IT TOOK A LITTLE longer than expected, but the outright Mount Panorama circuit lap record fell today at the Bathurst Motor Festival.
The three-day Easter festival of motor sport concluded today in overcast conditions, but that didn’t keep people away with Event organisers announcing an improved three-day attendance of 10,134 – up approximately 1,000 people over 2011.
Patrons donated generously to official charity, Legacy, with officials reporting pleasing results from the charitable efforts.
The big story of the day occurred in the Formula 3 races, where Chris Gilmour now holds the new outright Mount Panorama lap record at 2:04.6817 after breaking it in the second of three races contested.
British driver and Championship Leader James Winslow won two of the three races and the weekend overall and says Formula 3 on the Mountain could have a big future.
“There is a real opportunity for this to become a major event on the global Formula 3 landscape,” he said.
“This is one of the very best race tracks in the world and if it can be built into a key global event for Formula 3 the Japanese and European competitors will come, there’s no doubt about it.
“A lot of people have been watching overseas and paying attention to what happened this weekend – and the lap times don’t hurt either!”
The FW1 Aussie Racing Car Series ended in thrilling fashion after a bruising weekend on the Mountain not without its fair share of drama.
Adrian Cottrell edged out Kyle Clews for the race four win by just 0.06 seconds after a thrilling race, but Clews had done enough to secure the overall round victory, with Cottrell on the podium in second and Peter Carr third.
A major crash in the earlier race saw driver Shane Howard airlifted to the Royal North Shore hospital in Sydney, however the driver is in a stable condition and underwent further tests in the afternoon.
A safety-car free one-hour Production Sports Car race ended with Porsche GT3 Cup racer Neale Muston ending his dominating weekend on top again, taking the flag first by nearly a full minute.
Tim Mackie and Scott Bargwanna combined to take their Lotus Exige HPE to second place with Andrew Miedecke teaming with regular driver Jamie Augustine in the thundering Daytona Coupe to finish third. A pair of Lotuses completed the top five.
The Kenda Tyres HQ Endurance challenge also completed a one-hour race, their second of two for the weekend.
Several safety cars affected the outcome, with drivers not required to execute a driver change able to pit earlier in the race and gain an advantage, leaving yesterday’s winners Paul Butler and Rod Dawson back in sixth place despite setting the quickest lap.
Rod Raatjes won the race, David Keleher second and Warrin Trewin third.
Greg Toepfer was unable to complete a sweep of the Historic Touring Cars Group N races, failing to finish today’s third and final race and leaving the win to Bathurst driver Michael Anderson in his Ford Falcon GTHO. Cameron Warner and Leon Bell completed the podium.
The final two outings for the NSW Road Racing Club regularity were dominated by Roger Ranflt, driving a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution. The Evo lapped within just a few tenths of a second of its nominated time of 2:44.0 seconds and thus scored the lowest penalty points on each outing today.
Alex Veryinis (HSV Clubsport) and Les Smith in his Renault Clio were also in contention throughout the day. A massive 47 cars competed across the weekend.
The Porsche Club of NSW was all change, with Saturday’s pace setters down the order in the first run today, with Tim Bickford scoring the least number of penalty points in the first run this morning. Paul Dortkamp (Porsche 928) was on top of the standings in the second session.