After his success at the Bathurst 12 Hour there were big expectations of Renato in the Mt Magnet Drilling Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO at the 2015 Bathurst Motor Festival.
Entered in the “Production Sports Cars, GT” class, the 458 Challenge was up against some tough competition in current spec GT3 cars, some of which competed in the Bathurst 12 Hour earlier in the year; in what was a massive 55 car grid.
The format for the weekend was a 40-minute Practice session, and a 20-minute Qualifying session for each driver, with Renato co-driving this event with team owner, Paul Van Loenhout.
With a huge field, and varied speed of cars, the event was plagued with accidents and Red flags in all sessions.
Renato only managed one lap in Qualifying stuck behind a number of GT3 cars, working through traffic, which landed him 6th position. With combined Qualifying times for both drivers, Paul was to start Race 1 in 6th.
Paul made a great start in terrible wet conditions of Race 1, and by the compulsory pit stop window opening and Renato jumping in, they were sitting in P24. Renato set the timing screens alight with two blistering laps moving him up to P12 before a Safety Car came out, staying out until the chequered flag.
With a progressive grid format, Renato was to start P12 for Sunday’s Race 2. The weather had improved and a warm day greeted the field for the second of the 60-minute races. Renato went on attack from the start and moved from P12 to P4 by the end of the first lap, and then unfortunately three Safety Car periods plagued the remainder of the race. In the short stint between the first two safety cars Renato moved the car into the lead, before the compulsory pit stop and driver change for Paul. Unfortunately another Safety Car came out at the wrong time for Renato and Paul, causing them to fall into P25 for the finish.
Whilst the results weren’t there, the speed Renato showed in the Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO around the Mt Panorama circuit impressed many, and has certainly shown his recent experience at Bathurst has carried forward.
Mt Magnet Drilling Racing
Ferrari 458 Challenge EVO (Spec 2014)
Mt Panorama, Bathurst