BRAZIL’S Augusto Farfus set the pace for BMW after the opening practice sessions for this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The Mount Panorama rookie clocked a 2m03.6953s in the No. 43 Schnitzer Team BMW in the closing moments of Practice 2, pipping long-time session leader and fellow Bathurst newcomer Frederic Vervisch in the No. 22 Jamec-Pem Audi.
“It was quite impressive!” Farfus told Radio Le Mans after his maiden laps of the circuit.
“This one, Bathurst, definitely goes on top of my favourite circuits.”
ENTRY LIST: World-class grid looms for 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour
Farfus said he leaned on his teammates, Supercars star Chaz Mostert and sophomore Bathurst 12 Hour racer Marco Wittmann, to try and shortcut the learning process.
“You need experience to know where to put your wheels — I definitely got a lot of help from my teammate,” he said.
“Luckily having good guys on my car helps me get up to speed. P1, it’s a good start to the weekend.”
Timo Glock made it a 1-3 for the Munich marque, just 0.29s shy of the quickest time aboard the No. 100 SRM Team BMW car, while Andrew Bagnall also cracked it into the 2m03s to take fourth place in the No. 82 International Motorsport Audi.
Farfus’ time indicates a hot pace early in the weekend, his lap almost half a second quicker than the fastest time in the same session last year.
The first of the McLarens ended the session in fifth place, Frazer Ross listed as setting the time in the No. 47 YNA Autosport McLaren, although transponder issues meant the trackside timing screens weren’t always showing the correct driver.
Audi set the pace in the opening session, Stuart Leonard clocking 2m06.86s aboard the Belgian Team WRT-entered R8 LMS late in the half-hour session, held in cool conditions under cloudy skies.
41 cars headed out for the opening dig, with Platinum and Gold-seeded drivers in Class A having to wait until the second session for their first hitout of the weekend.
The session was red-flagged almost as soon as it started, the No. 540 Black Swan Racing Porsche losing a wheel and stopping on Mountain Straight just after leaving the pits. The remainder of the session ran trouble-free.
The No. 47 YNA Autosport McLaren clocked the second-fastest time with Bathurst rookie Alexander West behind the wheel, although the timing screens initially attributed it to Supercars star Scott McLaughlin.
Leonard’s time was just under half a second shy of the fastest time set in the same session last year.