Taming the Mountain in 12 Hours
Image thanks to Select9
The Autohaus Hamilton motorsport team kicked off 2014’s competitive season in style over the weekend, enjoying three days of thrills and spills on The Mountain for the Bathurst 12 Hour amongst many of the world’s leading GT drivers.
“Collectively the team brought together a huge amount of ability and expertise, so it was just a matter of turning that into teamwork and synergy. It was reassuring to have the familiarity of Grant as well as the integral experience he brought to the team!” - Shane Smollen
Owner/driver Damien Flack and drivers Shane Smollen and Rob Smith contested the 12-Hour in Damien’s 2011 997 Cup Car, supported by Nexus Racing and Autohaus Hamilton motorsport.
“Several parts of the track were faster than ever due to the resurfacing. Even on day one of a totally green track there was a noticeable grip difference in key sections. It will only get better.” - Shane Smollen
Our focus going into practice was on developing a good setup that would work throughout the changing fuel loads and conditions.
We developed the car well throughout Friday’s practice sessions and by the end of the day we had a set up that was very close to what we needed for the race. The first session of qualifying, however, was a little more eventful. After topping Friday’s times Shane took the car into the first qualifying session.
“The team had the car nicely sorted after a late Friday night. We went into qualifying confident and jumped onto the pace quickly on our first flying lap.”
“Mid-way through my second hot lap I came over the brow at Reed Park, encountered the Jason Bright incident, had nowhere to go and collected the Porsche Cup S running in front of me. That ripped the entire front right corner right out of the car and resulted in an early end to qualifying one.” - Shane Smollen
The team rebuilt the car and got it out in time for the second qualifying session, but with the weather heating up the track was getting slower and most teams did not improve on their session one times. Shane’s single hot lap from qualifying one was good for a mid-field start, however, leaving the team in a decent position for the race.
In the eyes of a motorsport team, a good endurance race is often an uneventful one. Other than some tyre issues we kept out of trouble throughout the race, maintained consistent speeds and fought our way up to 11th outright and third in Class B, which made us the first team home in the event without a professional driver.
The 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour produced a challenging but fun weekend and a great start to what’s set to be Autohaus Hamilton’s biggest season in motorsport yet! Make sure to keep an eye on us, and head to facebook.com/autohaushamilton to get involved in the discussion.
“The 12-Hour is a fantastic event and this year it enjoyed great support from both media and spectators. The exceptional media attention reflected the ever growing interest in this true international event. After such a strong showing we’re really looking forward to competing again in 2015.” - Grant Geelan
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