Bathurst has lost a dear friend in Allan Simonsen, the Danish driver who called Australia home for a long period of his life, after he died from injuries sustained in an accident during the third lap of last weekend's Le Mans 24 Hour race.
Competing in his seventh Le Mans classic, in which he had finished on a class podium twice, and co-leading the 2013 World Endurance Championship pointscore for the class with fellow Dane co-drivers Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen, Simonsen started the race from the GTE Am pole position.
The 34-year-old Simonsen lost control of his Aston Martin Racing Vantage at the exit of the Tertre Rouge corner on just the third lap, and made heavy contact with the barriers on the left-hand side of the circuit.
From observations from following cars' on-board cameras, it appears as if the rear wheel ran onto the painted blue line and flicked the tail out.
He then appeared to over-correct which sent him head-on into the Armco barriers which were adjacent to a tree, and thus not allowing the Armco to bend as they are designed to.
Although as yet we do not know the exact cause of his death, there are reports he was talking to the rescuers when they arrived on the scene, only to have him become unconscious a few moments later. He was then pronounced dead a short time later at the track medical centre.
Simonsen was a regular starter in the Bathurst 1000, and was due to drive again in this year's race with David Wall in a Brad Jones Racing's #21 Holden.
Simonsen loved Bathurst and really talked it up around the world during racing travels, and apart from being a brilliant driver, he was a champion person who will be sorely missed. Let's hope something is done for his memory at this year's 1000.
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There is a distinct possibility the outright lap record at Bathurst's Mount Panorama could be under threat during the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race in February, not by the exotic GT3 cars competing in the main event, but by one of the support categories.
The 2014 Radical Australia Cup will kick off at Mount Panorama, with two races to be run on the Saturday of the increasingly popular round-the-clock endurance event, according to the Radical Australia June newsletter.
In what is to be the culmination of a long-term effort to approve Category 2 Sportscars at the mountain, Radical customers have immediately committed to next year's opening round, with over 20 entries already secured, and that number looks set to grow further.
Radical Australia News said that next year's marquee opening round follows a big year for the Radical Australia Cup, the first with the powerful SR8 RX being eligible for Aussie racing alongside the world's most successful sportscar, the SR3 RS.
The 2.7L V8 machine will be well suited to Mount Panorama, with plenty of opportunity to stretch its legs, and therefore should give the record a big shake.
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While Volvo is thrilled to come on board as the fifth manufacturer in V8 Supercars, not all European carmakers feel the same way. Jaguar has revealed it was courted by two V8 Supercar teams who were looking to sign the British luxury carmaker up to a factory deal in the series. However, Asia Pacific managing director David Blackhall declined the advances, saying any such move would be "insane".
"We have been approached by two teams," he confirmed to drive.com.au. "We took a look at the economics and the demographics, and we briefly discussed it with Adrian (Hallmark, Jaguar Global Brand director), but the business decision around that is, frankly, insane."
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There are two race meetings in NSW this weekend, with the All British one-day meeting at Wakefield Park on Sunday doubling as the third round of the 2013 MRA Series. Down the road at Sydney Motorsport Park the HSRCA will be conducting the Winter Historics.
There is only one local competing this weekend at Wakefield Park, with John Markwick, after years of Bathurst Light Car Club speed events and then competing in regularity events, making the move up to circuit racing. Markwick will drive his Nissan Pulsar in the Super TT events which have attracted a strong field.
At the SMSP Yetholmes Quentin Bland will be in regularity driving his Ford Capri in the Historic Group N Touring Cars, while Jim Rooke will be behind the wheel of his magnificent old historic sports car, the Volante Ford.
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The best of the Australians in the 24 hours of Le Mans was Johnny Martin, as he finished third in LMP2 and ninth outright in the G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan he shared with Mike Conway (GBR) and Russian Roman Rusinov. They could be considered very unlucky not to have finished higher.
They had a slow puncture early in the race in the G-Drive machine, and then another unscheduled stop during the night to replace regulation lighting panels on the side of the car eventually costing them two laps, which was the margin it finished behind the winners.
Ryan Briscoe had his share of problems with the Level 5 Motorsports HPD-Honda he shared with owner Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti, as they finished 14th in LMP2 and 43rd overall.
Competing in GTE Am, Team BOC V8 Supercars pilot Jason Bright ended a big day 10th in the 8 Star Motorsports Ferrari and 38th overall.