THE BIGGEST ever Bathurst 12 Hour was a huge success and the list of ‘Hot’ could have been twice as long. But the Power Rankings exist to be as balanced as possible so there’s some ‘Not’ here, too.
WORDS: Richard Craill, Mark Walker, Dale Rodgers
IMAGES: Dale ‘I didn’t fall over in pit lane’ Rodgers
IT WAS an incredible weekend on the Mountain so it seemed apt that this mark the 2020 return of our famous / infamous Power Rankings for 2020.
Do you agree? Disagree? Get on the socials @theracetorque and let us know!
Enjoy the first edition of The Power Rankings for the new decade…
Tried for five years; missed the podium by one spot once, podiumed on two other occasions and could have won last year if not for that damn kill switch on the steering wheel. A great result for the race, the brand and the sport in general because you know they’ll dine out on this one for a year.
2. THE BATHURST 12 HOUR
Every year at the end of the race John Hindhaugh exclaims ‘Bathurst Delivers!’ and every year he is right. Across almost every aspect this is now one of the best events in Australia and holds its own as one of the best examples of long-distance racing anywhere in the world.
3. TOWN TO TRACK
How they top this next year we don’t know, but sending the full field into Bathurst was a masterstroke and despite scorching temperatures, drew thousands out on the Thursday pre-event.
4. THE TV PRODUCTION
Not contributed by our very own Richard Craill, because he is way too modest, but the entire TV production was excellent. Great insight from the commentators, a slick production completed at a fraction of the budget that is spent on the October race, and unique aspects like the Pirelli pit bunker, which explain a complex strategic scenario simply. Great ratings, too.
5. QUALIFYING CAMPBELL
Don’t need to explain much here. Played to the strength of the 911 and delivered another Bathurst first for Porsche after winning the thing last year. He’s been a full factory driver for two events now but that one lap probably made it worth Porsche’s while already.
BATHURST is the best track in the world for the current GT3 Balance of Performance System because it gives everyone a go, somewhere across the lap.
Go on, argue with us, we’ll wait.
7. TENSION CAUSED BY LATE RACE RAIN..
..but it was good that it didn’t happen and bugger the race. The rain afterwards was great for the region, so everyone won from this except the BoM who were exactly 3 hours, 45 minutes late in their foretasted time the rain would hit.
8. INTEREST – WORLDWIDE, MANUFACTURERS & MEDIA
A record number of international media attended the event. Social numbers were off the charts and interest globally has never been higher for the 12-hour. Should probably send some love Skippy’s way for sending the event viral on Saturday morning, too. At last count there’s something approaching 5 million views of the Kangaroo Pace Car moment..
9. CONSTRUCTION OF GT3 CARS
Did their very best work on the weekend in saving several drivers involved in monster shunts. They are extraordinary racing cars especially given their road car origins and all the praise in the world must go to the brands, teams, rulemakers and officials for how tough they are.
10. HONOURABLE MENTIONS
Race Control – For a second year in a row the boys upstairs nailed it. From the calm, efficient management of the Safety Car and yellow interruptions from Race Director James Taylor to the fair and equitable dishing of penalties for issues in pit lane by Craig Baird (15s for the car controller infractions would have been a drive through in previous years) meant once again the race re-set distance records and had limited yellow running. There were times the Safety Car could have been called for stopped cars – the Bostick Audi, for example – but they gave it time to breath and stayed green for as long as possible. And despite leaders pitting when the Safety Car was called, not once did they get the wrong car in the train, either. A+ effort.
59 Racing – few thought the new McLaren would be this good, except the team themselves. Nailed the strategy, reliable, racy and engaging as a team overall – this was a big win with the Silver class car probably the bigger story. (Martin Kodric, in particular!)
Percat/Feneney/Cameron – Never really in doubt that they would win, but their relentless consistency and Percat’s qualifying performance was epic.
All Nighter from Trofeo Motorsport – the true spirit of Bathurst. Already up all day Saturday, the team worked through the night to rebuild the battered Lambo that Canto parked on the wall at Skyline. Then had to do a full day in the office getting it to the flag, which they did.
12 HOUR BOOK
You should definitely pre-order the new 12-Hour book being produced by AN1 Media and edited by our own Richard Craill right now. You can get all the details and info on how to order by clicking here.
Never been to a sporting event with a better quality crowd than the Bathurst 12 hour. Generous BYO alcohol and not that much security but I didn’t see one incident the entire weekend. Was a great time for all #B12hr— Motorsport Matty (@motorsportmatty) February 3, 2020
STACKED the deck with their three-car Pro entry but had a horror day with all of them out of contention by mid-race. For the most successful brand in 12-Hour history, this wasn’t how the weekend was supposed to go and you can’t help but feel for Troy Russell and his hard-working crew from Melbourne who put such an epic program together.
Van der Linde’s fastest lap at the end was the consolation prize for a weekend that left them with two smashed cars and little else to offer.
2. EARLY WEEKEND SHUNTS
Have you ever seen the kind of carnage that we did on Saturday? Hot conditions, drivers searching for a lap time that wasn’t going to be there and silly errors – among other things – contributed to some destroyed race cars and a truly incredible day on the Mountain that we’re unlikely to see again.
3. CHARACTER REFERENCES
He said-she said in the heat of the moment makes for great TV but in reality isn’t a great look for anyone and Saturday, in particular, proved that again.
4. GRUPPEM’S LAST PIT STOP
One-Percenters have cost this team a shot at victory two years in a row now despite arguably having the quickest Mercedes-AMG on the Mountain for most of the weekend. For the second year in a row they claimed hard-done by but rules are rules and they were in breech and it cost them a podium.
5. VARYING PUNCTURE OUTCOMES
This was an odd one but several cars, the winner included, dodged a bullet when it came to a puncture. Bentley got both ends of the spectrum because the same scenario killed the No. 8 car’s remarkable drive from behind but this was a key storyline all day and one we’ve not had for a while at the Mountain.
6 WEATHER: HOT/WIND/DUST/RAIN
Friday and Saturday were furnace-like; many said only the Adelaide 500 has offered tougher trackside conditions in their motorsport experience. And then Sunday was like a furnace, in a dust bowl that featured a thunder storm, with winds gusting to 50km/hr plus. Incredible.
7. BRAKES ON CAR 1
A massive let down for a pre-race favourite who proved throughout they had the pace to win the show.
You felt from the moment that they confirmed shipping delays had hurt Walkenhorst early on that they were on the back foot, and so it was. The only car in the weekend to actually hit a Kangaroo, the usually fast M6 was strangely anonymous all weekend long.
9. CLASS COMPETITION
Class racing is at the core of the 12-Hour and the weekend didn’t deliver too much. The vaunted Super Trofeo cars were a no-show, while the gearbox issues ended the GT4 fight early. We still believe the MARC Cars add to the race; but a 100 lap win for the outstanding Percat / Feeney / Cameron car showed the lack of depth once the others had struck issues.
10. THE COMMUTE HOME
Unless you get a private plane out of Bathurst, it sucks more than a BMW ingesting a plastic bag. Can we get some high-speed rail or, ideally, Star-Trek style transporters to Bathurst, please?
Lewis: ‘The @F1 Safety Car is too slow!’
Meanwhile in Australia… 🦘🦘❤️
— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) February 3, 2020
BOND, JAMES BOND