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The Big Weekend: Bathurst 12 Hour and V8 Supercars Supertest.

The most anticipated motorsport showdown in Australia came to a head on February 8th, with Sydney Motorsport Park playing host to the V8 Supercars Supertest while Australia’s legendary mountain racetrack, Mt Panorama, was home to a large international contingent for the annual Liqui-Moly 12 Hour.

Politics aside. it was horses for courses as each event catered for their own audience; the Supertest showcased some world premieres, namely new livery, the debut of the final Australian Ford Falcon FG-X plus the new aero package for Nissan’s Altimas, new cameras mounted on cars and, importantly for the category, debuting the broadcast between the Ten network amd Fox Sports Australia, complete with new graphics and logos.

It was also the first time the testing had been held over two days, allowing the teams more data logging and a chance to utilise old tyres left from the 2014 season. It opened up a new format, with Saturday (a coolish day, as it turned out) having a three hour session to close out the first day before moving to the traditional track walk after a two hour opener then concluding with a full field shootout.

The aerodynamic changes to Nissan’s Altima (ironically, available with a four or six cylinder, only) appeared to pay off, with the Kelly brothers topping the time sheets, plus the overall gap between first and twenty fifth was well under two and a half seconds.
There’s some conjecture as to how relevant these times were, given the teams were using 2014 rubber and were restricted to using new tyres for the shootout only. Ford driver and co-winner of the 2014 Bathurst 1000, Chaz Mostert, was ultimately the quickest but by an incredible 0.008th of a second and just 6/100ths of a second off fourth place getter, team mate Mark Winterbottom, banking a cool $2500chaz-mostert-v8-e1423371290763.

At Mt Panorama it was a dream fest for fans of Aston Martin, Bentley, Audi, Ferrari, Porsche and V8 powered Mazdas, plus the circuit had the pleasure of the company of Felix Baumgartner. Don’t recognise the name? Perhaps thinking of someone jumping from a balloon a number of kilometres about the earth’s surface may help.

The race started just before six am and would soon see the return of Australia’s favourite hopping creature to the circuit, bringing out the first of what would be over twenty safety cars. The term “rubbin’s racing” would very quickly be seen throughout the race, with numerous contacts throughout the twelve hours, including racing royalty David Brabham being pushed into the wall by an Aston Martin. An Australian engineered MARC entry, one of the V8 powered Mazda3’s, had an incredible impact at Skyline, skipping straight across the “kitty litter” and impacting, at high speed, the tyre bundles, destroying the bodywork in a cloud of dust.

Nissan had entered here as well, with the GT-R; naturally whispers of the return of “Godzilla”, in respect of the early ’90’s beat that was almost unstoppable, started to circulate and so it was. With just ten minutes to go, a one lap safety car period bunched up the field, with a Bentley leading and desperately holding off a n Aston Martin, Audi and GT-R. On the final lap at the final turn, positions changed and the GT-R, driven by a young Japanese man, Katsumasa Chiyo, that had participated in an academy, an academy that took people that were good drivers in a console computer game, became the winner.