Image credit: Motionsport
Don’t ever suggest that teams are not making an effort when they come to Mount Panorama for the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
As international teams begin to arrive on the Mountain ahead of the around-the-clock classic this weekend, stories of the logistical efforts required to freight cars, crew and equipment are already being told in the Bathurst paddock five days out from the race proper.
Banbury, UK, based team Motionsport are one such example, their stunning black and gold-liveried Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 travelling more than 15,000 kilometres just to reach the Bathurst garage.
It will likely have to travel more than 1,800 kilometres more to reach the flag this Sunday, February 8.
2015 marks the third year that the British team has made the Bathurst journey but the first time that they have entered in the outright class.
“We can’t wait. It’s been a huge effort to get here but when you start getting unloaded and set up you get more and more ready for the race to begin,” said team boss Simon Phillips – fresh from the long-haul London-Sydney trip.
“We haven’t actually had the Aston for very long. We had the car delivered about two weeks before we had to put it in the container and send it to Australia. In that time we prepared the car, tested it, re-prepared it, put the stickers on and packed to get it ready to go.
“It left on December 1 and we’ve only just seen the car for the first time since then today – and after this weekend we won’t see it again until the end of March.”
The timing and distance required are ironic given the car was created just around the corner from Motionsport HQ.
“Prodrive builds the Aston Martins and they are based, quite literally, five minutes away from our workshop,” Phillips added.
“It’s one of the reasons we went for the Aston – we know the guys there really well and know the cars.”
The team are again supported by local business, compareinsurance.com.au, and will see their 2014 driving squad reunited. Former British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden will be joined in the car be Pete Story and Ben Gower this weekend.
“The biggest challenge with racing so far away, aside from the costs involved, is more so all the time it takes,” Phillips said.
“It’s more than just filling out a form and putting the car in a container – it’s a big exercise.
“To compound the challenge more we had our prototype racing in the Gulf 12hr in Abu Dhabi (in December) and of course, this shipped with a heap of tools and equipment – like the fuel rig – and wouldn’t be back until after the Bathurst container went.
“Fortunately as it’s our third year at the Mountain, we’ve built some good relationships with local teams and suppliers so it makes it possible to overcome some of the challenges – there should be a fair few parcels waiting for us when we get there this week!”
The Motionsport Aston will contest the Amateur class within the 28-strong GT3 (class A) ranks this weekend.
The outright field was reduced by one today following the unfortunate withdrawal of the No. 3 AF Corse Ferrari 458 GT3, driver Peirguiseppe Perazzini forced to withdraw from driving following a medical procedure. The team was unable to source a replacement on time.
The sister No. 3 entry will compete and be driven by Steve Wyatt, Michele Rugulo and Italian, Davide Rigon.
The 28-year-old Italian is a veteran of Open-wheel competition with success in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5, and brings a string of World Endurance Championship (WEC) class podiums with AF Corse last year to Bathurst.
Along with Motionsport, Clearwater Racing, Craft-Bamboo Racing and the factory Nissan GTR NISMO GT3 are also early arrivals to the mountain.