16 April 2022 | General

Survival stories abound in 6-hour pit lane

STORIES of through-the-night repairs, dashes for spare parts, replacement engines and the typical Bathurst drama have filled the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour pit lane overnight. 

Despite several major issues yesterday, the 6-Hour remains at the 67-car benchmark that commenced practice yesterday with several stories of long nights and massive commitment from teams already filling the paddock as the field heads towards qualifying this afternoon.

The first car to strike drama was the #17 Misch’s Excel Garage Toyota 86, driven by Mitch McGarry, Shane Nowickyi and Jayden Wanzek, which blew an engine in practice one yesterday.

Fortunately for the Adelaide-based team, fellow competitor Wayne Russell – who is racing a BMW with his sons Drew and Aaren – offered a spare that was located in their Newcastle workshop.

A member of the Misch’s team made the eight-hour return drive to Newcastle to source the replacement powerplant, with the team finishing the installation at 1:45am on Saturday morning, ultimately leaving the circuit at 3am.

Stalwart Production Car outfit Osborne Motorsport also had their share of engine dramas in practice, a blown unit in their #31 Renault Megane RS265 driven by Josh Haynes and Michael Osmond.

A replacement engine has been installed, with a new engine map uploaded to both cars in a bid to prevent the issues yesterday reoccurring.

Determined to get back in the show, the #51 HSV Astra team of Chris Holdt, Madeline Stewart and David Ling will take a lesson from the Production Car racing playbook to get their car back on track after a Clutch Master Cylinder failed yesterday.

The issue was caused by the car’s Traction Control overheating the unit, with a replacement unable to be sourced on Friday.

The team was waiting for Bathurst’s Auto Parts stores to open on Saturday morning in a bid to source a replacement, however team manager Troy Williams confirmed that plan B was the purchase of a suitable donor car – in this case, a 2010 Holden Cruze – in a bid to source the part.

Should that be the outcome, those without a ride home from Bathurst on Monday should talk to the Astra team for a cheap ride home on Monday.

A spectacular Pit Lane fire saw the #118 DA Transport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo out of practice two yesterday evening, the car driven by Dean Campbell and Cameron Crick lucky to escape from what looked to be a serious blaze.

The quick actions of the pit lane fire crews ensured the car has escaped major damage from the fire, caused by a fuel breather hose dripping fuel onto the hot exhaust.

The team confirmed the car is good to go today, though will carry the scars on the vinyl wrap for the remainder of the event.

Crick and Campbell had been among the quickest Class A1 contenders prior to the incident.

Finally, the biggest crash of the day came when the #11, 11 Racing Subaru BRZ of Murray Dowsett, Brad McDonald and Mitch Maddren found the fence at the top of Mount Panorama.

The car had substantial damage on the left-front corner however another Bathurst all-nighter has the car ready for third practice on Saturday morning.

Finally, after suffering an engine failure yesterday, the #16 Levitt Motorsport Mercedes C63 AMG has had a replacement engine driven from Brisbane overnight – thanks to Jones Motorsport.

The replacement engine arrived this morning with the team thrashing to have it installed prior to qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Coverage today commences at 12:00pm on Stan Sport – Live, ad-break free and on demand – in Australia and Motorsport.TV around the world.