No Stopping Mazda on the Mountain
Despite enduring a frustrating Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour last weekend, the Grand Prix Motorsport Mazda 3 MPS team of Jake Camilleri and Scott Nicholas recorded their best ever finish in the event, and nearly cracked the magical outright top-ten.
The crew displayed stunning pace in the wet race, and at times were the fastest car on the circuit despite persistent braking dramas which held the crew back to an 11th place finish, and second in the STP Performance Car class.
For team manager Graeme Murray the result is somewhat bittersweet, with the outfit more than capable of a stronger result if it were not for the niggling issues.
"In the three years we have taken the Mazda 3 MPS to Bathurst, this is the strongest the car has ever been," said Murray.
"We spent a lot of time concentrating on the front of the car, and for some unknown reason the left-hand-front brake calliper was leaking air into the braking system throughout the day.
"During the race we had to make three or four extra pit stops, which just threw our strategy out the window, but Jake and Scott did an awesome job considering the problem and the conditions.
"There's not a scratch on the car, and they were right on the pace all weekend long; to race with only two drivers for the entire 12 hours in those conditions is really quite an achievement.
"I couldn't be happier with the guys on the team, they did a top job all weekend long.
"I think looking at the results sheet, the standard of the field was so much higher this year, which bodes well for the future of the event.
"Bring on the rest of the Championship, the six-hour at Eastern Creek and the 12 Hour next year, we can't wait!"
With the Bathurst 12 Hour also counting towards the Australian Manufacturers Championship, it puts Camilleri and the Grand Prix Motorsport crew in a strong position heading into the second round at Tasmania's Symmons Plains Raceway in April.
Grand Prix Motorsport would like to thank Castrol, Esanda, All Star Tuning Systems Allianz for their continued support.
"It's almost a bit hard to take because it was so perfect in practice and qualifying, and the car had incredible pace throughout the race.
"In the wet we could get about an hour of running before we had to come in an bleed the brakes, and in the dry it was about half an hour.
"The safety cars saved us in some instances, but on the other hand it made it very hard to make up lost ground to the opposition.
"The team did an awesome job all weekend long, as did Scotty, and it's a shame that such a little problem, one that we have never seen before, cost us a top result."
"It was a lot of hard work with next to no brake pedal, but we had to keep on circulating until we could fix it up under the safety car.
"The car was a rocket in the wet and the dry, Jake was outstanding in the wet, his times were quicker than everyone.
"It just goes to show how everyone underestimates the Mazda 3 in the wet, the handling balance was just incredible.
"All credit must go to Graeme and the crew for building an outstanding race car, as it managed to finish ahead of a lot of well respected outfits."
-source: gp motorsport mazda