Throughout the 12 hours race, the Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 battled it out within the top five...
Bathurst - Aston Martin Racing partner team Craft-Bamboo Racing finished a thrilling Bathurst 12 Hours in third overall, with its V12 Vantage GT3 crossing the line just 2.8-seconds behind the leader in a dramatic four-way last-lap battle.
Also claiming a podium position, Aston Martin St Gallen took second place in the GT4 class, in a race that saw all four entries from the brand cross the line despite a record number of safety cars.
The #97 V12 Vantage GT3 - driven by Aston Martin Racing works drivers Stefan Mücke (DE), Alex MacDowall (GB) and two-times Bathurst 12 Hours winner Darryl O'Young (HK) - started the race from fifth following a strong qualifying session from Mücke in his maiden weekend on the Panorama Mountain circuit.
Going into the final lap, I had my sights on the top three and I was determined to get the result that the whole team deserved.
Throughout the 12 hours, the team battled it out within the top five and, on the last lap, Mücke was in fourth. In a heroic last battle for a spot on the podium, the 33-year-old German closed the gap and made his move on the Bentley, taking the position and crossing the line in third.
"The V12 Vantage GT3 was fantastic all week and the Craft-Bamboo Racing team did an amazing job to give us a car that could get on the podium in its first attempt at the race.
“Going into the final lap, I had my sights on the top three and I was determined to get the result that the whole team deserved. Along with the Audi, I applied the pressure to the Bentley and managed to get past on the final corner. It was a great way to end a fantastic week in Australia."
The Aston Martin St Gallen team headed to Bathurst with the aim of repeating its 2013 podium and the small team from Switzerland will leave the Mountain with its mission complete.
Dr Andreas Baenziger and Dr Florian Kamelger, dealer principals at the Aston Martin St Gallen dealership, qualified in second place and led their class for much of the race, often running within the top half of the grid overall. When the chequered flag dropped they crossed the line in second place, the team's best result at Bathurst to-date.
"We are so happy for the team that worked hard to prepare a car that was just perfect," commented Kamelger. "As expected, the race was a long and tough one. We are extremely proud that we could finish second in class on this demanding track here Down Under."
It was a solid maiden weekend for Banbury-based team Motionsport and its V12 Vantage GT3. The team quickly got to grips with the 6.0-litre 600bhp machine to have a trouble-free race. After 12 hours, the all-British line-up of Gordon Shedden, Ben Gower and Pete Storey crossed the line in eighth in the Pro-Am class and 23rd overall.
Just behind, in ninth place in the Pro-Am class, the #99 Craft-Bamboo Racing V12 Vantage GT3 of Jonathan Venter (AU), Jean Marc Merlin (FR) and Frank Yu (HK) crossed the line to complete a 100 per cent finishing rate for the Aston Martin entries.
"What a exciting race that was," commented Aston Martin Racing Team Principal John Gaw. "Congratulations to Craft-Bamboo Racing for its overall podium result and to Aston Martin St Gallen for the GT4 podium - both huge achievements.
"It was a tough race that had a record number of safety cars, so for all of our teams to cross the line is a success in itself. All our teams represented our brand exceptionally well and our cars ran pretty much trouble-free.
"With a class podium for the Strata 21 V12 Vantage GT3 in Dubai 24 Hours and a pole position at Daytona 24 Hours a fortnight ago, this is a great start to the year for us with our factory-supported customer teams."
The 2015 V12 Vantage GT3 customer programmes will be announced in the coming weeks.