Bentley breaks through for Bathurst 12H win

#7 winning Bentley M Sport
#7 winning Bentley M Sport

After five years of trying, close-calls and heartbreak, Bentley has finally won at Bathurst.

The storied British brand triumphed in another dramatic, record-breaking Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour at Mount Panorama; breaking not only their own Mount Panorama drought but quite literally bringing the rain down as well.

Driven by French drivers Jules Gounon, Maxime Soulet and South African Jordan Pepper, the No 7 Bentley Team M Sport entry started eleventh but headed a majority of the race – only to get to the final hour in front as a major storm front passed through the Bathurst region.

The rain threatened for hours and finally poured down at the exact moment the Green Bentley crossed the line to win the race; a perfect scenario for a drought-breaking performance.

Bentley become the sixth different winner from the last six years on the Mountain; the second consecutive brand to win the 12-Hour for the first time and also become part of Mount Panorama history on a record-setting day.

At 314 laps, the race was the longest 12-Hour on record and included the longest period of racing (4 hours, 10 minutes) without a Safety Car in event history.

It’s also the lowest starting position – 11th – for a race winning car in 18 editions of the Bathurst 12 Hour.

The 59 Racing McLaren 720 GT3 driven by Ben Barnicoat, Alvaro Parente and Tom Blomqvist finished second while Triple Eight Race Engineering scored a dramatic podium finish thanks to the efforts of Shane van Gisbergen, Maximilian Goetz and Jamie Whincup.

Both cars were elevated up one position from their original finishing position following the checkered flag after the Gruppe M Mercedes – that had crossed the line in second – was penalized for a pit stop infringement following the conclusion of the race.

Race Highlights

Bentley’s remarkable win came despite a near-miss close to the finish when the car suffered a puncture moments before pitting for its final stop of the race.

“It was an amazing race," Gounon said.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]“It was really, really tense at the end because I had a puncture before the last stint so the team was really scared after the puncture of (Raffaele) Marciello.

“It was a matter of trying to keep the car away from the kerbs, the debris, so it was tense still; not flat out but trying to manage the problem. It’s amazing for us, amazing for M-Sport, I think the new car showed potential last year and we’ve never had a big win except Paul Ricard, so it’s a big one for us.

“You have those days where everything comes together for you; you see the rain dropping after I passed the line. Thanks to the racing gods I can say it was a good one. When you get a puncture while leading in the last hour at Bathurst, it’s not a nice moment but we’re standing here now."

McLaren scored their second podium finish on the Mountain thanks to the efforts of 59Racing, the 720S GT3 starring on its Bathurst debut.

Having started on the front row, the car in the hands of Ben Barnicoatwas an early leader and topped the charts several times throughout the day.

“Immediately I could feel the car was quick – I was able to get past Patrick Pilet, caught Maxi (Buhk), I saw my chance, took it and it came close but I got it right," Barnicoat said.

“That’s what we get paid for… not when you get it wrong! The pace was very good, we mixed up the strategy a bit compared to what we were thinking but in the end it all worked out."

Triple Eight backed up fourth in the 2019 12-Hour and second in the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 last October with third in the 2020 12-Hour, with their Mercedes AMG GT3 a contender all day.

“I think it’s stepped up our team and we’re still learning about this carand GT racing. Jamie and myself are still learning the car, especially at this track where we’re used to the V8," van Gisbergen said

“It was a cool finish, having a race with Matty (Campbell). He was trying to put me off, flashing the lights so I put my hazards on to put him off, got him back a bit. It’s a nice surprise to get a podium out of it."

Defending champion Matt Campbell hustled his Porsche 911 GT3 to fourth position with co-drivers Patrick Pilet and Mathieu Jaminet, while a late pit stop for a puncture relegated day-long contenders Craft Bamboo / Black Falcon and drivers Maro Engel, Luca Stolz and YelmerBuurman to fifth place.

(L-R) Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soulet celebrate on the podium.
(L-R) Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper and Maxime Soulet celebrate on the podium.

Grove Racing won the Pro Am class in their Porsche; Stephen Grove, Brenton Grove and Ben Barker finishing 10th outright.

59 Racing backed up their outright podium with a class victory in the Silver category after a storming drive by Dominic Storey, Martin Kodricand Fraser Ross – the combination finishing eighth overall.

Aaron Cameron, Broc Feeney and Nick Percat finished 15th outright and won the Invitational class while Darren Jorgensen, Brett Strom and Danny van Dongen won the GT4 category in their BMW M4 GT4.

23 of the 34 starters finished the race while seven cars finished on the lead lap, equal to the existing record.

A record three-day attendance of 43,111 attended the 2020 event; an increase of nearly 2,000 people on the previous record despite record-breaking temperatures in the high 30s for a majority of the weekend.

Race Results

Pos. Class No. Team /Entrant Drivers Car Laps
1 A-GT3 Pro 7 Bentley Team M-Sport Jules Gounon/Jordan Pepper/Maxime Soulet Bentley Continental GT3 314
2 A-GT3 Pro 60 Team 59Racing Ben Barnicoat/Tom Blomqvist/Alvaro Parente McLaren 720S GT3 314
3 A-GT3 Pro 888 Mercedes-AMG Triple 8 Shane van Gisbergen/Jamie Whincup/Max Gotz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 314
4 A-GT3 Pro 911 Absolute Racing Matt Campbell/Mathieu Jaminet/Patrick Pilet Porsche 911 GT3 R 314
5 A-GT3 Pro 77 Mercedes-AMG Team Yelmer Buurman/Maro Engel/Luca Stolz Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 314
6 A-GT3 Pro 999 Mercedes GruppeM Maximilian Buhk/Felipe Fraga/Raffaele Marciello Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo 314
7 A-GT3 Pro 912 Absolute Racing Matteo Cairoli/Thomas Preining/Dirk Werner Porsche 911 GT3 R 314
8 A-GT3 Silver 59 Team 59Racing Martin Kodrić/Fraser Ross/Dominic Storey McLaren 720S GT3 313
9 A-GT3 Pro 1 Earl Bamber Motorsport Earl Bamber/Craig Lowndes/Laurens Vanthoor Porsche 911 GT3 R 312
10 A-GT3 P/A 4 Grove Racing Stephen Grove/Ben Barker/Brenton Grove Porsche 911 GT3 R 312
11 A-GT3 P/A 12 EBM-NED Racing Team David Calvert-Jones/Romain Dumas/Jaxon Evans Porsche 911 GT3 R 311
12 A-GT3 Silver 46 Black Falcon Sergey Afanasyev/Patrick Assenheimer/M. Beretta Mercedes-AMG GT3 311
13 A-GT3 Pro 18 KCMG Ale Imperatori/Edoardo Liberati/J. Paulo de Oliveira Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 311
14 A-GT3 Silver 159 Garage 59 Roman de Angelis/Olivier Hart/Andrew Watson Aston Martin Vantage AMR 311
15 I-INV 91 SCANDIA Racing Aaron Cameron/Nick Percat/Broc Feeney Ford Mustang MARC II V8 310
16 A-GT3 Pro 76 Castrol Racing R-Motor Jake Dennis/Scott Dixon/Rick Kelly Aston Martin Vantage AMR 308
17 A-GT3 P/A 9 Hallmarc Racing Marc Cini/Dean Fiore/Lee Holdsworth Audi R8 LMS Evo 308
18 A-GT3 Pro 222 Audi Sport Valvoline Mattia Drudi/Kelvin van der Linde/Markus Winkelhock Audi R8 LMS Evo 308
19 A-GT3 Silver 29 Trofeo Motorsport Dean Canto/Grant Denyer/Liam Talbot/Marcel Zalloua Lamborghini Huracan GT3 300
20 A-GT3 P/A 75 SunEnergy1 Racing Ken Habul/Dom Baumann/Martin Konrad/D. Reynolds Mercedes-AMG GT3 290
21 A-GT3 Silver 96 Hobson Motorsport Brett Hobson/Kurt Kostecki/Garth Walden Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 288
22 C-GT4 13 RHC Jorgensen-Strom Darren Eric Jorgensen/Brett Strom/Dan van Dongen BMW M4 GT4 277
23 C-GT4 19 Nineteen Corp. Mark Griffith/Dirk Müller/Harrison Newey Mercedes-AMG GT4 270
DNF A-GT3 Pro 8 Bentley Team M-Sport Alex Buncombe/Oliver Jarvis/Seb Morris Bentley Continental GT3 225
DNF I-INV 20 T2 Racing A. Hargraves/Dan Jilesen/Steve Owen/C. Sbirrazzuoli Ford Mustang MARC II V8 203
DNF A-GT3 Pro 63 Orange1 FFF Racing Andrea Caldarelli/Dennis Lind/Marco Mapelli Lamborghini Huracan GT3 187
DNF A-GT3 Pro 30 Honda Team Motul Dane Cameron/Mario Farnbacher/R. van der Zande Honda NSX GT3 Evo 184
DNF I-INV 95 GJ Motorsport Geoff Taunton/Bayley Hall/W Luff/Brad Schumacher Ford Mustang MARC II V8 167
DNF A-GT3 Pro 34 Walkenhorst Motorsport Nick Catsburg/Augusto Farfus/Chaz Mostert BMW M6 GT3 166
DNF A-GT3 Pro 2 Audi Sport Valvoline Christopher Haase/Dries Vanthoor/Frédéric Vervisch Audi R8 LMS Evo 148
DNF A-GT3 Silver 24 Tony Bates Racing Tony Bates/Geoff Emery/Dylan O'Keeffe/Max Twigg Audi R8 LMS Evo 84
DNF A-GT3 Pro 22 Audi Sport Valvoline Mirko Bortolotti/Christopher Mies/Garth Tander Audi R8 LMS Evo 61
DNF A-GT3 Silver 6 Wall Racing A. Deitz/T. D'Alberto/Cam McConville/J. Westwood Lamborghini Huracan GT3 43
DNF A-GT3 P/A 188 Garage 59 Chris Goodwin/Come Ledogar/Max Martin/Alex West Aston Martin Vantage AMR 37
DNS A-GT3 Pro 62 R-Motorsport Oliver Caldwell/Luca Ghiotto/Marvin Kirchhöfer Aston Martin Vantage AMR 0
DNS I-INV 92 SCANDIA Racing Tyler Everingham/James Kaye/Hadrian Morrall Ford Mustang MARC II V8 0
DNS A-GT3 P/A 777 Triple 8 Engineering Anton de Pasquale/Nick Foster/Shahin/ Shahin Mercedes-AMG GT3 0
DNS A-GT3 Pro 27 HubAuto Corsa Marcos Gomes/Daniel Serra/Tim Slade Ferrari 488 GT3 0
DNS A-GT3 Pro 35 KCMG Josh Burdon/Katsumasa Chiyo/Tsugio Matsuda Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 0