Ginetta Cars will start second and fifth for their Bathurst 12 Hour debut with the mighty Ginetta G55 GT4, with Mike Simpson and Jake Parsons putting in some impressive lap times during the 60-minute qualifying session to set the grid for the iconic event.
Earlier in the day, Simpson continued his domination of the top of the timesheets, setting the Class C benchmark in the fifth and final practice session with a 2:18.407 ahead of qualifying, whilst team-mates Shinya Sano and Zen Low collected more valuable miles ahead of Sunday’s main event.
In qualifying Simpson was quickly up to speed, dropping his best time to an impressive 2:17.925 to be second fastest, but he found more and was up by half a second on his best lap before traffic – and a red flag period – thwarted any further progress, whilst in the #69 car, Jakes Parsons turned in his best lap of the weekend to date to claim the fifth fastest time.
Mike Simpson, Ginetta Factory Driver: “There was a pole lap for sure in the car. It was frustrating, at the start the GT3s would scream past you on the straight, then stop in front of you to prepare for their quick laps, and kill any chance you had of keeping up the momentum. On my quick lap I was fully committed across the mountain and six tenths up, but caught the slowest guy in the field, who was unfortunately faster than me on the straight and not interested in giving way to me. The lap times are there, the race is 12 hours and we were only two tenths off in qualifying. The car’s perfect, and we’re expecting a good race!”
Jake Parsons, Driver; “Qualifying was good. We improved the car through yesterday, and came out today and the car didn’t miss a beat. We made some good grounds too – I was three seconds faster, so I’m feeling really comfortable for the race.”
Team strategy will see Peter Paddon start the race in the #55 car, whilst Aidan Read will be behind the wheel of the #69 car for the 5:45am start.
For RA Motorsports Team Manager Chris Papadopolous, confidence was high heading into the main race, but the experienced engineer was quick to point out that he never makes predictions heading into an endurance race.
Chris Papadopolous, RA Motorsports Team Manager; “There are too many variables to consider, so the expectation is just to do everything we can and look for the best result possible. We have a driver line-up that doesn’t have the experience around Bathurst that many of our rivals do, but they’re all getting quicker and understand that 12 hours is a long race, where anything can happen. We didn’t come here to just compete, we came here with a plan, and we’ve already shown just how competitive the G55 is, so we’re hoping to leave here on Sunday night with smiles all round!”
2017 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12-Hour Qualifying (Class C)
1. McMillan/Wood/Enge/Kofler (KTM X-Bow GT4) – 2:17.713
2. Simpson/Paddon/Berryman (Ginetta G55 GT4) – 2:17.925
3. Cowham/Kearns/Jarvis (Porsche Cayman GT4) – 2:20.031
4. Mason/Drinkwater (Porsche Cayman GT4) – 2:20.438
5. Low/Sano/Parsons/Read (Ginetta G55 GT4) – 2:20.924
DNC. Putman/Espenlaub/Foster/Pilgrim (Porsche Cayman GT4)
EXC. Pilgrim/Braams/Viebahn/Moller/Madse (Porsche Cayman GT4)
DNQ. Baenziger/Leemhuis/Struve (Aston Martin Vantage GT4)