Bittersweet Bathurst debut for Walkinshaw
Walkinshaw Racing boss Adrian Burgess hailed a GT3 Amateur Cup win following a bittersweet Bathurst 12 Hour debut.
The Melbourne-based squad ended its maiden once-around-the-clock Mount Panorama campaign with a fourth outright and class victory for its #912 entry driven by the experienced John Martin, Duvashen Padayachee and Liam Talbot.
The amateur class trio stayed out of trouble as they quietly rose up the leaderboard before emerging as a genuine contender on the lead lap as the race entered its final quarter.
Walkinshaw’s amateur class win came as a consolation after its powerful all professional class factory entry of 2015 Le Mans 24 Hour winner Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre retired after just two hours of running.
The #911 car was challenging for the lead before Kiwi Bamber made contact with a Class C Porsche which inflicted terminal damage to the steering rack on the Porsche GT3R.
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Given the tribulations his team encountered so early in the race, Burgess was immensely proud to see his sister crew finish fourth in a world class GT3 field.
“Fourth outright is pretty special and for amateurs it is fantastic,” Burgess told Speedcafe.com.
“We came here with our own car to challenge for the Am cup.
“We knew when we put the driver line-up together that we could do it and the team did a great job with no mistakes.
“I’m rapt for John, Liam and Duvashen, they thoroughly deserve to be the winners of the Amateur class.
“We told the drivers all weekend that the plan was not to put a mark on the car, keep out of trouble and drive smartly.”
The Walkinshaw boss says he was heartbroken for his #911 crew which he felt were genuine contenders to score an outright victory.
“We are gutted for the other the guys in the other side the garage because if the #912 could finish fourth we know the other car would have been challenging,” he added.
“We were in the lead with the #911 car when it went out so we are a little bit disappointed.”