The three drivers who took 59Racing’s #60 McLaren 720S to second place in this weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour have unanimously sung the praises of their team who were organised at the last minute.
2016 winner Alvaro Parente and British aces Ben Barnicoat and Tom Blomqvist combined to dominate the opening portion of the race, looking in contention for the win until a 30 second penalty put their backs against the wall late in the day.
Starting the car from second and taking the lead early on after an aggressive move on Maximilian Buhk’s #999 Mercedes-AMG, Barnicoat says he took a chance in the pass to go to the front.
“Huge thanks to the team, I don’t think anyone will ever realise the effort that was put in to that,” Barnicoat said.
“It was a brand new team at the start of 2019 and they ran one car in Aus GT so to have a two car effort with these resources was phenomenal.
“Immediately I could feel the car was quick, I was able to get past Patrick Pilet, caught Maxi (Buhk), I saw my chance, took it and it came close but I got it right.
“That’s what we get paid for… not when you get it wrong!
“The pace was very good, we mixed up the strategy a bit compared to what we were thinking but in the end it all worked out.”
Blomqvist closed the race aboard the #60 and reflected that the team were lucky to finish where they were considering the penalty as well as tyre fears late in the day.
“It was god damn difficult, to be honest,” Blomqvist said.
“Firstly I want to say a thanks to the team, it was a massive effort and it was put together last minute; most of the guys in the team, it’s their first time seeing the car or working on the car.
“To get a podium is pretty exceptional; Alvaro and Ben did great as well but we’ve got to thank Alex (Franes, team owner) and the boys for putting in a massive effort.”
“It was a tough race because we had a few issues along the way, I think we did more stops than anyone else and the 30 second penalty so to even be on the podium is quite a miracle.
“The guys were super nervous about the tyres, in the last 15 laps we had quite a big vibration coming from the tyres so it was all about managing the gap to the guys behind.
“Luckily it all worked out perfectly.”
Finishing on the podium for the third time in as many 12 Hour starts, Parente was happy to stand on the dais given the lateness of when the team came together.
“Big thank you to the team, to Alex, as Tom said he prepared this last minute with the guys so we’re happy with the outcome,” Parente said.
“To have a second position is incredible, with these two, Tom and Ben, they were on it all race long.
“We had to take a few penalties which cost us some time but it’s great to be back on the podium here.”
Words: Jordan Mulach