There were tears of joy for colourful Erebus Motorsport owner Betty Klimenko after watching her team score its first major race victory in the 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The AMG Customer Sports supported outfit dominated the most competitive field yet assembled in the race’s three-year history as a GT contest, eventually taking the win with its all-German crew of Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jaeger and Alex Roloff.
The race was run in front of a sizeable collection of guests from both Erebus and Mercedes-Benz Australia.
CLICK HERE for Speedcafe.com’s race report
“I’ve proven something that I set out to prove after last year,” Klimenko told Speedcafe.com after the race, referring to the second place finish the team recorded in the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour.
“We said we’re coming back to it, we came back and we won.
“Somebody come up to me afterwards, one of the lady officials, and say ‘do you realise no woman has ever won a major race at Bathurst as an owner, ever’.
“I hadn’t even thought about that. It was actually quite eye-opening, it really was. I was quite proud of myself.
“I’m proud of all the team. It’s unfortunate what happened to the Australian team (the pole-sitting Lee Holdsworth/Tim Slade/Peter Hackett driven entry finishing sixth after late contact with a back marker while running second) , but I don’t want to be greedy.
“A 12 Hour drains you,” she added, “but it was worth every second.”
Erebus Motorsport CEO Ryan Maddison said that the victory took on extra significance for the team as its Gold Coast-based outfit prepares to launch its V8 Supercars campaign later this week.
“I think that the motor racing fraternity in Australia knows what it takes to win at Bathurst,” Maddison told Speedcafe.com.
“We see the (Bathurst) 1000 every year claims a lot of potential winners and makes heroes.
“For us to come here last year, compete the way that we did, and then come back with both sides of the globe… it’s an enormous effort and a huge start for our projection of Erebus Motorsport going forward. It’s a great way to start the year.
“We didn’t meet all of our expectations with the second car, but within that you still find a silver lining with how hard our crew worked. We’re extremely proud.”
Erebus will be gunning for a unique double of two Bathurst victories in one year when the V8 Supercars Championship’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 takes place in October.
“I can assure you that when we come back here in October we’ll have our expectations measured but set very highly,” said Maddison of the team’s assault on The Great Race.
Erebus Motorsport’s V8 Supercar team launch will take place in Sydney this Thursday ahead of Saturday’s official pre-season test at Sydney Motorsport Park.