Opening the year for Historic Touring Cars
Pics courtesy Nathan Wong
In an all-Ford representation, three Victorian cars took up the invitation to compete in the Group N support races at the 2011 ArmorAll Bathurst 12-Hour event in early February.
Despite a wet forecast for Mount Panorama the weather was fine for all races but with temperatures in the mid-to-high 30s testing the 34 group N entries.
Qualifying set the tone for the event being interrupted by track incidents and the safety car. The Mustangs of Bill Trengrove (Nb) and Leo Tobin (Nc) qualified 6th and 10th with Rod Hotchkin in 14th in the XY GT Falcon.
Race 1 was interrupted for 2 laps with the safety car. Grant Wilson (QLD) finished 1st in his Camaro, Darryl Hansen (WA) in the 69 Mustang was 2nd and Ethan Lind (QLD) in a quick Torana was 3rd. The Victorians improved on their qualifying places with Bill Trengrove finishing 4th, Leo 6th and Rod 8th.
It was panic stations for all crews on Saturday morning when race 2 was unexpectedly bought forward to be 1st on the Saturday program.
In the best race of the event the Vics finished in formation with an improving Rod Hotchkin crossing the line in 4th, Leo in 5th and Bill in 6th. Mid race Trengrove was 2nd outright before slipping back with a fuel pump blockage.
The track and heat were taking their toll with Leo unable to start due to brake problems and Rod failing to finish (due to a nasty altercation with the barrier when he attempted to straighten the esses), the race was again interrupted for 2 laps with the safety car. Bill Trengrove finished 3rd outright to take the Nb trophy. Grant Wilson (QLD) again finished 1st in his Camaro followed by Cam Worner in his Falcon. Daryl Hansen retired with a gearbox problem.
Rod was taken to Bathurst hospital after the race for a thorough checkup and very happily given the all clear. The XY took a big hit and it may have been a write-off.
I have tried to contact Rod but time is against us so we don’t know the future of the Falcon yet.
A great event, well run and hopefully next year will have more entries from Victoria
Groups C & A
This was the first time back to Mount Panorama for my Schnitzer BMW M3 #46, since the eventful 1987 WTCC meeting at Bathurst, where the car was crashed in Practice by Roberto Ravaglia, then repaired by the TAFE Team, and driven in the race by Roland Ratzenburger. The trip was made even more special because one of the original TAFE apprentices who worked on the car at the 87 event, is now a member of our pit crew.
The format was practice, qualifying, and three 7-lap races as supports to the Armor All 12-hour event, held on Sunday 6th Feb. There were 20 Group C and A cars, we qualified 5th, and had good finishes in the 3 races with best of 3rd outright.
It’s testimony to the BMW’s engineering and inherent strength, that it ran faultlessly all weekend. Weather conditions were awful with temperatures in the 36-38 degree range. The car ran at 85deg all weekend, however the driver did get a little hot… it gives you a whole new understanding of how the drivers in the day did 30+ lap stints in those conditions and stayed on the pace for the duration.
Our best lap times were a bit slower (2:34) than the drivers of the day (2:26), but close enough for me. The track is faster, the car is probably just as quick given current tyre technology, but the driver certainly isn’t…
However, it’s definitely one of those must-go-to circuits, your racing experience isn’t complete until you’ve driven at Mount Panorama…