As we take our first tentative steps into the New Year, Racing.GT editor James Newbold looks back at some of the standout moments that made 2016 special.
Team of the year Award: TF Sport (British GT Drivers and Teams champions, GT3 Le Mans Cup Teams champions)
Tom Ferrier’s outfit had showed glimpses at the end of 2015 that they were ready to take the next step towards becoming title contenders and delivered in emphatic style. Jonny Adam described their cars as the best turned-out he’d seen on any grid and ended the year with a second title alongside Derek Johnston, while the sister car of Jon Barnes and Mark Farmer came into their own as the year went on, taking a popular first victory at Spa.
In addition to bucking the trend of British GT champions missing out on the Teams title, TF Sport also fared strongly in Europe, winning two races apiece in the International GT Open and GT3 Le Mans Cup. As a prize for winning the Teams title in the latter with Salih Yoluc and Euan Hankey, TF will take their place in the GTE-Am field at Le Mans in June, the culmination of one of Ferrier’s lifetime goals and just reward for a top drawer 2016.
— Jonny Adam (@JonnyAdam) November 28, 2016
GTE car of the year Award: Aston Martin Vantage GTE (FIA WEC GT Drivers and GT Teams champion, European Le Mans Series GTE Drivers and Teams champion)
Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen would readily admit that Aston Martin Racing was dependent on the success of the BOP process to beat clean-sheet designs from Ferrari and Ford in 2016, but the heavily-revised Vantage was still the most consistent package in the GTE-Pro ranks. True enough, it wasn’t a match for the Ford GT or Ferrari 488 at Le Mans, but AMR made huge strides in their first year working with Dunlop and crucially enjoyed far superior reliability compared with their newer rivals. Had it not been for a loose wheel in the Bahrain finale, they would almost certainly have added the GT Manufacturers crown to their GT Drivers and GT Teams titles.
The older model also reminded everybody of its worth by carrying Beechdean AMR to glory in the European Le Mans Series. Two wins and a pole position at Paul Ricard aside, the Vantage’s bulletproof reliability was the crucial determining factor in the fight with JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari, which suffered a crucial gearbox failure in the final race at Estoril.
That’s right… 2016 @FIAWEC WORLD CHAMPIONS! 🍾✌️
— Aston Martin Racing (@AMR_Official) November 20, 2016
GT3 car of the year Award: McLaren 650S GT3 (Blancpain Endurance Cup, Pirelli World Challenge, Asian Le Mans Series and Australian GT and Endurance champion, Bathurst 12 Hour winner)
2016 really was the year of the McLaren 650S, which experienced success on four continents. Though a sensitive car to drive on the limit by nature of its aero dependency, the McLaren rewards commitment through high-speed corners, so it was no surprise to see Shane van Gisbergen shine across the top of Mount Panorama. Lap records tumbled as the mercurial Kiwi flirted with the walls, but victory at Bathurst was only a glimpse of what was to come.
Aside from its enormous success in Europe – van Gisbergen, Rob Bell and Come Ledogar defeated HTP to win the Blancpain Endurance crown, while Bell also won races in the Sprint Cup and in British GT – Andrew Kirkaldy will be heartened by the 650’s global successes. Bell wrapped up the Asian Le Mans Series title with Clearwater Racing in January, while Alvaro Parente capitalised on Pat Long’s misfortune in a tense finale at Laguna Seca to secure the Pirelli World Challenge for K-PAX Racing.
Then there was the Australian GT Championship, where Klark Quinn prevailed over fellow McLaren driver Nathan Morcom after a controversial clash at the final round at Highlands Park which saw Morcom excluded. However, the impressive 24-year-old bounced back to seal the Australian Endurance title with TV personality Grant Denyer.
— McLaren GT (@McLaren_GT) November 13, 2016
Most improved driver Award: Jules Szymkowiak (Blancpain Sprint Cup race-winner)
Despite winning the Silver Cup, Szymkowiak often went under the radar in his first season of Blancpain in 2015, but the 21-year-old made a huge step forward last year to establish himself as one of the championship’s most exciting drivers to watch.
Having grown accustomed to changing teams every season, Szymkowiak benefitted enormously from remaining at HTP over the off-season and with the ultra-experienced Bernd Schneider acting as a mentor figure, the Dutchman flourished. He drove a mature opening stint from the back of the grid at Misano, then starred on the Brands Hatch GP circuit to qualify on the front row, making an assertive turn one move on Franck Perera which decided the race.
After taking another podium at the Nürburgring, sixth in Q3 at the Hungaroring and fourth in Spain further underlined his progress, which was recognised by beating Luca Stolz and Dries Vanthoor to win the inaugural Sean Edwards Award at the SRO’s end-of-year bash in London. Having troubled established team leader Maxi Buhk at times despite the long gaps in between Sprint Cup races, Szymkowiak will only benefit from adding a parallel Endurance Cup schedule in 2017.
Aside from a warm-up shunt at the GT Open season-opener in Estoril, Salih Yoluc was largely unrecognisable from the driver that so often drew the wrath of the British GT stewards in 2015. The Turk found the TF Sport Aston Martin a far more predictable beast than the McLaren and duly reaped the rewards, pocketing a free entry to Le Mans for his efforts in the GT3 Le Mans Cup.
TF Sport’s gentlemen drivers in British GT also made huge strides in 2016. With reigning champion Jonny Adam alongside, Derek Johnston was able to tally his undoubted speed with a new consistency that propelled him to the title. His opening stint at Rockingham was among the best of the season and helped to negate a 20 second hold in the pits to win for a second time on the bounce, while team-mate Mark Farmer took a first win at Spa and helped himself to a pole position at Snetterton. Don’t rule out a title challenge from him and Jon Barnes in 2017.
Best newcomer Award: Matt George (British GT GT4 standout)
21-year-old George was a newcomer in the literal sense, with zero car racing experience before linking up with Superdry founder James Holder for an assault on GT4 with a Generation AMR Vantage. On the face of it, results were little to write home about, but dig a little deeper and a different picture begins to emerge.
With reigning champion Jamie Chadwick alongside, George might have won at Rockingham had it not been for braking problems, then with Holder returning for Oulton Park, George was second only to ex-Formula Ford champion Scott Malvern in the Fastest Lap stakes. However, it was at Snetterton where George really staked his claim. After blotting his copybook with an off in qualifying, he tracked returning class champion Ross Gunn throughout their stint in Race 2 and pipped the Beechdean driver to set a new GT4 lap record.
Aston Martin clearly rate George highly and brought him along to the final WEC race of the year in Bahrain, where he learned a great deal watching from the garage as Thiim and Sorensen wrapped up the title. Counting Darren Turner as a mentor, don’t be too surprised to see George keeping that company in the future.
2016 done ✅ what a year it has been! Have a good one everyone, thankyou for being a part of my 2016 bring on 2017 🍾 happy new year 🎉 pic.twitter.com/mTNvaBoWWy
— Matt George (@Mattgeorge19) December 31, 2016
The GT4 class was a hotbed of fresh talent in 2016, with Sandy Mitchell (16) and Ciaran Haggerty (20) proving that the future of Scottish motorsport is in good hands. Andrew Kirkaldy’s decision to entrust the development of the new McLaren 570S to a pair of rookies was entirely vindicated, as the Ecurie Ecosse-run machine featured at the sharp end of the grid all season long. Mitchell and Haggerty managed two victories from the final three races of the year and could count themselves unlucky not to win more due to teething troubles. British F4 graduate Mitchell broke Jamie Chadwick’s record for the youngest winner, while Haggerty won many fans by driving through the pain barrier at Donington after almost slicing off his thumb in a work accident. Both have very bright futures ahead of them.
Alex Reed was another to make a positive impression after stepping up from one-make Lotus racing and capped his first year with a victory at Spa when the McLaren hit trouble, while.GT Cup graduates Abbie Eaton and Marcus Hoggarth also impressed in the troublesome Ebor Maserati, taking fourth in the standings with a best result of second at Oulton Park.
The viral video of the year Award: Matt Griffin, Spa 24 Hours
Joe Osborne’s on-board lap of Spa, Nicki Thiim’s sumo-suit training videos and Aston Martin Racing’s Mannequin Challenge in Bahrain were all welcome reminders that motor racing is not without a sense of humour, but none could trump Matt Griffin’s air-drumming in the outright barmy stakes.
The Irishman’s rendition of the Phil Collins classic In The Air Tonight while preparing for his next stint at Spa was full of artistic merit and a welcome distraction from the many sleep-deprived journalists beavering away in the media centre during the difficult early hours of the morning. All that was missing was the gorilla suit…
Overtake of the year Award: Christopher Mies, VLN5
Mies was awarded Racing.GT’s best GT3 driver of 2016 for a stellar year in 2016 across the Blancpain GT Series, GT Masters and Australian GT Championship, but also pulled off the move of the year on Jorg Bergmeister on the final lap of VLN 5.
Starting the final lap, Bergmeister took advantage of traffic to nip ahead on the Grand Prix loop. With time running out, Mies had every reason to think that the race had slipped through his fingers, but didn’t let up the chase and was pinned to the rear of the Porsche as they charged down the long Döttinger Höhe straight. He drew alongside as they headed into the left-hand kink and for a moment, contact seemed inevitable. Given the frightening speeds involved, Bergmeister wisely left space to his outside and Mies took full advantage, squeezing the Audi through the tiny gap between Bergmeister and the grass. He takes up the story.
“I saw already that I was a bit quicker, but I couldn’t pass. Obviously it’s quite hard on the Nordschleife, so I waited for the opportunity on the Döttinger Höhe. I had a bit of a gap and I thought ‘oh no it’s over’, but honestly I think that’s what worked out so good, because in the end I had a slipsteam for nearly the whole Döttinger Höhe,” Mies explained.
“Usually when you’re right behind, you have a slipstream for a quarter or half of the Döttinger Höhe and then he has the second half of the slipstream, so it’s always a bit tricky. But this time I had the whole Döttinger Höhe in the slipstream so I was getting a big speed advantage of around 7-8 km/h.
“Then I thought, ‘I know Wolfgang Land is quite enthusiastic and I knew he would be very happy if we could win it’, so I just closed my eyes and hoped it worked out… It was a bit tight, I could feel him! When we came through the left kink, we didn’t touch but there was the wind, we came quite close and there was no room on the right, so it was just flat!”
— Bianca Leppert (@janci1612) July 16, 2016
The Nürburgring played host to some truly magnificent overtaking moves in 2016 and Maro Engel’s gutsy final lap pass on Christian Hohenadel to snatch victory in the 24 Hours was among the very best given the high stakes involved. After reeling off a stunning sequence of qualifying laps to get himself into position, Engel took Hohenadel completely by surprise with a late lunge on the Grand Prix loop. It was hard, but fair, leaving the HTP driver with no choice but to concede the corner as Engel escaped up the road for the sweetest victory of his career.
Gianmaria Bruni’s move on Nicki Thiim at the 6H Nürburgring, for what would be his and James Calado’s only victory of 2016, was equally hard-earned. The Aston Martin’s sheer grunt on corner-exit meant Bruni was invariably too far back to attempt a pass, but when a FCY came out just after half-distance, Bruni took full advantage. There was the slightest hint of contact as the Italian stuck his nose down inside the Aston at turn two, which allowed him to get fully alongside into three and then muscle ahead on the run to four.
Earl Bamber will be plying his trade in LMP1 next year, but marked his GT swansong with a superb pass on Pierre Kaffer for second in the Sepang 12 Hours. Following a Safety Car that negated the time lost by a brake change, Bamber soon had Kaffer’s Audi in his sights and boldly drove around the outside of him at turn one before seizing the inside line for turn two. The only pity was that one of the best moves of the year was largely obscured by darkness.
Blink and you’ll miss them Best Cameo Award: Alex Zanardi, Italian GT Mugello
Now 50, Zanardi has more on his mind these days than just motorsport. He spent the summer winning two Paralympic Gold Medals in Rio and had not competed in a car since the 2015 Spa 24 Hours when he rocked up to the Italian GT championship season finale at Mugello. All eyes were focused on the title battle between the Lamborghini of Stefano Gai/ Mirko Venturi and Marco Mapelli’s Audi, yet Zanardi stole the show on his first outing in the BMW M6, converting a front-row start into a popular victory which resounded around the world.
Alex Zanardi marked his return to motorsport in the Italian GT championship with a win at Mugello today. Is there anything he can’t do? pic.twitter.com/INOGo0FXAh
— Racing GT (@RacingGT) October 16, 2016
Christian Engelhart has been one of the stars of the one-make Porsche scene for a several years, but his undoubted talent has taken a while to be recognised in GT circles. However, all that changed in his debut appearance in the Blancpain Endurance Cup at the Nürburgring, where he successfully fended off Laurens Vanthoor to secure Grasser’s first victory since Monza 2015.
While Porsche junior Matteo Cairoli only finished fifth on his European Le Mans Series debut at the Red Bull Ring, he could be highly satisfied with his lot after taking pole position and fastest lap. Stuttgart promptly moved to secure his services at season’s end and the Italian is now set to make his 24 hour debut in Dubai later this month.
Last but not least, there was the new Lexus RC-F GT3 which marked its competition debut with a remarkable victory in VLN9. Farnbacher Racing had only taken delivery of the car in the week leading up to the race and didn’t get to complete any dry running due to the typically adverse October weather, but no matter. Even running a baseline setup, the car was streets ahead of the older version and brothers Dominik and Mario Farnbacher were simply unstoppable.
The WRT Award for pitstop of the year: WRT, Blancpain Endurance Cup Silverstone
In an effort to prevent the richer teams gaining an advantage by investing in faster refuelling rigs, SRO introduced a new minimum pitstop time for Blancpain Endurance Cup races. WRT team boss Vincent Vosse was particularly aggrieved, as the move threatened to render his team’s renowned prowess in the pits obsolete. However, the rule-makers had reckoned without the Belgian squad’s ability to exploit a loophole in the regulations, which carried them to second at Silverstone.
From pit in to pit out, the new rules dictated that stops must either be completed inside 70 seconds, or take more than 90 seconds. It was expected that the only teams to go under 70s would be those needing to top up on fuel, but if a team could change all four tyres and send the car on its way again in under that time, they would save 20s compared to their rivals and gain significant track position.
Having weighed up the risk against possible reward, WRT backed themselves and went for broke. Although Audi No. 2 of Robin Frijns and No. 3 of Filipe Albuquerque were both hit with drive-through penalties for narrowly missing the 70s cut-off point, the gamble worked a treat for Dries Vanthoor in No. 1 as he was launched from 14th to second. Now that’s not something you see every day…
Another master move by WRT in #BlancpainGT today. Only they can find away around the ‘minimum’ pitstop time and beat everyone by 20s! 1/3
— Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) May 15, 2016
The Leicester City Award for upset of the year: Enzo Ide (Blancpain Sprint Cup champion)
Upsets don’t happen all that often in the highly professional world of motorsport, which makes them all the more special when they do. But even more unusually, this was an upset which played out not over a single weekend in isolation, but across the entire Blancpain Sprint Cup campaign.
With the greatest of respect to Ide, nobody could have possibly predicted that the affable Belgian would end the year as champion. In what was the strongest Sprint Cup field in recent memory, due to the SRO mandating that manufacturers must enter two cars in Sprint to qualify for an entry to the blue riband Spa 24 Hours, Silver-rated Ide and Audi stalwart Christopher Mies were not even the favoured pair within WRT. Laurens Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch expected to lead their charge, but after a quiet opening weekend at Misano, Ide and Mies came alive at Brands and continued their winning streak at the Nürburgring and Hungaroring.
While Mies excelled in qualifying and WRT provided their usual excellent service in the pits, Ide still had to do the job out on track and didn’t crack under pressure from big-name drivers. His bare-knuckle fight with Tristan Vautier on the first lap in Hungary showed he wasn’t about to bow down to anybody and after stand-in team-mate Robin Frijns did the legwork for another qualifying race victory in Barcelona, Ide needed only a point from the main race to be crowned champion. There were no hysterics, no mistakes. A tidy run to third did the job nicely.
Ladies and gentlemen, Enzo Ide is your new #BlancpainGT sprint cup champion!
Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say in 2016.
— Girl Talks Racing (@girltalksracing) October 2, 2016
The Lazarus best comeback Award: No. 88 AKKA ASP, Spa 24 Hours
AKKA ASP weren’t in an especially good mood before the start of the Spa 24 Hours. After a sterling effort in qualifying from Felix Rosenqvist, they looked set to start from the front row after provisional polesitter Maxi Goetz improved his times under yellow flags. But when irregularities were discovered with the Mercedes’ ignition timing maps, all six AMGs were handed five minute penalties for “unsporting behaviour”, leaving AKKA ASP with one hand tied behind their backs from the outset.
24 hours later, the picture couldn’t have been more different. Rosenqvist, Tristan Vautier and Renger van der Zande finished second after one of the most memorable comebacks in years, combining raw speed with strategic brilliance from the pit-wall and pure bravery on the part of Rosenqvist in the rain. Remarkably, they finished on the same lap as the winning ROWE BMW, which had run faultlessly throughout. Without the penalty, they would have been comfortable winners.
Even accounting for the greater strength-in-depth of the all-GT3 field at Spa, the No. 16 Team Black Falcon’s run from 98th to the podium in the Dubai 24 Hours was still a mighty achievement after the team’s original chassis burned to the ground in practice. Fortunately, driver Patrick Assenheimer escaped without serious injury and Abdulaziz al-Faisal just so happened to have a spare SLS at the circuit on display outside the team’s hospitality unit. From the very real possibility that they wouldn’t race at all, the team captured the spirit of endurance to outlast all three of the newer Mercedes-AMG GT3 models and finish second.
With all the clamour surrounding Ford’s 60th anniversary victory at Le Mans, it was easy to overlook the No. 83 AF Corse’s fightback to second in GTE-Am, which had significant championship ramifications. Although Scuderia Corsa were away and clear in the class lead, Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas and Francois Perrodo could still take a maximum score of 50 points for finishing second as the top WEC-registered entrant. That task was made harder when Perrodo found the gravel at Arnage during hour 9, but Collard co. were relentless and gradually advanced back up the timing sheets. By morning, they had risen to third and with three hours to go, second was firmly in their grasp. As chief rival Paul Dalla Lana had failed to score, this meant AF could finish second to the Canadian in each of the remaining races and still win the title.
Twitter spat of the year Award: Ryan Ratcliffe and Joe Osborne
As Optimum Motorsport team-mates Ryan Ratcliffe and Joe Osborne discovered, there’s nothing like a disagreement over Strictly Come Dancing to spoil a bromance. That said, if it could survive Osborne’s cheeky wave in the closing stages at Silverstone, it could probably survive anything.
— Joe Osborne (@osbornejoe) October 15, 2016
The Alexander Rossi Award for fuel economy: Rene Rast, Daytona 24 Hours
So clear was the advantage enjoyed at Daytona by Lamborghini that victory for one of the Italian cars seemed inevitable, but Rene Rast was having none of it. The Audi R8 LMS he shared with Andy Lally, John Potter and Marco Seefried was only the eighth quickest car in the fastest lap stakes – a full 1.5 seconds off Richard Antinucci’s benchmark – but thanks to Rast’s miraculous fuel-saving prowess, Magnus came away winners for a second time.
A mysterious electrical problem for Antinucci’s O’Gara Motorsports Racing entry and a tangle between Bryce Miller (Paul Miller Racing) and Justin Marks (Change Racing) while disputing the lead in the 11th hour meant Rast was out in front heading into the closing stages, but with Fabio Babini closing fast in the Konrad Motorsport Lambo. A second group headed by Nick Catsburg’s Black Swan Porsche was on course to catch the pair of them, having topped up with enough fuel to run to the end.
As Babini loomed large in the mirrors, Rast received the message no racing driver wants to hear – ‘let him go.’ The German reluctantly heeded the order, but soon retook the lead when Babini ran out of fuel. Certain that Rast couldn’t make it either, Catsburg smelled blood, but Rast somehow made it across the line three seconds to the good.
“It was a very sweet victory, we actually didn’t believe we could win it because the Lamborghinis were two seconds faster than us, so we just tried for a clean race,” Rast told Racing.GT. “In the last hour we knew we would not make it with the fuel we had in the tank, so from the first lap on I tried to save fuel. They had some strange ideas to let different guys past, and I was completely confused!
“But in the end the team and the engineers knew what they were doing, they told me the fuel mileage every lap and I just tried to make it over the finish line. In the moment we crossed the line I couldn’t believe it, we ran out of fuel like 600 metres after! I couldn’t do donuts, I couldn’t do anything! Two or three hundred millilitres more burned fuel would have been the end of the race and we wouldn’t have won, so it was very marginal!”
— Andy Lally (@AndyLally) January 31, 2016
Le Mans is the race everybody will remember as Ford’s greatest triumph in 2016, but the Blue Oval had already notched their psychologically important first victory thanks to Richard Westbrook’s unparalleled ability to coax 52 racing laps from a single tank at Laguna Seca. The No. 67 Ford he shared with Ryan Briscoe was the only car to go the distance on only two pitstops – team-mate Joey Hand had to bail out of a similar strategy with only a handful of laps remaining – and despite running on maximum economy mode from the beginning of his stint, Westbrook still had 12s in hand at the finish.
WTF moment of the year Award: Laurens Vanthoor, FIA GT World Cup, Macau
When Vanthoor told Racing.GT ahead of the weekend that he would be going “all in” to win the FIA GT World Cup at Macau, he certainly didn’t plan to end his race upside down in the barriers at Mandarin Bend. Unsurprisingly, the violent accident brought out the red flags for the second time after Ricky Capo had crashed at Fishermans on lap one. With no time to restart, the results were counted back two laps and Vanthoor declared the winner, despite bringing out the red flag. The funereal tone of the podium ceremony left those watching in no doubt that it was a thoroughly unsatisfactory ending to an unsatisfactory weekend.
— Maro Engel (@MaroEngel) November 20, 2016
Right back at the start of the Australian GT season in Adelaide, Roger Lago was just one lap away from a second win of the weekend in race three when he was caught out by lapped traffic and forced to take avoiding action in the escape road. But in his haste to recover, the 45-year-old showed exactly how not to do a spin turn and flicked his Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX into the fence. Doh!
Closer to home, the Code 80 in the opening round of the British GT championship at Brands Hatch created no end of controversy, as several cars had not been fitted with an 80 km/h speed limiter. This came back to bite Rick Pariftt Jr., whose handy advantage over the chasing pack was eradicated when he found himself stuck behind a GT4 car driving well under the speed limit. Jonny Adam and Derek Johnston took full advantage and jumped ahead in the pitstops to collect an easy victory.
However, the Blancpain Endurance Cup meeting at Silverstone showed that Safety Cars aren’t always the best way to go, as the race required three attempts at a restart. Race control informed the teams that the Safety Car would be peeling into the pits, but apparently forgot to alert the Safety Car driver. It was only through blind luck that the pit straight didn’t resemble a scene from the 1973 British Grand Prix…
Earlier that weekend in qualifying practice, Nicolas Armindo provided one of the strangest incidents of the year when he suddenly swerved into Andy Soucek exiting the Club chicane. What was going through his mind we’ll never know, but the outcome was clear-cut. Soucek’s Bentley was left without a scratch, but the Attempto Porsche was demolished and the sheepish Armindo didn’t take up his seat alongside Henry Hassid in the team’s Lamborghini Trofeo car.
The Andrea de Cesaris Award for biggest shunt: Phil Dryburgh, British GT Brands Hatch
Despite a late entry at Macau from Laurens Vanthoor, this award was effectively decided in April when Phil Dryburgh’s Motorbase Aston Martin was sent tumbling down Pilgrim’s Drop in the opening round of the British GT championship. The Scotsman was the innocent party when GT4 debutant Matthew Graham moved left to pass Nick Jones’ slow moving Ginetta, failing to spot that Dryburgh’s GT3 Aston Martin was already there. In an instant, he was launched into a frightening sequence of rolls, shedding bodywork as he did so before eventually coming to rest after eight or nine revolutions. Mercifully, Dryburgh emerged unscathed, but the same couldn’t be said for the car…
Brown trousers of the year Award: Markus Palttala, Renault Sport Trophy
Credit where it’s due, it takes huge skill and commitment to get this close to an almighty accident and not hit anything. After all, it’s not for nothing that the Finns are renowned for having the best car control in the world…
— Markus Palttala (@markuspalttala) September 23, 2016
The Flash Gordon start of the year Award: Nathan Antunes, Highlands 101
The best race start of the year was not made in a car, but on foot. The final round of the Australian Endurance Championship, the Highlands 101, once again incorporated a Le Mans-style running start, where all bets are off as the co-drivers sprint down the pitlane to remove a tear-off strip on the rear window.
After aggregate qualifying times were added together, Mike Almond and Dominic Storey would start first and second, but both were quickly picked off by the 6’6 frame of George Miedecke as they rounded the bend onto the home stretch. Fifth-placed starter Nathan Antunes made an even better getaway and used the considerable slipstream to close in on Miedecke as they charged toward their cars. There wasn’t much in it, but the Sydneysider narrowly reached Greg Taylor’s Audi before the Victorian could tag his father Andrew Miedecke’s Aston Martin.
Though it counted for little in the end as Almond recovered to take victory with Craig Baird in the Erebus-run Scott Taylor Motorsport Merc, it proved a big hit with fans, who got to see their heroes operating well outside their comfort zone. When can we have something similar in Europe?
— George Miedecke (@georgemiedecke) November 12, 2016
The Andy Soucek Award for best facial hair: Andy Soucek
Come on, there’s really nothing to discuss here.
— Bentley Motorsport (@BentleyRacing) September 17, 2016