JORDAN SKINNER has won the first ever Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship race at Mount Panorama after dominating race one from start to finish today in Bathurst.
Skinner led from the first lap and established an early buffer, using stunning cold tyre pace in the opening laps to build a buffer that he would never lose. The South Australian-based Team BRM driver then controlled the race from the front from there, winning by just under three seconds.
Championship leader James Winslow was second, but could have been higher but for a pre-race penalty that saw him start from the rear of the field.
Winslow’s rear wing was found to have moved outside of the legal measurement allowed behind the centre line of the rear wheels following qualifying - and as such received a penalty that put him to the back of the grid.
In an inspired drive he had charged to fifth by the end of the first lap and ran third by lap four – but once he was in second he had no answer for the eventual winner.
Skinner was naturally over the moon with the win, the first in his seven-race F3 career and the first for Team BRM since June last year.
“I didn’t expect that coming into this weekend, at all,” he said.
“I just wanted to keep all four wheels on it and bring it home but to do it here and at the first round my old man has come to; I couldn’t have asked it to be any better.
“I knew coming into the race that consistency on cold tyres was going to be the strongest point of my race especially after qualifying. I put my head down, bum up and went for it on the first lap.
“I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time and I think it’s my first ever car race win at a national level, ever.”
Winslow’s charge saw him set a series of fastest race laps, ultimately setting the new F3 lap record at 2:05.3052. Five cars lapped in the 2:05s with more time expected to be found tomorrow.
After running strongly in second earlier, Polesitter John Magro dropped down the field in the latter stages with a cut rear tyre – ultimately failing to finish - whilst Nick Foster made it a 1-3 for Team BRM with a strong run to third.
Reigning champion Chris Gilmour was fourth (“My car was good - for the last two laps. We came on too late but we’ll change that for tomorrow”) with Adrian Cottrell fifth and first of the Forpark Australia F3 National Class cars.
Cottrell made a strong start in his R-Tek Dallara and escaped to an early lead in the battle of the F304 Dallara’s.
“We’ve got the car working really well at the moment and it was fantastic to drive,” Cottrell said.
“It’s awesome to drive when it’s like this and I’m really happy with the weekend. The race was good and I was staying with Gilmour for a while there before I made a mistake and dropped back.”
Ben Gersekowski, Hayden Cooper and Nathan Gotch completed the finishers.
Steel Guiliana failed to finish today’s race after an engine failure half way through the second lap left him stranded at the top of the Mountain.
A further two races will be held tomorrow, the first tomorrow at 0945am and the finale, feature race 16:00pm.
The much-vaunted Bathurst Lap Record Was Not broken today, despite early publicity to the positive.
Winslow’s lap of 2:05.3052 is slower than Allan Simonsen’s 2:04.9560 set during the Drive Bathurst ‘Sprint’ Event late last year.
This lap record has been classified by CAMS, the governing body of the sport, as being set in a race and as such stands as the Bathurst Race Lap Record.
A vast majority of motorsport industry and media representatives had understood that the lap record was a 2:06.3 set during this years’ Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, again by Allan Simonsen, however it has been since clarified that this is in fact not the case.
Formula 3 drivers expect slightly cooler conditions in tomorrow’s morning race will see the record beaten, once and for all.