Updated: Sep 30, 2021
Kabort's Bathurst story began on the 18th February, when I would officially begin practicing (I'd done laps before, but never in true anger. On the 21st February I'd complete my very first full stint (well, 29 of 30 laps). Early the following week (22nd - 24th) the teams were approved.
Orange (Ferrari 488 GT3)
Colin Van Rooijen (NDL)
Joost Bouwmeester (NDL)
Jorge Vazquez (ESP)
Green (Lamborghini Huracan EVO GT3)
Robin Truswell (GBR) Sam Thurtell (AUS) Jonathan Keen (GBR)
Gold (Lamborghini Huracan Evo GT3)
Brayden Smith (AUS) Jacob Smith (AUS) (Brother of Brayden) Tennyson Whitty (AUS)
Blue (BMW M4 GT3) Emmanuel Ijere (USA) - New For Bathurst
Nash Fry (USA) Maxim Badidi (NDL)
Red (BMW M4 GT3)
Lorenzo Malave (USA)
Adam J. Pearce (GBR) Daniel Weber (GER)
I'm pleased to say that every driver practiced very hard for the Bathurst 12 Hours - many hosting and joining many (sometimes countless) amounts of sessions.
After practicing for quite a while, Truswell would enter Arron Brown's (also a part of Kabort) practice race...or well, the practice session before the race - as the race itself would clash with EES (European Endurance Series) at Twin Ring Motegi.
Say what you like about priorities - but I wasn't going to let Joost get disqualified because his second driver was off doing a race in Australia. The result of the Twin Ring race may have been poor, including losing iRating - but Truswell is sure that the practice race practice session helped him achieve his first stint the very next day.
Hidden amongst the conversation, Keen says that Green (our Kabort car) is doing Timeslot 1 - the timeslot for the Australians and alternative time-zones (midnight/10pm GMT), however, I must have missed this as it was only on Friday 26th February (at 3pm) did I suddenly realise what was happening and that we were running the 10pm - 10am stint due to Sam being busy/unavailable on Sunday. Later that day, I'd participate in the "WOSR Fast Friday" practice race - the first race having a rather messy start and the second of the two races having a start-incident (Lap 1) involving me.
This would happen at the perfect time as I'd retire the car just as the 10pm GMT Bathurst 12 Hour Session would be kicking off.
Green's Race (Lamborghini Huracan GT3)
The first car to hit the track for the 2021 iRacing Bathurst 12 Hours was the Green car at 10pm GMT.
Sam would qualify the car 20th - but at Bathurst, qualifying doesn't matter...it's about keeping it out of the walls, keeping the car on the track and running laps.
The start of the race went absolutely immaculately - Sam threading the Wide Boii Lamborghini past the walls for the first hour with only a spin (final corner, didn't go off-track) and a 1x (for brushing a knat off the wall)
Sam would finish his super-stint in 9th. Next up, it was me...and I absolutely BEASTED my stint - Other than being shafted up the rear by a BMW (got caught out by my braking zone) I ran a completely clean stint and a 0x other than that!
I'd once again finish the stint in the top 10.
Jonathan was the third and final driver of us three to get in...and in the beginning it looked alright....
Jonathan would last half his stint before painfully spinning up the rear tyres of his car and faceplanting the wall at the cutting. It wasn't too heavy of a hit - but the pointy nose of the Lambo must have got...."unpointy-ed" It'd be 11 minutes of repairs...all that hard work of keeping it out of the wall and keeping it clean unfortunately rather "undone", but that's Bathurst, these things happen and I'm sure the Racing Gods held onto that itch to take out the Kabort Car for many, many laps and just couldn't take it any longer.
In my disappointment (that the car was in the pits), I went to bed and attempted to sleep, but the fear of me missing/sleeping through my alarm had me lie awake. I had "micro-sleep" short bursts of sleep for what felt like seconds - they could have been minutes - or a couple dozen.
After Jonathan's stint, the Mountain would bite Sam too, his mistake throwing the team from 18th to 27th....it was a long journey up. By the time I got in at 5am GMT (or so) the car was up to 20th position, not bad considering the tough time we'd been through - I finished my double-stint in 13th - 2x in 2 hours (off-tracks) at Bathurst still a bloody achievement! That bought my total up to 6x....really not bad all things considering!
The end of the race wouldn't end so cleanly... Sam would do his final stint (almost missing the pit-lane as he finished up his stint - earning us a much preferred stop and go than a tow back to the pit-lane) Jonathan's final stint followed and then mine...I'd make it all the way to 11 hours and 52 minutes before getting my wheels just a millimetre over the kerb at Skyline which pitched my car into the inside wall. I'd drive half the circuit with ruined steering, making it to the pitlane in disappointment. The Thurtell/Truswell/Keen team worked really well and had it not been for some bad luck, I think we could have got a top 10. We only lost a single position due to my "error at the end" The beauty of this is though that there is always next year...and only more practice and luck can get us there.
All Kabort teams did the 12:00 GMT Session. Red and Gold were in the same split and managed to finish 7th and 9th respectably - an absolute dream result for the team after a a tough start whilst Orange had an absolutely devastating double DNF.
Red's Race (BMW M4 GT3)
After qualifying 31st, Kabort Red had a long day ahead of them....
A first lap incident dropping them down to 49th due to repairs was the last thing they wanted - but the mountain bites everyone and they powered on, even despite this. Despite gaining 14x (incidents) after the first stint - the race was still young and with 11 hours still remaining on the clock, anything could happen.
Lap by lap they climbed and climbed and climbed - with only 24 running by the end of the race, many suffered - but the Red Crew dodged (almost) every single dying car and came home to match last year's best Bathurst result (Will, Sam & Robin in the Ferrari 488 GT3) of 7th place
Gold's Race (Lamborghini Huracan GT3)
Gold by name, Gold by nature Tennyson Whitty slapped the All-Aussie Gold Lambo on the second row - third position - with an insane 2:04.064 only -0.03 off second place and 0.458 seconds off pole position a milliscule difference - and beating Kabort's best qualifying at the Bathurst 12 Hours by miles!
Other than lapping Red, Gold rarely saw red - Gold having an immaculate start, launching into P2 and staying there until madman Whitty took the lead....yes, you read that right A KABORT CAR LEADING THE BATHURST 12 HOURS....WHAAAA?! This truly shows that slapping an All-Aussie team together is an unbeatable force.
Brayden (Smith) would get in after Tennyson and keep the lead - unfortunately in his second stint, they'd have a slightly slower stop and re-emerge in second place.
Brayden's brother Jacob would next get in, but after recovering to forth (from 7th), the unimaginable would happen: Kabort Gold would get struck.
The car would fall to 14th and it'd be a massive sting - but these Aussies had grit and weren't going to give up - not after such an amazing start.
Apologies over and Brayden was back in the car and had fuel to burn.
At the end of the 12 Hours, they'd finish 7th - Bathurst Bites, we all know that - and it can strike at the worst possible time - but had Bathurst not bitten...who knows what it could have been - but that's what makes this event so exciting! I'm sure these boys will be at it again next year...and probably to right some wrongs!
Orange's Race(s) (Ferrari 488 GT3)
Orange had pitiful luck all weekend - qualifying for their first race in 38th, they were certainly in the thick of the "danger zone".
Joost reports an incident/accident at the cutting where someone "tapped" into their rear - giving them 15 minutes of repairs - this being followed by self-inflicted accident in his second stint. With Jorge in P40, and no enjoyment to be had - they retired the car and attempted the 4pm - 4am stint. Q: 38th
Despite the prospect of having to two-man the Bathurst 12 Hours with Joost (Jorge not being able to drive), qualifying for Colin Van Rooijen went slightly better than the first race - the
After jumping 8 positions to 20th after the first lap - in the beginning it looked like a very good decision...however as said before Bathurst is a biter and she don't bite light....Colin had made it to 15th before the barrier found him (or he found the barrier) and shot him down with an incredibly lengthy repair.
After the events of Race 1 still fresh in their mind, they never made it to the flag.
Blue's Race (BMW M4 GT3)
The last (but not least!) of Kabort's entries was a the Blue BMW M4 GT3 of Maxim Badidi (NDL) Emmanuel Ijere (USA) and Nash M. Fry (USA)
Just like the majority of the other cars, Kabort would qualify low - 33rd in this instance - but as Red & Gold have proved...qualifying position doesn't decide finish position.
The team would start well - Badidi absolutely shooting of the line, launching the team into the Top 15 by the time the first pit-stops came around.
Badidi would only continue to impress, firing the team into the top 10 (10th) before staying there for a short while.
As his second stint wore on and others faulted, Maxim only kept on performing - in 8th by the time he had to swap around with Ijere who was new to the team.
Ijere kept up with Maxim's pace and impressed....even going to the extent of then putting the car in the Top 5...Top 3 and then the lead....Two Kabort cars leading laps at Bathurst....we must be doing something right!!!
With about a quarter of the race left to go (give or take 3 - 6 hours) and the metaphorical Titanic hit the metaphorical iceberg...things started to go wrong - first a stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit-lane (putting them in P3) - this was fortunately undone when P1 disconnected/crashed leaving the Kabort car in 2nd....it was looking like Kabort Blue were on for a fantastic result before.... Emmanuel's internet crashed. No words can even begin to describe the pain and agony this must have caused - especially starting from 33rd and the struggle up to this point.... It's one hell of a heart-breaking thing that you cannot do a single thing about....you just watch...and stare.
As a famous actor once said in a famous movie "the show must go on" - and unfortunately Max and Nash had a job to finish....a sad one...one of the thoughts of what could have been.
The team resumed from 9th and fought on for a handful of laps before leaving the car in the garage as they headed home. Bathurst ain't an easy special event - not physically or mentally - but with Sebring up next....there's a lot of chatter around the server!
Q: 33rd R: 9th