Tuesday, 22 April 2014 00:00

Top five run for M-Motorsport at Bathurst

Dual Victorian State-Series Production Sports Car champion Justin McMillan took to Mount Panorama Bathurst for the second time this year during the Bathurst Motor Festival over the Easter weekend, the Lamborghini pilot joined once-more for his second stint at ‘the Mountain’ by 2012 race winner Ross Lilley.

Sharing the driving duties in McMillan’s state-title winning Lamborghini Gallardo Super Trofeo - resplendent this time in the colours of Freem Racewear - the duo were consistently within reach of the leaders, but hampered by the additional 300kg the 4WD Gallardo carries over the cars stable-mate, their 2013 Interlloy-supported Gallardo FL2 GT3.

“The difference is dramatically obvious as you climb Mountain Straight once you leave the pits,” McMillan explained. “The car just doesn’t have the sheer power of the GT3 car, in fact it’s down something like 30km/h on the run into turn two. The weight also affects the dynamics of the car, and to be honest, I’m not sure how I took it to two state titles, it’s a very different car to drive to my Australian GT car.”

Despite the differences between the two Gallardos, both McMillan and Lilley were quick during their two qualifying sessions, although both admitted to getting caught up in traffic.

“With the wide disparity between the cars at the front and the cars at the rear of the field, it was a real art trying to find a clear window of opportunity to record a time,” Lilley said post-session two. “I’m pretty happy with the pace I have, so to be tenth of 46 cars is okay by me.”

For Lilley the opportunity to come back to Bathurst after the heavy contact the Interlloy Gallardo GT3 car made with the ‘Skyline’ wall during the 12-Hour event in February was something he relished, and he didn’t show too many signs of the incident slowing him down.

“That’s all a part of motor racing - it wasn’t the ideal end to the race, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about hitting that oil and the resultant contact with wall on my first few flying laps around the circuit, but I’ve also won here too, so it’s not as if Bathurst is new to me, I just take it as it comes.”

McMillan was behind the wheel for the opening race, and he discovered pretty quickly why GT-esque cars aren’t built for standing starts.

“I got a great launch, but the Lamborghini two rows in front of me stalled, and the Ascari between him and me almost clipped him, in the process moving right to close off my escape route, so I had to dive between the stationary Lambo and the wall, and there wasn’t much in it I’ll give you the tip,” he quipped afterwards.

Having dropped back a number of positions as a result, and with little to fight for, he just concentrated on pumping out a sequence of consistent laps - well, in between Safety Car interventions. “There was some mad driving up there, at times very unpredictable, so it was safer to just sit where you had a buffer in front and behind and just concentrate on getting lines right and pumping out quick sectors.”

Lilley was next up, jumping behind the wheel for his ten-lapper into the setting sun.

“The first corner was almost completely blind, I could hardly see a thing as were driving directly into the sun, so I just had to hope I didn’t hit anything and I turned as soon as I could see the apex approaching and away we went.”

As a result of another great start, the all-wheel-drive Super Trofeo had moved comfortably inside the top ten, Lilley electing to let some of the quicker cars through as the laps wound down, and like team-leader McMillan discovered the sensibility of that decision mid-race.

“The two GT3 Lamborghinis were in front of me dicing for position, and they caught one of the Porsches across Skyline. Chris Withers dived ahead as they went into the braking point, but the Porsche wasn’t willing to concede and two-wide through the Esses doesn’t work and inevitably one of the two lost out - sadly it was our stable-mate for the weekend, Chris Withers LP520.”

The contact immediately brought out the Safety Car with the field circulating behind it until the damaged Lamborghini was cleared leaving a short run to the flag, Lilley crossing the line comfortably inside the top ten.

McMillan was back behind the wheel for the final race of the weekend, the one-hour compulsory pit stop race late on Easter Sunday afternoon.

The Freem Lamborghini again got a blistering start to put McMillan well inside the top ten on the run up Mountain Straight for the first time. He maintained a steady pace and sat comfortably off the tail of the Porsche that was involved in the race two incident across the top of the mountain, handing the car over to Lilley who achieved just a couple of quick laps before a huge accident on the run into ‘The Chase’ again brought out the Safety Car. The safety crew spent more than 15 minutes clearing the carnage before a single flying lap was provided to end the race, the gorgeous black Super Trofeo home unscathed in 14th place.

“The car is straight, that was the main thing for me this weekend,” McMillan said post-race. “We were clearly able to go quicker, but there wasn’t much point. This isn’t the FL2 GT3 so we were never capable of outright victory, especially not against 2014 Carrera Cup cars, and we saw a number of times that cars immediately in front of us were involved in big crashes, or potentially big crashes.

“We achieved what we set out to do, the car looks as good as it did when we loaded it, and we got more valuable miles. Now it’s on to Phillip Island and the 101-lap enduro at the end of May [23-25] for round two the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli.

“Phillip Island suits the FL2 perfectly, and after setting pole position at Sandown for the opening round, we know we have the pace.. I can’t wait!”

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Keep up to date with further announcements from the M Motorsport/Interlloy race team by visiting; www.facebook.com/MMotorsportGT3

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2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli
Rnd#1 - 28-30 March, Sandown, Melbourne, Victoria
(2x 60-minute races - The Nationals)
Rnd#2 - 23-25 May, Phillip Island, Victoria
(101-lap race - The Nationals)
Rnd#3 - 4-6 July, Townsville, Queensland
(3x 40-minute races - V8 Supercars)
Rnd#4 - 22-24 August, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
(2x 30-minute, 1x 60-minute races - V8 Supercars)
Rnd#5 - 12-14 September, Sandown, Melbourne, Victoria
(3x 40-minute races - V8 Supercars)
Rnd#6 - 7-9 November, Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, NZ
(101-lap race)

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M-Motorsport is proudly supported by Interlloy Engineering Steels and Alloys, Australian Post Tensioning, Vibrabody and Freem.

About Freem
All Freem Racewear products are 100% Italian designed and made from the highest quality materials available using skilled craftsmen and women to produce both ready to wear and bespoke race wear.

A winning approach to being different has earned Freem the reputation of anything is possible, bringing innovative style to discerning customers looking for a one of a kind experience.     

For more information, please visit; www.freemcom.au

www.facebook.com/MMotorsportGT3
www.mmotorsport.com.au

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