Stunning Start to The Bend Classic as Record Chase Begins

AN IMPRESSIVE start to the 2020 The Bend Classic has seen an array of stunning historic, classic and modern sports and racing cars take to The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.

And while the variety of cars was a highlight, a building lap record challenge is also on the cards as the competitive stakes also climb a level compared to the inaugural event last year.

The first day of competitive running saw each of the six classes tackle practice and two against-the-clock sprint sessions as competition builds towards Sunday.

Each class will have four separate sprint sessions before the top two from each category face off in a single lap shootout to determine the winner.

The 10 fastest overall cars from the two days running will then tackle The Classic Shootout, which will determine the overall winner.

Brabham won the 2019 event, Ash Walsh setting a new West Circuit lap record to take the inaugural crown.

Yasser Shahin topped the overall times today with a flying 1m15.548s best in his Porsche 911 GT3R.

That time was just 0.5 seconds off the Brabham’s 2019 record best setting up a challenge for supremacy on Sunday.

Racing in two classes, Shahin also topped the Formula 1 & Racing cars category in a The Bend Motorsport Park-owned Formula Toyota FT-40, one of the circuit’s Michelin Drive Experience vehicles.

The 1m16.938s time placed him just in front of brother Sam’s Dallara F189 Formula 1 car and Brenton Grigoul’s Lola Larrousse LC88. Times are expected to drop across the board on Sunday as the competition heats up.

Defending champions Brabham were fifth overall in the bright-green BT62, though yet to truly fire a shot in their Classic title defense as they focussed on development rather than outright pace today.

Kean is cross-entered in his Footwork FA-15 F1 car but today battled fuel pressure problems, believed to now be resolved, with that car likely a contender on Sunday.

Competition throughout each of the six categories was strong: A strong field of 13 Vintage cars put on a show in their class, Robert Butcher (Formula Junior Lotus 18) topping the times with a 1m42.994s best in the second sprint.

Dan Jeffries (Elfin Streamliner) was the only other car in the ‘49s, his 1m49.782s best placing him second overall.

Mark Goldsmith (Elfin 400 Ford Cobra) topped the Open Sports & Racing category in a series of tight competitive sprints, his 1m29.851s best in Sprint 2 the only sub 1m30-second lap of the day.

Jim Doig (Motorlab ASP) was a narrow second thanks to his 1m31.080s with David Benda’s Lola T590 third with a 1m31.697s.

In the strong field of Historic Sports Sedans, Simon Podlewski’s Mercedes-Benz 450SLE topped the times thanks to a 1m21.332 best – one that placed him in the top 6 fastest cars overall. He bested Simon Pfitzner’s Datsun Stanza (1m28.817s) and Mark Haig’s 1m31.647s aboard his V8-powered Datsun 510.

While Yasser Shahin topped Modern Sports in his Porsche, competition behind was tight.

Kevin Weeks put his stunning Lamborghini Gallardo Superlegerra second overall with a 1m22.885 while Chris Melengraaf topped the brigade of Porsche GT3 Cup Cars and placed third in class.

Other highlights included at-speed demonstrations of both the Porsche 911 GT1 and a McLaren P1 GTR – with both cars to return on Sunday.

Action resumes on Sunday with a packed Fathers day program set to conclude the 2020 event.

Admission is free for spectators with on-track action commencing at 9:00am.

TOP 10 TIMES - SATURDAY

  
    

 

Yasser Shahin

Porsche 911 GT3R

Modern Sports Cars

1m15.548

 

Yasser Shahin

Formula Toyota FT-40

Open Wheel / F1

1m16.938

 

Sam Shahin

Dallara F198 Cosworth

Open Wheel / F1

1m18.308

 

Brenton Grigoul

Lola Larrousse LC88

Open Wheel / F1

1m18.843

 

Josh Kean

Brabham BT62

Modern Sports Cars

1m19.569

 

Simon Podlewski

Mercedes-Benz 450SLC

Historic Sports Sedans

1m21.332

 

David Smoker

Lola Larrousse LC87

Open Wheel / F1

1m21.948

 

Kevin Weeks

Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera

Modern Sports Cars

1m22.885

 

Chris Meulengraaf

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

Modern Sports Cars

1m24.298

 

Malcolm Ramsay

Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

Modern Sports Cars

1m25.164

 

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