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Valuable laps and good speed from BMW Team SRM at Clipsal


Reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Steven Richards and co-driver Max Twigg have emerged from the opening round of the 2016 Australian GT Championship with a wealth of knowledge and experience from behind the wheel of their stunning new #100 BMW M6 GT3.

Valuable laps and good speed from BMW Team SRM at Clipsal

In a weekend where they were forced to battle intense heat, a late decision to withdraw the car from collecting championship points and contact from other teams, the duo emerged with wide smiles at the prospect of what the new BMW brings to one of the Australia’s highest profile championships.

“The results certainly don’t tell the story of the weekend we’ve been through,” Steven Richards explained. This is a very competitive championship, and we’re up against cars that are two years into a development cycle and coming off a 12-Hour race at Bathurst.

“Despite that challenge we improved with every session, and in the final race were up onto the tail of the top ten before we were turned around in the final corner, so we’d made some big forward step across the weekend and finished with a car that carries little sign of what a hectic event it was.”

Frustratingly for the BMW Team SRM operation, the team were unable to score points with the car, due to a delay in final homologation documents for the all-new M6 GT3, forcing category organisers to withdraw any points from the team for the weekend.

“Yeah that was pretty tough, but completely outside of our control,” Richards explained. “It was just a timing thing. We weren’t the only team to be penalised, as other marques were in the same boat with their new cars, but we were the only one competing at Clipsal..”

Practice saw some competitive laps from the team, although at Clipsal it is always limited, just one single 20-minute practice session to share between the two drivers, before two 20-minute qualifying sessions to set the grid for the start of the first two races. Despite the limited mileage both drivers were happy with their pace.

“This is a great starting point, and there is some scope to move forward from here,” Richards said. “That’s what we’re here in Adelaide for, we’re here to learn as much as possible about the car.”

“It’s a blank sheet of paper at the moment,” Twigg added. “Everything we do, we’re doing from scratch. Steve and I are saying the same things about the way the car is behaving, so that’s always a good sign between team-mates.”

Richards slotted in behind the wheel to start race one, working his way through the pack ahead of the compulsory mid-race pit stop up to an impressive fourth place before handing the car to Twigg, the two though thwarted by a long pit-stop driver parity time which saw Twigg rejoin in 23rd place, the experienced GT driver working his way up to 19th by the flag.

“The car is much improved since yesterday,” Richards admitted. “I genuinely feel that we’ve breached the performance gap to the front-runners, which is very important at this stage of the program.”

Twigg was scheduled to start race two, the 2015 Australian GT podium-finisher moving up to 17th ahead of the scheduled pit stop, although he had limited opportunities to move forward with an early Safety Car intervention giving him just a handful of competitive laps for his stint, with Richards using the session to gain more valuable data, making some big changes on the car to get a better understanding of what it was capable of.

“We changed the car again, and times are reasonably competitive,” he said.

“I made a couple of mistakes towards the end; one of the changes we made didn’t quite gel with the ABS. The good thing is we can make it better by going back on that change.

“Everything we do, right or wrong, we’re learning from it. That’s exactly what we should be doing at the moment. We have to work on things, try things, and see which direction it takes us in.”

Twigg started the final race of the weekend and enjoyed the chance to move up the order early to be 11th before contact from the reigning champions at the final turn saw the #100 SRM BMW turned around. With no significant damage to the car, Twigg pressed on pitting two laps later from position 12, Richards rejoining in position 20, making up four positions before the chequered flag.

“That last race really showed some big positive improvement,” Richards admitted. “The car was much better on older tyres, the setup changes we made improved the performance quite significantly and we were both very comfortable behind the wheel. Safety Cars didn’t help our forward progress all weekend, but we also spent time on the setup of the car, so we used our time efficiently looking ahead at the coming rounds of the championship.

“Importantly the car is undamaged, and we all have a much better understanding of what we need ahead of the Australian Grand Prix in two weeks time.”

The BMW Team SRM operation will now return to their Melbourne base to prepare for the second round of the CAMS Australian GT Championship on the Albert Park Grand Prix circuit as part of the opening round of the 2016 Formula 1 season on 17-20 March.


2016 CAMS Australian GT Championship

Clipal 500, Adelaide, South Australia (3-6 March)


Qualifying – Race#1 (20-minutes) – 3 March

  1. Dean Canto (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3) – 1:21.7219
  2. James Koundouris (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 1:22.2019
  3. Elliot Barbour (McLaren 650S GT3) – 1:22.3463
  4. Grant Denyer (McLaren 650S GT3) – 1:22.4749
  5. Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3) – 1:22.7152
  6. Max Twigg (BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3) – 1:24.5297


Qualifying – Race#2 (20-minutes) – 3 March

  1. Christopher Mies (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 1:20.2039
  2. Craig Baird (Mercedes AMG GT3) – 1:20.6530
  3. Nathan Antunes (McLaren 650S GT3) – 1:20.8621
  4. Nathan Morcom (McLaren 650S GT3) – 1:21.0813
  5. Marcus Marshall (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 1:21.3064
  6. Steve Richards (BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3) – 1:22.6806


Race#1 (40-laps) – 4 March

  1. Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3) – 24-laps
  2. Nathan Morcom (McLaren 650S GT3)
  3. Klark Quinn/Tony Quinn (McLaren 650S GT3)
  4. Mark Griffith (Mercedes AMG GT3)
  5. McMillan/Wood (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3)
  6. Twigg/Richards (BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3)


Race#2 (40-laps) – 5 March

  1. Marshall/Koundouris (Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 21-laps
  2. Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3)
  3. Wood/McMillan (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3)
  4. Klark Quinn/Tony Quinn (McLaren 650S GT3)
  5. Greg Taylor (Audi R8 LMS GT3)
  6. Richards/Twigg (BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3)


Race#3 (40-laps) – 6 March

  1. Tony Walls (McLaren 650S GT3)
  2. McMillan/Wood (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3)
  3. Matt Solomon (Mercedes AMG GT3)
  4. Canto/Taplin (Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX GT3)
  5. Martin/Tebb (Porsche 997 GT3-R)
  6. Twigg/Richards (BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3)