Published on March 21st, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
BMW Team SRM in the Thick of the Grand Prix Action
After making their debut in the Australian GT Championship just two weeks ago on the streets of Adelaide, BMW Team SRM team-mates Steven Richards and Max Twigg backed up in their BMW M6 GT3 at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne for the second round of the championship, mixing it with some of the leading teams across four demanding – and often Safety Car affected – 25-minute races.
Frustratingly for the Melbourne-based pair, and for that matter, the bulk of the Australian GT field, the shorter race format meant that all four races would incur an additional penalty to the post race finishing times.
Under Australian GT rules, qualifying positions and driver experience usually incur an additional ‘parity’ time penalty during the compulsory pit stop [CPS] as drivers make the changeover. With less than 25-minutes on the clock for each of the four races at the Grand Prix, there wasn’t time to conduct a CPS, so the penalty was applied to their finishing times.
Almost predictably, a number of the races saw Safety Car interventions which negated any advantage the experienced drivers established, ultimately forcing them well down the order once the final race positions had been established, something which the BMW Team SRM operation suffered more than most.
After qualifying just outside the top ten, race one was a short-lived affair for Richards with contact on the run to turn one forcing the rear bumper of the BMW M6 GT3 onto the tyres and ultimately the end of the race.
Starting at the back of the pack in race two in the changeable conditions on Friday, Twigg drove a sensational race to work his way from 32nd to fifth within a handful of laps, aided by a decision to stick with wet weather tyres whilst around him others changed to slicks.
He held on too, and as predicted the rain returned, but it came a lap or two too late, his rivals catching him a couple of laps from home.
The third round of the CAMS Australian GT Championship will be held at Barbagallo Raceway in Western Australia on 6-8 May alongside the V8 Supercars, with the fourth round of the championship just three weeks later at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit in Victoria, the scene of the opening round of the Australian Endurance Championship on the very same weekend.