The McLaren 720S GT3 enjoyed a memorable first weekend racing at the world-famous Mount Panorama circuit in Australia with Customer Racing team 59Racing. The Australian team scored both a second place overall finish and class win with a pair of entries in the 2020 running of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, Australia’s premier GT endurance race.
Racing as part of a field of over 30 cars from all of the major marques in GT3 racing, the pair of 720S GT3s entered by the team outlasted the searing heat trackside and both came home in trophy-winning positions after 12 hours, covering a record-breaking 1,950 kilometres.
The #60 Pro class entry secured second place finish after a race-long battle for the podium positions, which saw the driver trio of Factory Driver Ben Barnicoat, former event-winner Alvaro Parente and Spa 24 Hours-winner Tom Blomqvist remain in contention throughout. Parente put the car on the front row of the grid during an intense qualifying session to put the team in a strong position for the start of the race, while teammate Dominic Storey in the #59 720S GT3 also found success claiming pole position in the Silver class.
Unique to the Bathurst 12 Hour event, the start of the race takes place ahead of sunrise, presenting the drivers with a new challenge as they take on the tricky 6.213km circuit in the dark for the first time. During the opening laps, the #60 car took an early lead in the opening hour of the race after a bold move by Barnicoat with the sun rising. A strategy gamble in the opening stages, combined with consistently being one of the fastest cars on track, saw the drivers battling for positions at the head of the field, remaining in contention throughout the full 12-hour battle. Late race drama for the leading cars saw a number of changes to the order at the front of the field, and with rain just starting to fall at the end of the event, Blomqvist brought the car home on the lead lap to secure an historic debut result.
The strong performance by 59Racing in the Pro class was mirrored with the #59 Silver class entry. McLaren Professional Driver Martin Kodrić joined Australian GT race-winner Fraser Ross Australian GT Endurance champion Dominic Storey, and each showed impressive pace throughout. At the chequered flag, the trio took victory in the hotly-contested Silver class and secured an impressive eighth place finish overall, against a truly world-class field. Kodric, making his Bathurst debut, also set two of the three fastest laps of the race.
The 2020 edition of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour was a record-breaking event, watched by its largest ever trackside crowd of over 40,000 spectators. The entry list also featured a record 11 different GT3 manufacturers with 33 entries. During the race, the front-runners completed the most distance of any previous edition, covering 312 laps.