Tony Longhurst capped off his already impressive career when he teamed with youngsters Matt Brabham and Aaron Seton to win Class C in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-hour at Mt Panorama today in The Boat Works Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show BMW GT4.
Longhurst, 60, drove the first and last stints of the race which he announced would be the last of his stella career which included two Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000s (1989 and 2001), an outright Bathurst 12-hour win (2009), the Wellington Street race in New Zealand (1992), the 1994 Australian two-litre championship and five AMSCAR titles and international appearances for BMW.
The Boat Works Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show BMW GT4 did not miss a beat all day and won Class C by four laps after gradually increasing its advantage through the race.
Brabham collected the win after driving the track for the first time on Friday and followed in the footsteps of his grandfather Sir Jack Brabham, who won a 100-mile (160km) race at Mt Panorama in 1960 and his father Geoff and uncle David who won the Bathurst 1000 in a BMW in 1997.
Seton, also a third generation driver at Mt Panorama, emulated the 1965 Bathurst 500 win of his grandfather Barry “Bo” Seton, while his father Glenn, a two-time Australian Touring Car Champion in 1993 and 1997, called the shots from the pits.
Brabham and Aaron are now both looking to extend their careers with both national and international competition.
Audi Sport Team WRT took outright honors in unusual circumstances after officials suspended and then declared the race following a huge crash.
Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard and Dries Vanthoor took the victory following a brief red flag suspension after a three-car shunt on top of the mountain.
An announcement about what Longhurst will do with his Class-winning BMW GT4 will be made in coming weeks.
WHAT THEY HAD TO SAY…
“That was fantastic,” said Longhurst.
“To finish 12 hours up here without as much as a scratch on the car, not even a stone chip, is so impressive.
“Matt and Aaron did a perfect job and I was sensible the whole day through and we got the job done.
“We put a lot of work in with a three-month preparation with our Team Manager Steve Brow. We had a plan in place and we stuck to it and it paid off.
“I didn’t actually want to do an afternoon stint, I wanted to get it all done in the morning, but the way it panned out I was back in the car for the last bit.
“I just put my head down and just did not want to make a mistake.
“I didn’t really think about the emotion of the last stint, but I am sure it will hit me in the next couple of hours.
“I was going to finish my career at the 12-hour last year, but we had the bingle in the GT3 and I just didn’t want to go out like that.
“It was fantastic to finish my career with a win in the BMW after starting my career with them.
“It was great to give these two lads (Brabham and Seton) and opportunity and hopefully BMW or someone will give them a chance to get into a GT3 car together. That would be pretty neat.
“It is hard for a rookie to come here and perform properly without making a stake. And to have a 19 year-old be such an important part of it is fantastic.”
“They did everything right and they deserve a leg up. Hopefully plenty of decision makers were watching.”
“Obviously results at Bathurst don’t come much cooler than that first time out,” said Brabham.
“To come here for the first time and head away with a Class C winner’s trophy is pretty cool.
“Obviously we had some work to do learning the track but having Tony, Aaron and team rest of
The Boat Works Sanctuary Cove Boat Show team around me made it that much easier.
“It is just so cool to come to a place with so much history and then put our own little mark on it.
“The whole thing was made more special to see Tony get into the car for his last ever stint knowing that he was in a comfortable position and he could just go out and enjoy himself.
“I am just so grateful to be a part of it all and I cannot thank Tony and all the stakeholders for taking the chance on a rookie driver and giving me a shot.
“There are so many heartbreak stories at this place, but to come here and leave with a Class win on debut and be a part of a special moment with Tony has put the icing on the cake.
“After three days I am in love with the place and I would love nothing more to come back here in a Supercar at some point and in an outright car at the 12-hour.”
“It was just an awesome day,” said Seton.
“I can’t thank Tony (Longhurst) and The Boat Works enough for the opportunity to be in this race in a brand new BMW GT4.
“The finish was almost an anticlimax with the red flag, but it was a great feeling when we got the word that we had won.
“All the stress was gone and we could start to celebrate.
“The GT3 cars came up on us so quick and there were some pretty tense moments out there.
“You had to be constantly looking in your mirrors, but thankfully our weekend panned out alright.
“I really enjoyed the whole weekend and it was great working with both Tony and Matt.
“Having dad (Glenn Seton) in the pits with us was pretty cool.
“Hopefully this result will provide some further opportunities. We will just keep punching away.”