EREBUS MOTORSPORT has sensationally won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, adding the famed October enduro to their 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour success.
The team are just the second in history to win both of the Bathurst enduro ‘majors’, following the success of Tekno Autosport in both races last year.
Erebus drivers David Reynolds and Luke Youlden survived a remarkable day on the Mountain that was held in mostly wet conditions throughout the 161 lap distance.
Starting second, their Penrite Commodore was one of the few major contenders from qualifying to remain in contention throughout the race, polesitters Scott McLaughlan and Alex Premat amongst the high profile entries to strike dramas and become the first non-finisher on lap 74.
However it was a dramatic turn of events in the final hour that shifted the advantage in their favor, late race leaders Shane van Gisbergen and Garth Tander both sensationally running off the road on a late restart.
Their misfortune shifted the race to their advantage, elevating them to second behind the Brad Jones Racing Commodore of Nick Percat.
Reynolds then pounced on Percat on the 145th lap to take the lead in a thrilling wheel-to-wheel exchange, however had to ensure another Safety Car interruption before he could take the win.
His final restart with six laps remaining was perfectly judged as he pulled away on cold tyres to win by 3.8 seconds, setting the fastest lap in the process.
Scott Pye and Warren Luff finished second for Mobil 1 HSV Racing while Fabian Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto secured third for Shell V Power Racing after a late charge to the podium.
Dale Wood and Chris Pither gave Erebus a remarkable 1-4 result, while van Gisbergen and Matt Campbell completed the top five.
Though the team has significantly changed since their 2013 12-hour victory, the core of the Melbourne-based outfit remains the same as it was during the peak of their GT powers.
Team Owner Betty Klimenko commenced her involvement in Australian motorsport in Formula 3 racing however came to prominence by being the first to import the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to Australia, campaigning the cars successfully in the 12-hour and Australian GT.
Their relationship with AMG led to the Bathurst victory in 2013 with star drivers Thomas Jaeger, Alex Rollof and multiple DTM Champion, Bernd Schneider.
They won by a full lap in the third running of the race as a major GT enduro.
The team had finished second in 2012 and scored second in 2014 in the defense of their victory the year before.
Erebus’ current Supercars Team Manager Barry Ryan was brought across from their GT team to the Supercars outfit two years ago, when the team moved from Queensland to Melbourne as part of a major restructure and a brand shift from Mercedes to Holden.
After recruiting Reynolds, the team has gradually improved to become a regular top five contender in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
The team has targeted a return to GT Racing in recent months however is yet to make a commitment about the direction of their GT program.
WORDS: Richard Craill
IMAGE: Mark Walker