BMW entrants dominated the early running as practice for the inaugural Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour commenced today at Mount Panorama.
Luke Searle and Barry Graham (BMW M135i) combined to top the times across a pair of 50-minute practice sessions today, their 2m27.00s lap edging out the #19 Sherrin Rentals BMW 135i by just 0.086s in a competitive start for the brand-new Bathurst enduro.
Both BMWs set their fastest times in a cool early morning practice session, while light rain during the lunch break ahead of practice two made the afternoon running slightly slower for the outright pace, though Searle topped that session too.
Searle’s practice one lap was 0.1s beneath the Mount Panorama production car lap record (set by Terry Bosnjack, driving a Mazda RX-7, in 1999) and only 0.2s slower than Steve Owen’s qualifying record set for the 2010 Bathurst 12 Hour.
In a day dominated by the German marque’s, the brand-new Mercedes Benz A45 AMG entered by Garth Walden and Ben Porter finished the day third overall – second quickest in practice two.
The impressive new car had only completed limited testing prior to this morning’s opening session however ran faultlessly and quickly to place itself as an outright contender early in the running.
Experienced production car campaigners Beric Lynton and Tim Leahey finished fourth in the Bruce Lynton BMW 1M just edging out the DPO-supported 335i driven by Nathan Morcom and V8 Supercars ace Chaz Mostert.
Mostert hauled the now near 10-year-old BMW into fifth place on the combined times at the end of the second practice session.
The strong Mitsubishi brigade focussed on race preparation today with the lead CXC Global Racing Lancer EVO X of Dylan Thomas and Terry Nightingale sixth overall.
All 50 cars entered for the race successfully completed laps today.
Tomorrow’s 6-Hour sessions include a further practice session tomorrow morning prior to a two-part qualifying in the afternoon.
A one-hour session for all cars will be followed by a 15-minute standalone session for the fastest 20 cars from qualifying one.