GWS Survive Bathurst's Toughest Test The GWS Personnel BMW 130i team endured a character building Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour over the weekend, with the two team machines racing hard to the finish despite a pair of early setbacks. The lead car,...
GWS Survive Bathurst's Toughest Test
The GWS Personnel BMW 130i team endured a character building Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour over the weekend, with the two team machines racing hard to the finish despite a pair of early setbacks.
The lead car, crewed by Peter O'Donnell, Allan Shephard, Christian D'Agostin and Steve Briffa fought back from an early race electrical glitch to be placed 15th after 12 gruelling hours, while the second GWS entry with Geoff Fontaine, Bruce Thomlinson and David Ryan on board was classified in 18th.
In an event featuring an incredible range of weather conditions, much of the race was slowed behind the safety car, and was actually stopped at one stage when a tree fell on the circuit in the early afternoon.
"All of the running under the safety car really made it hard to make up time," said O'Donnell.
"We lost about 24 minutes trying to uncover and fix the electrical problem, but luckily we had my road car BMW 130i on hand to use for spare parts.
"Once we were back on track it was a rocket, and without the dramas you can always ask 'what if?'"
While it was only O'Donnell's second ever Bathurst 12 Hour, a personal highlight was being behind the wheel for the 6:30am start from grid position number 24.
"From my perspective, to take the race start and drive for the first hour was pretty awesome.
"Christian and Steve were bloody quick, and their advice during debrief sessions held over the weekend was invaluable in getting Allan and myself up to speed.
"I think after the weekend we have had, and the development miles put on the car in recent times, it will set us up for a really good year."
For Shephard, the early race glitch makes him all the more hungry to have a strong season in preparation for next year's 12 Hour.
"After the gremlins, the car ran faultlessly, and we would have otherwise have been on schedule for a top-ten finish," said Shephard.
"The team and the drivers worked like clockwork all weekend long, you really couldn't ask for a better combination of speed and stability."
Unfortunately the second team car suffered a setback when it made contact with the slow moving Alfa Romeo, bending the front suspension, which required significant pit lane attention.
O'Donnell and Shephard now will now focus their efforts on the Australian Championship, which is scheduled to continue in Tasmania in April.
GWS Personnel and True Blue Motorsport would like to thank The Shire Conveyancer, Spinifex Australia, Rogue Lager and Briffa Smash Repairs for their continued support in the Australian Manufacturers Championship and Bathurst 12 Hour.