BERIC LYNTON and Tim Leahey’s brand-new BMW M3 Competition certainly lived up to it’s high performance tagline in the opening practice session for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour this morning, at Mount Panorama.
RESULTS: Practice one
With Orange-based driver Tim Leahey behind the wheel, the dark blue BMW stunned the six-hour field with a remarkable 2m24.117s lap within the first 30 minutes of the one-hour session to put the paddock of notice of their performance intent.
Set in cool conditions perfectly suited to turbocharged cars, the lap was 1.3 seconds faster than the qualifying record set last year by the similar-specification Sherrin Racing BMW M4.
It is easily the fastest ever lap recorded by a Production Car at Mount Panorama.
The BMW ended up several seconds faster than the Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X RS driven to second outright by Jordan Cox.
His 2m26.443s lap was set later in the session on the car’s 15th lap and bumped the Sherrin Racing BMW M4 (2m26.873s) to third place.
Internet hero Cox will share the car with his father, Graeme, and car owner Michael King.
With the defending polesitters third in the Sherrin BMW, fourth was the Dylan Thomas / Tim Slade CGR Performance / Hi Tec Oils Mitsubishi while Chaz Mostert hauled the DPO Ford Focus he will share with Nathan Morcom to fifth place (2m28.403).
Craig Baird and Garth Walden were first of the Mercedes-AMG brigade in sixth (2m28.48) just in front of the second CGR Performance Evo driven by Steve Owen and Daniel Stuttered – Owen another to bank his time late in the session.
Steven Johnson drove the second Garth Walden Racing AMG A45 to eighth place, before handing over to co-drivers Marcel Zalloua and Rob Woods to complete the session.
Jeremy Gray and George Miedecke were the first of the Aussie-built cars, their FPV GT-F Falcon banking a solid 2m29.125 to go ninth.
Tenth was a surprise: Brett Howard placing the No. 69 Holden Commodore SSV Redline to the fastest time in B2 and a surprise position towards the outright pointy-end of the grid thanks to his 2m30.718s.
BMW, Mitsubishi, Mercedes-AMG, Ford / FPV and Holden were all represented in the top-10.
With Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey quickest in class A1, A2 was topped by the Hodges / Coulthard HSV Commodore 2m31.365s.
The Gore / Bensley / Galang BMW 135i topped B1 (High Performance – Forced Induction) with a 2m33.41s with the Howard / Virag / Krinelos Commodore 10th outright and first in B2 (High Performance – Normally Aspirated).
Subaru topped Class C (Performance) thanks to a strong run from the MY06 Impreza and a 2m39.76s lap set by Andrew Williams.
The Honda Integra driven by David Baker topped Class D while the Nissan Pulsar – steered in practice one by Iain Salteri – topped Class E.
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour field will tackle a further one-hour session later this afternoon at 1:40pm.