The first 6 hours of the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours saw plenty of action with plenty of hard racing, but also plenty of safety cars for numerous heavy accidents. Here’s a run-down of the action from the first half of the Intercontinental GT race.
After a very early safety car for a pre-green crash for the MARC Focus V8, Craig Mostert set the early pace in the Schnitzer BMW as he pulled out a big lead in the opening stint of the 2018 running of the Bathurst 12 Hour, setting what is still the fastest lap of the race on lap 7. It was a fantastic stint.
In Class B, Chris van der Drift lead early on but had a puncture and a massive spin just before pit entry. Luckily, he avoided anything solid but lost all his windscreen tear-offs in the process.
The number 46 Strakka car of Buhk was bumped off the track and into the tyre wall by Tristan Vautier, though Buhk was able to get the car back to the pits for repairs.
A second safety car came out after Cody Hill lost it at the Bentley Elbow and hit the walls on both sides of the track very hard. Hill extricated himself from the wreck and was uninjured.
Shortly after the race went green, a three car accident at the top of the Mountain saw Andrew Bagnall in the No. 82 International Motorsport Audi R8 LMS, the No. 9 Hallmark Audi of Marc Cini and the Class I-leading No. 67 MARC Cars Australia Marc II V8 Mustang of Morgan Haber all retire. Bagnall was airlifted to hospital but is awake and alert.
During the lengthy yellow, the 18 Bentley ran into problems and stopped on track. It was able to get going again but it had to stop for a gearbox change.
Towards the end of the third hour, the Class B No. 4 Porsche spun at Murray’s. A safety car period was called just as Stephen Grove was able to get going again. However, the yellow was to stay as Xavier West had a heavy crash in the No. 44 BMW M4 GT4.
Another short period of green-flag racing was interrupted in the fourth hour when the No. 3 Audi R8 LMS of Ash Samadi had a heavy crashing coming out of turn one, bringing out the safety car for the fifth time.
There was also a bizarre incident where the Class B No. 4 Porsche was issued a 1 minute penalty for colliding with the medical car after Samadi’s heavy crash.
On the restart, the No. 11 McLaren of Tim Slade led from Marco Wittmann, but it wasn’t long before the yellows were out again, this time for the Invitational entry Daytona Coupe losing a wheel coming out of the final corner.
The No. 43 was then issued a penalty for overlapping on a safety car restart, dropping the Schnitzer BMW down to 10th when it rejoined. A three-way battle for the lead followed, with Wittmann, Richards and Lowndes all running within a second of each other.
The seventh safety car was brought out after a frightening puncture for Maxime Soulet in the No. 18 Bentley. Luckily, he held the car straight and came to a stop in the gravel trap at The Chase. Ironically, the No. 18’s retirement saw the sister No. 17 Bentley take the lead as everyone scrambled for the pits. Bentley No. 17 then had to relinquish its lead after being given a safety car restart violation penalty which, along with rogue wheels, seem to be a major talking point for the race.
The race then settled down some-what, with the longest green flag peroid of the race. Further penalties were issued for safety car restart breaches.
With just over 5 hours completed, the No. 23 Porsche of Andrew Tang crashed out of the lead of Class B at the top of the mountain to bring out the safety car for the 8th time. Not long after, it made its ninth appearance after Daren Jorgensen was helped into the wall at the top of the mountain, removing the Class C BMW M4 GT4 from the running.
The McLaren of Shane van Gisbergen, Craig Mostert and Côme Ledogar had been fighting up at the front, but overheating problems have ruined any chance of a Bathurst victory. The car has spent a long time in the garage and is currently 9 laps off the lead.
What to Watch Out For
Penalties. So many drivers have fallen foul of the strict safety car restart rules. This could mean the difference between victory or falling back a lap.
Safety cars. Teams have been gambling on either pitting or not pitting under different safety cars. Getting it wrong in the last half of the race could mean it’s a mountain too much to climb. And there have been plenty of safety cars so far.
Changing temperatures. The BMWs lost some of their speed as the morning warmed up, with the Audis being faster as the temperatures rose.
Lapping drivers. The Am driver element, with so many classes here, is causing some hair-raising moments.
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- Official Website – Bathurst
- Official Website – IGTC
- Circuit Map
- Live Timing
- Spotter Guide (Credit: Tumpor)
- Entry List
The live stream is not available for embedding so does not feature on tRL TV. However there are multiple ways of viewing the race, which are listed here.
- Live Stream – Australia
- Live Stream – New Zeland
- Live Stream – International – Bathurst Site
- Live Stream – International – NISMO TV
- Live Stream – International – SRO GT World