Race report: Bathurst 12 Hours 2015
For a long time, Australian racing has almost exclusively been watched on said continent, but in recent years, more people have turned to it. The perfect combination of exciting circuits and fearless drivers has made V8 Supercars series a thriller to watch, providing racing fans with a new series to closely follow. The rise of independent automotive blogs and new media fueled the popularity of Australian racing to the peak, and 2015 12 Hours of Bathurst finish is just one of the reasons to pay close attention to the races from Down Under!
Bathurst 12 Hours has been held since 1991 on Mount Panorama Circuit, but was moved to Eastern Creek Raceway in 1995. From 1996 to 2001, the race was being discounted, returning as Bathurst 24 Hours for just two years in 2002 and 2003. After the collapse of Procar Organisation, the event had a hiatus from 2004 to 2006, returning again in 2007. The multiple winner record is being held by John Bowe who won in 1995 with Mazda Motorsport driving a RX-7, in 2010 for Eastern Creek International Karting in a BMW 335i and in 2014 in a Ferrari 458 GT3 driving for Maranello Motorsport.
The entrants of 2015 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour have been divided in five alphabetical classes. A total of 53 cars entered the race with 50 cars starting it, due to several testing crashes. Last year’s champions Maranello Motorsports had to withdraw their Ferrari, and GT3 Endurance withdrew two of their Porsche GT3 Cup cars. A total of 34 cars have managed to finish the race. Team Flying B Motorsport did not finish the race, despite having three-time winner John Bowe and Jack Brabham’s son David Brabham behind the wheel of a Bentley Continental GT3 which managed to last for 253 laps.
Bentley Team M-Sport’s Bentley Continental GT3 was seen as the winner, leading in the final minutes of the race, but the outcome left everyone standing on their feet in excitement. In the last four minutes of the race, a late safety car transformed the almost-finished race into a serious cliffhanger. As Matt Bell was just increasing the lead over an Audi R8 in his Bentley, nineteenth safety car entered the track, again placing Laurens Vanthoor and his R8 in Bell’s rear view mirror. However, that wasn’t the last safety. After a Porsche stalled with less than 10 minutes, out came the 20th safety car, returning other cars in the game. After the green flag, all hell broke loose, completely reshuffling the grid, resulting in a top 7 finish by seven different car makes and four different engine types winning the top four! The outcome of this brilliant race can be seen in this video:
As well as being broadcast live on Seven Network, the race was also live streamed, gathering hundreds of thousands of viewers of this fantastic race from all over the world. NISMO’s Katsumasa Chiyo heroic victory in the final minutes of the race, with the help of his co-drivers and Nissan GT Academy graduates Florian Strauss and Wolfgang Reip, left us speechless. Still in awe because of the fantastic racing seen this year, we can’t wait to see what’s going to happen on this year’s Le Mans, and Mount Panorama Circuit in 2016 as well!