The ‘bucket list’ item Mercedes-AMG ticked off at Bathurst
Monday 16th May, 2022 - 6:00am
A Bathurst 12 Hour victory with its latest GT3 car is a ‘bucket list’ item ticked off, according to Mercedes-AMG customer racing boss Stefan Wendl.
Jules Gounon led the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing crew of Kenny Habul, Martin Konrad and Luca Stolz to the top step of the podium in Sunday’s Mount Panorama endurance contest.
In fact, Mercedes-AMG cars locked out the podium, with Craft-Bamboo Racing in second and Triple Eight Race Engineering third.
While the German manufacturer has won the race before in 2013 with its SLS model, the 2022 victory marked its first at Bathurst with the current Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Mercedes’ latest specification GT3 car has also enjoyed success in the Nurburgring 24 Hours and Rolex 24 at Daytona, and now adds Bathurst to the list.
Wendl was over the moon with yesterday’s victory.
“This race was still on our bucket list, because the Mercedes-AMG GT3 hadn’t won this race yet; last time it was the SLS that won, it was Bernd Schneider,” he told Speedcafe.com.
“We put everything together and even with less cars being here we knew that we faced strong competition because our direct competitor Audi tried [just as hard].
“From my perspective, we had more consistency in our driver line-up including our Am drivers and this gave us high average speed over the whole race.
“We put our cards exactly in this direction, but honestly, if we could have been faster we would have done it.
“As I said it was a hard fight and [Audi] have been amazingly fast on a single lap, and also during the race, you saw that if it had stayed dry all race long potentially we couldn’t get close to them.
“Altogether it was a mix between strategy and the conditions which gave us the cards we had to play.”
Roland Dane, who spearheaded the SunEnergy1 car through the 12 Hour weekend as Team Manager said the race win meant a lot for both him and Triple Eight, who ran the entry.
“To do it again is enormous for Triple Eight and to be able to help Kenny and his colleagues at SunEnergy1 achieve his dream back in his [home] country is pretty special,” Dane also told Speedcafe.com.
He alluded to the podium lock-out and Mercedes-AMG’s main competitor, Audi, who had a troublesome race.
“To finish first, first you have to finish,” Dane added of the chaotic race.
“If you make mistakes or crash or whatever then you’re probably not going to win.
“I always say in these events, whoever makes the least mistakes and recovers from them is a good chance of winning, so it’s very rare in an event like this to say you’ve made no mistakes.
“For sure we had several dramas today but we came out the right side of it, so I’m very proud of everyone, the drivers in both cars, the crew, the couple of guys that Kenny brought with him.
“It was a pleasure to work with everyone and really make it a joint effort.”