AFTER a busy half hour session of single lap runs around Mount Panorama, the running order for this afternoon’s Top Ten Shootout has been set.
As the Class A-only qualifying session set the grid from position 11 and below, the top ten is still yet to be officially decided.
With ten stars driving six different marques and split by under four tenths of a second in qualifying, it’s anyone’s game for who will take the Allan Simonsen Trophy once the cars all set their laps.
Here’s who will be driving what in order from first to last of when they will hit the track.
#18 KCMG Nissan GTR Nismo GT3
Hong Kong national Alexandre Imperatori piloted the sole Nissan into today’s top ten shootout, under a tenth clear of being on the wrong side of the bubble. His time of 2:02.7944 was nearly four tenths down on the provisional pole time but the GTR’s impressive braking capabilities will see him going at 100% from Hell Corner.
#999 Team GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3
The fastest car in Friday practice, the Mann Filters sponsored Mercedes-AMG GT3 has been a bullet when driven by Italian Raffaele Marciello all weekend. As 2018 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup champion, there can be no doubting his talent, clocking a 2:02.7384 to get into this afternoon’s shootout.
#2 Audi Sport Team Valvoline R8 LMS
One of two Valvoline sponsored Audi’s to head out in the shootout, car #2 will be piloted by German Christopher Haase, a part of the all-German line-up which includes Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Mies. While Mies reset the official Bathurst lap record in November (albeit without the current BoP restrictions), Haase will be trusted to take the wheel and try to improve on the 2:02.7177 which propelled the Audi into eighth in qualifying.
#22 Audi Sport Team Valvoline R8 LMS
Audi’s second R8 LMS in the shootout will be driven by South African Kelvin van der Linde, the 22 year old young gun will be making his second 12 Hour start with Australian Garth Tander and Belgian Frederic Vervisch. After racing in the Australian GT Championship in 2017, van der Linde returns Down Under and wasted no time in qualifying with a lap of 2:02.6195.
#107 M-Sport Bentley Continental GT
Debuting the latest version of the fan-favourite Bentley Continental GT, Britain’s Steven Kane will take the wheel of the #107 entry (celebrating Bentley’s centenary) in the shootout. The four-litre twin-turbo V8 was driven by Kane around Mount Panorama in 2:02.6121 to get in to this afternoon’s shootout, looking to get the marque’s first win on Australian soil.
#912 Earl Bamber Motorsport Porsche 911 GT-R
Though not present, Porsche ace Earl Bamber’s entry in this year’s 12 Hour will be piloted by the young but dependable Matt Campbell. The 2016 Porsche Carerra Cup Australia champion and 2018 Le Mans GTE-Am winner was on top for most of the qualifying session with his time of 2:02.5777 before dropping to fifth at the end of the session.
#19 Griffith Corp/Team Nineteen/Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3
Seemingly out of nowhere, Yelmer Buurman propelled the Mercedes-AMG GT3 into the top ten late in the qualifying session, jumping all the way to the top at the list briefly with a time of 2:02.4726. The Dutchman shares the car with local Am driver Mark Griffith and Dane Christina Nielsen, the only female to win an IMSA championship.
#77 Team Craft Bamboo/Black Falcon Mercedes-AMG GT3
The all-Pro entry of Craft Bamboo/Black Falcon saw German Mercedes ace Maro Engel take the helm in qualifying; his 2:02.4306 got within under two one-hundredths of a second of the pole time. Engel is the right man to install in the car for a one lap dash, being the only man in the shootout to take pole at the 12 Hour in the past (2014) while he was in with a chance of winning in 2017.
#777 The Bend Motorsport Park Mercedes-AMG GT3
The local heroes contending in the shootout will be in the all-Aussie, Pro-Am Mercedes-AMG GT3. Backed by Yasser Shahin’s The Bend Motorsport Park, David Reynolds will be behind the wheel for the single lap flyer, having taken pole in the Bathurst 1000 twice (2015 and 2018) while winning the October classic in 2017 with his other co-driver for this weekend, Luke Youlden.
#62 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage
Producing one of the shock laps of qualifying, Briton Jake Dennis launched the #62 Aston Martin up into provisional pole in the dying seconds of the 30 minute session. Despite being hit with a two-place grid penalty for speeding in qualifying one, he was not deterred, putting in a 2:02.4127 tour around the Mountain to secure the best seat in the house for the shootout.
The session will be free to watch on 7Mate in Australia from 4:30pm local time or on the Bathurst 12 Hour website.
Words: Jordan Mulach