If you’re awed by Laguna Seca’s Corkscrew and its 105 foot vertical drop, you’ll be flabbergasted by the Mount Panorama Circuits’ 570 foot descent, as racers speed down the side of the mountain about 2.5 hours’ drive from Sydney, Australia.
The Tekno Autosport 5.0 L Holden coming down through the Esses
This past weekend was the Bathurst 1000, which is the Indy 500 and Daytona 500 combined for Australia. They call it “The Great Race.” K&N supported Tekno Autosports team owner Jonathan Webb described it this way "It's something, when you're involved with motorsport, the go-karts, the Formula Ford, or whatever you've done in your career to get to where we are, this is the one you want to win here in Australia."
The 1000 has been held on the Mount Panorama Circuit since 1963, a road which was funded and built during the Great Depression as a tourist attraction, but always intended to be a race track. So on non-race days the road is a scenic highway. But every year in early October access is blocked, the teams cram into the pits, and spectators flock to the hillside seeking the best vantage point.
Sponsored by the Supercheap Auto parts chain, the largest seller of K&N products Down Under, the weekend featured the Australian Supercars Championship as the main event. Not familiar with Supercars? They’re sort of like but much more extreme than Touring Cars. Only four-door models are eligible and those approved for 2016 are: Holden (GM) Commodore VF; Ford Falcon FG-X, Mercedes E63 AMG W212, Nissan Altima L33, and Volvo S60. As all cars have to retain the basic steel body shell, and run as rear-wheel drive, Nissan and Volvo teams need to do a bit more cutting and welding. Engine capacity is limited to 5.0 L and no traction control allowed.
Tekno Autosport’s sponsor is the Australian maker of chocolate-filled licorice
The race itself was a thriller, and not just for those at the track. Television ratings for the event set records, not just for motorsports, but for all types of sporting events across the country.
With collisions and time penalties taking some of the top cars out of contention, the race came down to two cars. In front was the Holden of Tekno Autosports driven by Will Davison. Right behind him was Shane Van Gisbergen, who was one of Webb’s Tekno Autosports co-drivers when they won the 12 Hours at Bathurst in a McLaren earlier this year. Webb knew just how good Van Gisbergen was, and how little fuel Davison had left. In fact, Webb hid behind the garages, away from the TV and scoring monitors for the last few laps as he couldn’t stand the suspense.
In the end Davison in the K&N Filters-supported Tekno Autosports Holden Commodore VF held off Van Gisbergen, despite not having enough gasoline in the fuel cell to make another lap. In the end, Davison won the race by 0.1434 seconds -- one of the closest finishes ever for a Bathurst 1000. "I knew if I lifted to save any more fuel Shane was going to be in there. It coughed at the last corner. I ran out of fuel as I crossed the line.” Davison reported. Sort of like Alex Rossi at the Indy 500.
The one place drivers want to be at the end of a race. Davison and Webb enjoy the spoils of victory
“Unbelievable – we were so close in '14,” Webb said, knowing the fuel situation. “I was out the back just playing with my kid trying to ignore what was going on – it’s unbelievable, it’s just amazing.”
To make victory that much sweeter for K&N, two of its long-time partners in Australia, Harrop, an automotive engineering firm, and XForce, a performance exhaust manufacturer were also sponsors of the winning car.