GWR’s Garth Walden has hit out at driving standards of some competitors in Sundays Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 hour, after the Vodka0 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 run by his GWR team had been taken out of the race.
The ex-Petronas SLS was driven in the round the clock race by car owners Ash Samadi and Dean Grant, while Max Twigg was the third driver.
With Samadi behind the wheel at the time, the SLS received a hit from the #10 Bentley Continental driven by Matt Bell as they went into the right hander at the start of the chase, and it sent him on a nightmare ride spinning backwards into the concrete wall on the outside of the circuit causing an enormous amount of damage.
“It needs a new shell unfortunately, and yesterday I sourced one from AMG, the cost $41,000 euro’s, and 350 man hours required to do the re-shell,” Walden said.
“While the Bentley continued on virtually undamaged, we were left with a write-off.
“I felt so sorry for the team, they worked so well together, and did a fantastic job all week.
For its part in the incident, the #10 Bentley was given a drive through penalty.
“It was a real shame to get taken out the way we were. the Europeans play for keeps, but the way they do it is certainly questionable. He could have waited a split second longer before trying to stick his nose in.
“That Bentley that hit us had taken other cars out as well and it’s just not right.
The Vodka0 SLS had been steadily moving up the leader board all day, and at the time of the accident at the 8 and 1/2 hour mark was in 17th position.
“The car was going like a bird, it hadn’t missed a beat all day, and with the way they were dropping out and having problems, we would certainly have climbed into the top 15, and there was also a good chance of a top 10 finish,” Walden said.
“We had the only car in the race with all three gentleman drivers, and they were punching out good times and keeping their nose clean in the heavy traffic.
Walden also said Samadi was uninjured but still a little sore.
” It was a huge impact,” Walden said. “Ash who is just disappointed for the team, said he saw the Bentley coming before the Chase, and didn’t think he would fire down the inside so late. He said he was disappointed for his other drivers, but annoyed with the Bentley driver.
“We are now organising to get the new shell shipped out, and we should be able to start it in April.
He said the next scheduled outing for the SLS and the same three drivers that competed on Sunday, is at the end of May in the Zandvoort 12 Hour race.
Walden was also a little disappointed with the Radical Cup Australia in which his GWR team ran three cars.
It looked like a good weekend, but in the final race while we got Nick Kelly home in second, the other two cars of Kostinken Pohorukov and John Morriss were involved in incidents when in top positions.