Hong Kong’s Craft-Bamboo Racing finished 3rd overall and 2nd in the pro-am class in their maiden outing at Mount Panorama. The three drivers, engineering team and pit crew all put in stellar performances to help secure a well-deserved podium after a nail-biting conclusion to the 12 hour race. This is Craft-Bamboo Racing’s second international endurance podium finish since taking third place at the Dubai 24 hour in 2013.
Two-time Bathurst winner Darryl O’Young (HK) started the race from 5th position in the #97 Autoart-Biante-liveried V12 Vantage GT3, after Stefan Mücke’s (DE) strong qualifying session in his inaugural weekend on the Mountain. “It was a great race this weekend, I’m really proud of the team; the mechanics made perfect pit-stops and my teammates drove really well,” said O’Young. “Of course, I was looking for my third win but we are very happy with the podium here because it was a really tough competition against all the top factory teams. I think the goal will be to come back with Craft-Bamboo next year and try to win this race.”
The privateer team of Craft-Bamboo Racing took the fight to the factory backed efforts of Audi, Bentley and Nissan, constantly battling it out with the top five throughout the race. With only three hours left, O’Young was in the lead of the race before pitting to switch drivers to Alex MacDowall (GB).
MacDowall was able to put in a solid and consistent effort to keep the team in the running for a podium. He finished his stint and pulled into the pits where the crew was able to once again perform flawlessly, getting Mücke back out onto the track as fast as possible to see off the closing stage of the race.
Due to numerous instances requiring the safety car, 12 hours of racing had boiled down to the final couple of laps with Mücke in 4th position. In a heroic display of driving, Mücke was able to lunge past the factory Bentley on the last lap of the race and claim a step on the podium for Craft-Bamboo Racing, only 2.8 seconds behind the lead car. “The race was very tough for us, everyone in the team did a great job, we did not have the fastest car on the track in terms of top speed so it made it a bit difficult, but all three drivers were just amazing in how they performed today and we are really pleased for Craft-Bamboo to be on the podium at the end of that tough race against those factory teams, so we can all be very happy.”
The #99 Craft-Bamboo Racing V12 Vantage GT3, claimed a respectable 9th place in the Pro-Am class. The drivers Frank Yu (HK), Jonathan Venter (AU) and Jean-Marc Merlin (FR) fought hard to bring the car home. During Friday’s practice session the car suffered extensive damage after the passing #88 Ferrari made heavy contact resulting in the Craft-Bamboo car hitting the wall. The team made a herculean effort to repair the vehicle but it unfortunately suffered some minor problems during the race due to overheating.
With a 100 percent finish rate for both of the Aston Martin vantage V12 GT3s it was a successful weekend for the Craft-Bamboo Racing team in their first outing at the Mount Panorama circuit. This success would not have been possible without the support from the team partners, Autoart, Biante, Gravity, POAD, J2M Racing, Kee Wah and ECM. We would also like to give a special thanks to the team’s two technical partners, Michelin and Aston Martin Racing.