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.

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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…

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