Tekno Autosport McLaren drivers Shane van Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente and Jonathan Webb attained Bathurst glory at the 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour. 

After claiming pole position, Shane van Gisbergen and his team drove their Mclaren to its first win at Mount Panorama. The Kiwi superstar held off reigning champ Katsumasa Chiyo in the Nissan GT-R GT3 for a spectacular finish.

The Tekno Mclaren took the win despite the car stopping on track while exiting the final corner earlier in the race. Thankfully, Alavaro Parente managed to re-set the car on track.

The team faced another major set-back when van Gisbergen was issued a drive-through penalty for speeding in pit lane. Thanks to well-timed safety cars and keen fuel strategy the TEKNO team was able to quickly return to the front.

Van Gisbergen recorded a new outright lap record of the Bathurst circuit. Crossing the finish line in 2m:01.567s, Shane now holds the fastest time ever recorded during a race at the famed circuit, as well as the qualifying record.

Shane van Gisbergen – Race Winner – #59 Tekno Autosport McLaren “It was a pretty long day. The first stint was really awesome, I really enjoyed myself out there. It was pretty tough, I had never driven around here in the dark and we didn’t have our big lights on so couldn’t see much. I had a good agreement with Garth and Luffy in the morning, that we would just cruise along and then after three laps we would start pushing once it was all up to temperature and we will get moving, and it was really cool, and then some Euro kid came along flashing his headlights and oh man I have to get going here, so it was cool, started pushing but there were kangaroos coming out and there were warnings every lap so, I am a Kiwi and I am not used to that either, but it was cool. (In his break) then everything was pretty rosy, I went back to the hotel to chill out and watching Alvaro going well, and then just saw the car stop going to the last corner so I was heart in mouth there, but thankfully it refired and gave us no more issues for the rest of the day, so, yeah, a pretty cool way to finish as well.”

Defending winners Katsumasa Chiyo, Ricky Kelly and Florian Strauss enabled tremendous pace in the final laps, but were unable to catch the #59 McLaren. The final winning margin came down to a mere 1.2 second lead against Nissan who finished second.

Katsumasa Chiyo – Second place – #1 NISMO Athlete Global Team Nissan GT-R “We were not the quickest car yesterday but we could show a very strong race today. The team was working very good and the car was just fantastic, such a great team and great team mates. We were doing really good until the last few minutes I think, but the McLaren was so fast and I tried to catch up then but I had some stupid moving other cars so I had to (avoid), it was so scary. We really wanted to win again this year and come back with it, but winning at Bathurst is not so easy. The race was very much like a sprint this year, with not many safety cars and not many traffic this year, which made it quite tough. I just want to say thank you to every team and to my team mates and for such a very great car, and I want to come back again next year.”

Trailing the #1 Nissan was Bentley Team M-Sport. After an unsuccesful 2015 race, Matt Bell, Steven Kane and Guy Smith managed to drive their way to the podium, finishing third.

Matthew Bell – Third place - #10 Mobil 1/Naim Audio/Breitling Bentley Continental “We had a pretty good race, the three of us had good pace throughout the race. When we were in the lead with about four hours to go things were looking quite good - we thought we had the strategy covered and the legs to go the distance, but we just couldn’t quite match these guys in the last few hours. After the way it ended last year we were all just a little bit down and deflated after that, so it is great to stand up here and represent Bentley on the podium at Bathurst and to share it with these two guys who have done a great job. It is a big step up from last year and next year we will come back and try and catch these guys.”

Matthew Bell – Third place – #10 Mobil 1/Naim Audio/Breitling Bentley Continental “We had a pretty good race, the three of us had good pace throughout the race. When we were in the lead with about four hours to go things were looking quite good – we thought we had the strategy covered and the legs to go the distance, but we just couldn’t quite match these guys in the last few hours. After the way it ended last year we were all just a little bit down and deflated after that, so it is great to stand up here and represent Bentley on the podium at Bathurst and to share it with these two guys who have done a great job. It is a big step up from last year and next year we will come back and try and catch these guys.”

In similar fashion to last year’s race, five different manufacturers claimed top-five positions. The Phoenix Racing Audi R8 nabbed fourth followed by the Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3 in fifth.

Shane van Gisbergen’s fastest lap was not the only record broken in the 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour. The race was contested over a record 297 laps (1845km) and saw 29 lead changes over the course of the race. A crowd of 37,079 spectators attended the 2016 event, a 15 per cent increase over last year’s crowd.

The Mountain saw multiple crashes in the early stages of the race. Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 driver Nick Percat collided with Mika Salo and his Ferrari 458. The Lamborghini retired instantly whereas the 2014-winning Ferrari competed for another 63 laps before unrepairable damage forced a delayed retirement.

Le Mans winner Earl Bamber, V8 supercar star Scott Mcloughlin and Stephen Grove took their Grove Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup to a Rydges Class B victory. The Melbourne-based team had a slow start but soon found unrivaled pace, finishing on top of their class by 15 laps.

The MARC Cars Australia team dominated their category with a 1-2-3 finish.  Aaron Seton, Jake Camilleri and Morgan Haber won the BM Pro Invitational class by nine laps in the #93 MARC Cars Australia Focus.

RELATED: Drivers converge for Bathurst 12-Hour

 

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