At one of the best tracks in the world

Friday, January 31, 2020

As eastern Australia prepares to wake itself for a second day at Mount Panorama and the opening round of the 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge Series from Bathurst, just one more Free Practice session lays ahead of the now thirty eight car entry before Qualifying starts later Saturday afternoon and the the Top 10 Shoot out later into the evening.

Four Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT3's with thirteen drivers split between the R-Motorsport and Garage 59 teams, they spent all of yesterday preparing their cars and themselves for the tasks ahead around what is one of the most picturesque yet equally demanding circuits anywhere in the world - certainly one of best according to Garage 59's Alex West.

Four sessions where available yesterday amounting to 3hrs 20mins of available track time though some time was lost due to the recovery of cars 'taking themselves out' over the the top of the mountain whilst others, like the #62 R-Motorsport car suffered from prolonged technical issues that saw the Ollie Caldwell/Luca Ghiotto/Marvin Kirchhofer car run no competitive laps over the opening two sessions.

Thankfully, their ailments were soon resolved to let their two debutants get their first taste of the Bathurst circuit after which saw most of the AMR drivers enter times within the top half of the collective timing screen over the remaining sessions.

Last years R-Motorsport sensation Jake Dennis ended the day being the quickest AMR driver in P12 overall with a lap time of 2:05:5601 with Garage 59's silver rated driver Andrew Watson next up in his #159 car with a lap time of 2:06:7143 but all of these times are still over four seconds slower than last years pole setting time - so there is still a long way to go.

Being a twelve hour endurance race some would question the worthiness of a decent qualifying position towards the front of the grid but we must remember that the race starts in total darkness and along a totally unlit circuit. Most incidences tend to happen at the start whilst cars are at their closest, tyres at their coldest and the track its greenest (on race day at least).

Then we have heard talk of substantial rain being forecasted for race day (bizarre as that may sound for an area blighted with severe drought and wild fires and on a circuit that has also recently been resurfaced with little subsequent rainfall to follow to wash away all those slippery oils from the tarmac surface!

At least there will now be live TV streaming (free outside of Australia we believe) for all Qualifying sessions on Saturday and the race in full on Sunday.

Photo credits - Bathurst 12hr
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