoon. The #55 car finished second in the hotly-contested Pro-Am class, while the #8 Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT3 ran consistently all day to finish 12th outright in the hands of Max Twigg, Craig Baird and Tony D’Alberto.
The #19 Nineteen Corp Mercedes-AMG GT3 was running in 15th placing when it was caught up in the race-ending accident. Australian driver John Martin arrived at the scene of an earlier accident and was unable to avoid a significant impact. Martin was taken to the circuit Medical Centre but was cleared of serious injury.
The #56 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3, piloted by AMG factory drivers Maximilian Buhk, Maximilian Gotz and Alvaro Parente, was damaged in a collision early in the day, but continued to finish 28th.
The competitive performances of the Mercedes-AMG Customer Sports teams were supplemented by numerous appearances by the Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ Official Safety Car during the incident-packed race.
In addition, Mercedes-AMG was anointed “featured marque” status in 2018, earning pole position off the track in the Harris Park retail/activation precinct where a stunning display of AMG GT vehicles featured an AMG GT3 racer, plus the road-going AMG GT R coupe and stunning AMG GT C Roadster.
Following the race conclusion, dozens of Mercedes-AMG customers will enjoy a day each of driving tuition and fun courtesy of the Mercedes-AMG Driving Academy, in one of the few opportunities that non-race drivers can have to drive the famous and challenging Mount Panorama layout.
Results Bathurst 12 Hour:
|37||Audi R8 LMS||Audi Sport Team WRT||Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard, Laurens Vanthoor|
|75||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Mercedes-AMG Team SunEnergy1||Kenny Habul (AUS), Tristan Vautier (FRA), Jamie Whincup (AUS), Raffaele Marciello (ITA)|
|540||Porsche 911 GT3 R||Boston Athletic Club||Tim Pappas, Luca Stolz, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Marc Lieb|
|55||Mercedes-AMG GT3||STRAKKA Racing||David Fumanelli (ITA), Nick Leventis (GBR), Cameron Waters (AUS), Lewis Williamson (GBR)|
|8||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Scott Taylor Motorsport||Max Twigg (AUS), Craig Baird (NZL), Tony D’Alberto (AUS)|
|19||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Nineteen Corp P/L||Mark Griffith (AUS), John Martin (AUS), David Reynolds (AUS), Liam Talbot (AUS)|
|56||Mercedes-AMG GT3||Mercedes-AMG Team STRAKKA Racing||Maximilian Buhk (GER), Maximilian Götz (GER), Alvaro Parente (POR)|