Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia – Round 1, Bathurst NSW
Despite finishing off the Outright podium, Johor Motorsports Racing team is taking plenty of positives from an eventful opening round of the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS at Bathurst, NSW.
Powered by Triple Eight Race Engineering, the JMR team pairings of Prince Jefri Ibrahim/Broc Feeney and Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim/Jamie Whincup finished the weekend fourth and fifth Outright respectively, as Prince Jefri and Feeney drove to a P2 result in the second race of the weekend.
The weekend got off to a promising start for the JMR team, with Pro drivers Feeney and Whincup locking out the top two positions of qualifying, while Prince Jefri posted the sixth-quickest time in the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3. Prince Abu received a penalty during qualifying for incorrect procedure under red flags, and was relegated to the rear of the grid for the weekend’s first race.
Starting Race One from the third row, Prince Jefri was turned around in the first turn and had to work his way from the back of the pack around the picturesque Mt Panorama circuit. After Feeney got into the driver’s seat, the 888 car set the fastest lap of the race – just 0.017s faster than his team-mate Whincup – as he clawed his way back to a P6 result.
Despite starting from the rear of the pack, Prince Abu and Whincup put in an equally impressive drive and kept things clean as they steadily sliced their way through the field throughout the 26 laps to claim a well-earned fifth-place finish.
Sunday morning’s Race Two got off to a spectacular start as the Mercedes-AMG GT3s of Feeney and Whincup led the field through the first turn. The team-mates put in hard, fast laps to stretch out a four-second lead over the rest of the pack.
The driver-change saw the Princes take over, with Prince Jefri continuing to lead until the final minutes when a late pass saw him cross the finish-line in second. Meanwhile, Prince Abu fought hard to maintain track position and took the checkered flag with a P6 result.
The second round of the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia will take place in Perth on 28-30 April.
Prince Jefri Ibrahim: “It was a tough weekend with some ups and downs, but there were plenty of positives that came from it. It was unfortunate that we got spun around in Race One yesterday, but we fought on and still finished sixth. In Race Two I was leading after Broc’s great first drive, but unfortunately, I didn’t have the pace of the car behind and finished P2. Car 88 finished with a fifth and a sixth from the two races, so we’ll take that, keep chipping away and focus on improving at Perth in three weeks’ time.”
Results – 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, Bathurst NSW
Broc Feeney – Pole Position
Jamie Whincup – P2
Prince Jefri Ibrahim – P6
Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim – P16
Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim /Jamie Whincup – P5
Prince Jefri Ibrahim/Broc Feeney – P6
Broc Feeney/Prince Jefri Ibrahim – P2
Jamie Whincup/Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim – P6