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.
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 #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.
Darryl O’Young (HK) – Driver #97
“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. 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.”
Alex MacDowall (GB) – Driver #97
“The race went really well for me, the first stint was really good and the pace was right on the leaders straight away. The car was good for a double stint, it was tough to be in for three hours but we showed good pace throughout, the strategy worked. Stefan produced a good result to bring us home to third.”
Stefan Mücke (DE) - Driver #97
“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.”
Jean-Marc Merlin (FR) – Driver #99
“I was looking for new adventures by racing for the first time in Australia and I have to say that Bathurst did not disappoint! After being pushed into a wall after just 4 laps in the first free practice session, I was privileged to witness the fantastic team spirit of the Craft Bamboo Racing crew who managed to put a perfectly setup car back together in time for qualifying. Frank Yu trusted me to start the race which is something unique. The sunrise on the mountain at full speed is quite an experience! A few laps down a kangaroo even took down an unlucky BMW just in front of me. The final laps were quite special and Stefan Mücke was just incredible. Quite a lot of stories to tell back in France! The reception by everyone in Australia was amazing. It was an honor to race with Frank and Jonathan. Craft Bamboo has proven that it is already a world class organization, the only privateer at the top of the rankings amongst works outfits.”
Jonathan Venter (AU) - Driver #99
“It was a good race, a very long first stint and I felt a bit of the illness and heat come into play so I wasn’t feeling up to shape but the car was amazing. The boys did a very good job of rebuilding it, and it was strong the whole day and had some very good pace. So I’m very proud of the team.”
Frank Yu (HK) - Driver #99
“We had quite a bit of drama in the #99 car this weekend. In the morning it was great but in my last stint it lost power due to the heat. The boys did a great job rebuilding the car and under the circumstances we finished 9th in class and that’s pretty good.”
Richard Coleman, CEO of Craft-Bamboo Racing
“Absolutely fantastic weekend, a really difficult entry list with so many factory backed outfits here. I’m very proud of the team and the way we have come through this weekend. It certainly wasn’t an easy one; it’s the kind of event where you have to race against the circuit before the opponents. We have come away with a great result and all credit to the team. We have had great pit-stops and dealt with all kinds of things that the race has thrown at us and it’s a delight to get the guys on the podium after working so hard.”