2018 Bathurst 12 hours

Seems odd that this blog has been on hiatus since the 2017 Bathurst 12 hours, but the 2018 edition seems like as good an excuse as any to put a few shots up on the interwebs.  If you’re interested in more frequent updates, please follow @rennphoto on Twitter and Instagram.

20180204-IMG_945620180203-076A8638The 2018 race was another memorable event.  Whether you call the venue the “Blue Hell” (coined by Maro Engel) or the “Monaco of the Outback” (coined by Tim Pappas) or just “the Mountain” as a shorthand for Mount Panorama, there is no question that the Bathurst 12 hour race is now a mandatory fixture on the global sportscar racing scene.


The quality of teams and drivers, the support of manufacturers, and the amount of global attention are tangible signs of the event’s prominence.  After all, an event three hours west of Sydney is not nearby or on the way to anything else, so there is a serious commitment of time, energy and resources to make it happen.

20180203-076A8329The story of the race has been told in media and print elsewhere, but a few points of note here…

20180203-076A8533First, two Pro-Am Porsches outran many full factory driver squads and came within a hair of a 1-2 overall win.  If not for an early race stoppage, the Audi and Mercedes that finished at the top would have needed another pit stop for fuel and would have surrendered the lead.  The shiny green Black Swan Racing Porsche made its first visit to the Mountain and impressively claimed third overall and first in the Pro-Am class.  The #12 Competition Motorsports Ice Break/Virgin Australia car shares Southern California was right behind, following their class win and second overall in 2017.  Both cars sport Southern California connections which is a great sign of international support.

20180202-076A778720180202-076A8010Second, safety cars played a major part in the first half of the race before the race was ended early due to a major crash.   The early safety cars allowed amateurs to get their drive times in early and turn the wheel over to their professional co-drivers.  The interruptions also allowed cars to stay on the lead lap or catch up when they fall behind.

20180204-IMG_9142Third, Bathurst is a great spectator track.  Plenty of different views and angles and viewpoints.  Rewards if you’re willing to do some walking.  Easy to get around.  Spectator friendly areas atop the pit lane complex.  Shuttle buses.  Seats, seats with shade, places to bring a lawnchair or spread a blanket, places to set up a picnic area under a tent.  Camping trackside.  To be fair, lodging is sparse near Bathurst, food is relatively expensive, and mid-summer weather can include blazing sunshine to rain.   Same could be said about most race tracks in some form though…

20180203-IMG_8431The unique format of starting in the early morning darkness is wonderful.  The dark running doesn’t last long before the sunrise claims the day, but it is wonderful.

20180204-076A8762Make your plans to join the fun trackside or follow along via the web in 2019.  In the meantime, enjoy this gallery of a few selected shots…





2107 Bathurst 12hr – Team Castrol Vodafone BMW M6 GT3

For the first half of the race, the number 7 Team Castrol Vodafone BMW M6 GT3 was the most competitive of the BMW entries.  Others had crashed, encountered problems or dropped back on pace.  The driving line-up was superb – Aussie standouts Mark Skaife, Russel Ingall and Tony Longhurst joined ex-F1 ace Timo Glock who was making his first visit to the Mountain.

Glock qualified the car in 7th and took the green flag in the darkness.  With the early caution, he got a chance to enjoy a Bathust sunrise in his first visit.  After five hours, the #7 was in third place overall – only seconds behind the leader.   Just before halfway, Ingall was trying to set up a slower car for a pass when he ran out of racetrack and hit the inside wall in the Esses quite hard.  Severe damage was inflicted on both the front and rear wheels and broke steering, suspension and hub bits.  The incident forced retirement and the car spent the remainder of the race in the garage.

This car was one of the most striking and photogenic in the field.  Big kudos to the livery designer.  Enjoy the pics!


2017 Bathurst 12hr – Wall Racing Porsche 997 Cup

Number 6 in the 2017 Bathurst 12 hour field was a local entry with four Aussie drivers in a bright yellow Porsche Cup car.  The amateur entry included Richard Gartner, Aaron Zerefos, Indiran Padayachee and Ric Shaw.  They finished, credited with 22nd place over all and 4th in class.  I can not find a photo of the car showing any damage or even so much as a wheel rub tire mark on its flanks or dent on its nose.  Congrats to the drivers and team on a clean run and a finish!  Enjoy the pics.

2017 Bathurst 12hr – GT Motorsport Audi R8 LMS

The #5 Audi sought to defend its 2016 class win at the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hours. Unfortunately, the team of Greg Taylor, Nathan Antunes, and Elliot Barbour came up short, retiring the car with only 161 laps completed.  The car showed pace – Antunes steered the Audi into the top 10 qualifying shootout as the only Audi to do so.  Sadly, the engine cover removal is usually a bad sign.  The culprit was contact from another car to the left rear.  Great livery and great run while it lasted.  Enjoy the pics!

2017 Bathurst 12hr – Team ASR Audi R8 LMS

The #3 Audi R8 LMS with KFC sponsorship prominently shown finished 7th overall  (2 laps off the lead) and second in class (one lap down).  The three drivers were Ash Samadi, Daniel Gaunt, and Matt Halliday in the Pro-Am entry.  Colonel Sanders was on the flanks rather than behind the wheel.  At the end, the car looked remarkably clean.  Well done. In a sport with so much B2B sponsorship, it was nice to see a consumer goods sponsor – like KFC or not.  Enjoy the pics!

2017 Bathurst 12hr – DJS Racing Audi R8 LMS

Largely an amateur effort, Daniel Stuttard, James Bergmuller, Samuel Fillmore piloted the #2A DJS Racing Audi R8 LMS with charity in mind.  Challenge is an Australian nonprofit dedicated to supporting kids with cancer and Challenge 72 is a group of members that get together several times a year in support of the cause.  The matte black Audi sported colorful Challenge logos and names of kids on its bodywork.  On the track, the car covered 272 laps but was ultimately classified as a DNF.  Hope to see them again next year!

2017 Bathurst 12hr – Tenko Autosports McLaren GT

The #1 Tenko Autosports McLaren GT finished 5th overall, one lap off the lead.  The strong driver line up of Rob Bell, Alvaro Parente, and Come Ledogar.   Bell has extensive GT racing experience, including recent McLaren GT experience.  Parente not only has prior experience, he has been a McLaren factory driver since 2012, won the Pirelli World Challenge GT championship in a McLaren in 2016, and won the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hours race overall.  Come Ledogar is also a McLaren factory shoe, so the line up was very strong!  Enjoy the pics!


New Project – Bathurst 12 Hours

Ever been to the Bathurst 12 hours race in Australia?  If not, add it to your bucket list.  What a marvelous event.  Great track, great entry, great sight lines, great access, and some close racing.  The event has been growing in exposure and popularity.  Entrants and drivers now come from across the globe to join the Aussies.  Many top teams have factory support and factory drivers.  Aussie drivers include many of the top GT and Supercar drivers.  It is a great mix.  If you want to know more, check out this overview and visitor guide in The Southwest Star.

We’re going to take the opportunity to use this blog to share a few photos on each entry.  Some may have more to choose from than others, but we should be able to give a reasonable overview of the field.

Hang on and enjoy the ride!


Getting back into the groove…

After an absence from these pages, it is time to get back to it.  The good news is that there is much to talk about.  For starters, let’s include a variety of links:

Motorwerks Magazine – check out the story on page 96 written by Morgan Haber leading up to the Bathurst 12 hours.  Morgan would drive a BMW M6 in the race.  The issue was somewhat delayed, so the preview story ended up coming out just after the race.  Fortunately, we were able to contribute some photos in support of the story.20170203-076a9563

The Southwest Star – 1Q 2017 – Rabbit the First, a story of a Benz-Mercedes in the midst of an engine restoration.    What a fascinating car and story.  Special thanks to Jay Leno for the tour of the car and some of its historical documentation.


The Southwest Star – 1Q 2017 – Travelogue from the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour race.  A truly remarkable event.  If you have the slightest inclination of attending, read this story for some thoughts and tips.  We expect to have a photography tour of the event shortly.