Nissan and Objective McLaren withdrawn
Crashes in opening practice at Highlands Park have seen the factory Nissan GT-R and Objective McLaren withdrawn from the weekend.
Nissan’s high-profile entry made side-on contact with the concrete at the long Turn 2 right-hander late in the 40 minute session with Matt Simmons at the wheel.
Losing the rear of the car-mid corner, the subsequent hit damaged the car’s suspension and drivetrain which, with limited spares on site, has forced its withdrawal.
GT Academy driver Simmons had also come unstuck in the race at Hampton Downs two weeks ago, tangling with slower traffic during the race.
Simmons was due to drive the GT-R solo in this weekend’s two Australian GT Championship encounters before teaming with Supercars star Michael Caruso for Sunday’s 101.
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“It’s devastating for the team who have worked hard to get the car ready for this race,” said Simmons.
“I was going through the Southern Loop and the car felt no different to any other time I’d been through there.
“The back of the car just stepped out and I caught it, but by that time I was on the dirty line of the track and I was a passenger.
“It was a hard hit, but I’m ok. It’s just a massive shame that we are not able to repair it.
“These are lessons that I learn in my development that will only make me stronger for next time.”
The crash was also a dissapointing end to Caruso’s two-event GT foray, which is expected to continue next February at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
“I didn’t get a chance to drive, and after seeing the circuit with this car, it’s a real shame for everyone in the team,” added Caruso.
“These things happen in motorsport and there’s nothing we can do about it.
“I really hope I get another chance to race here because the track and the event looks amazing.”
Tony Walls has meanwhile been forced to withdraw his McElrea Racing run McLaren after heavy contact with the concrete on the run to the bridge that ended opening practice early.
Damage to the McLaren’s front subframe has ruled it out of the sprints and enduro, where the gentleman driver was due to be joined by Warren Luff.
Walls confirmed that he was uninjured in the incident.
“I’m fine, but obviously the car has sustained a fair bit of damage,” Walls told Speedcafe.com.
“I was just coming towards the end of the session and the entry to the bridge is a little tricky.
“The car overloaded on one side and that was the end of the day.”