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PRESS RELEASE/Bathurst 12 Hour – Photo: Darin Mandy
OBJECTIVE RACING has locked in their return to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in 2019.
The perennial outright and Pro-Am class contenders will return with their McLaren 650S GT3 next February, having posted consistently strong performances since their debut in 2016 without yet scoring much in the way of return.
Car owner Tony Walls confirmed that the team would return for a fourth campaign in a bid to score an elusive strong finish in Australia’s International Enduro.
“I went there this year with absolutely no exceptions and we were going pretty strong into the end there and in with a shot – but that’s the way it goes,” he said of their late-race non finish this year.
“The 12-hour has been ‘would’ve, could’ve, should’ve’ for us but everyone has those stories at Bathurst.
“The first year we went there we had a lot on our side that we know would have played out well. In year two we had an early issue with the alternator and we were strong again this year.
“Everyone’s keen and itching for it so we’ll go around again.”
Minor changes to the driver seeding regulations for the Pro-Am class ensures the team’s driver line-up remains fluid at this point of preparations.
Pro/Am competitors will allow for two ‘seeded’ (professional) drivers and either one or two additional bronze-ranked (amateur) drivers.
Previously, Silver-ranked drivers were eligible for Pro-Am cars alongside the two professionals, however the rules were changed for 2019 in a bid to better split the Pro and Pro-Am categories within the GT3 class.
“The change in the way they are doing Pro-Am will change our plans slightly in our driver line-up,” Walls explained.
“We always go there thinking we’ll have a crack at outright as well as the Pro-Am class, but this year’s changes mean a Pro-Am combination isn’t going to win.”
Walls said he was uncertain if adding another Bronze-ranked driver was in the plans for his McLaren – a car requiring significant experience to drive at the limit.
“If we were running an Audi we would run a second ‘Am’ driver but it’s tough in the McLaren. “We’ll see – our plans are still coming together. We’ll go to Challenge Bathurst in November and I think we’ll have the same approach as the last couple of years.”
Objective Racing has remained a contender for key results throughout each of their three 12-Hour campaigns to date. Their debut came in 2016 with Walls joined by Warren Luff, Matt Campbell and Tim Slade in the driving squad. Campbell qualified the car an outstanding third outright, before the car was forced out after issues 49-laps into the race.
Alex Davison replaced Porsche-bound Campbell in the car the following year where, despite qualifying 18th, the car ran inside the top 10 for the first three hours of the race before mechanical issues cost them multiple laps – the car ultimately finishing 20th.
Young-gun Jaxon Evans joined Slade, Walls and Luff in the car this year and though a fuel pressure issue cost them a place in the shootout – they started the race just 24th – they raced their way into contention during a strong day.
The car was running sixth outright and within shot of at least a Pro-Am class podium – if not a better result outright as well – before the starter motor failed within the final hour of the race during the final pit stop.
A McLaren scored pole and won the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12hr in 2016 in the hands of Alvaro Parente, Jonathon Webb and Shane van Gisbergen
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