Bathurst, 5 February 2017 – Ferrari wrote another page in its legendary history in GT racing, taking the Bathurst 12 Hour for the second time. This is one of the most difficult races in the world, held on the 6.2 km Mount Panorama track in New South Wales, Australia. Succeeding in the undertaking along the up and downhills of the “Blue Hell” was factory Ferrari driver, Toni Vilander, with Australian Melbourne natives Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, who took turns at the wheel of the Maranello Motorsport 488 GT3.
Close fight. At the finish, the Ferrari was more than a lap ahead of the nearest contenders, the Competition Motorsports Porsche driven by Calvert-Jones-Long-Lieb-Campbell, but the final standings is not faithful to the real situation, which was an extremely heated battle from the first lap until 50 minutes from the end. The Ferrari of the Mark Coffey’s team, the only one on track, was involved in overtakes and counter-overtakes in a three-way battle between the Baird-Van Gisbergen-Engel Mercedes and the Porsche that later finished second. It was a close fight with the Mercedes hitting the Ferrari in the initial stages, earning a drive-through penalty.
Accident. It was Shane Van Gisbergen who made life simpler for Jamie Whincup in the final stages of the race, losing control of his Mercedes as he attempted to make up ground on the Ferrari and crashed violently just into the last hour. Whincup, in his first race aboard a Ferrari, thereby managed his lead which, with the main rivals out, was more than a lap over the Porsche. For the Australian, Vilander and the 488 GT3, this is the first win at the Bathurst 12 Hour. For Maranello Motorsport and Craig Lowndes, on the other hand, it is the second win in four years. In fact, in 2014, the first victory ever arrived in the Australian marathon with Lowndes, Mika Salo, Peter Edwards, John Bowe and the 458 Italia GT3. This year’s race was witnessed by a record crowd with over 40.000 spectators over the three days of the event.
Toni Vilander: “Being able to win such a difficult race on the first attempt makes me proud. Everything was perfect right from the start of the weekend. The race was very close but my teammates, the team and the car were simply unbeatable today. I think the 488 GT3, designed by Ferrari and developed with Michelotto, currently represents the state of the art in GT racing”.