Grove takes unprecedented fourth Bathurst 12 Hour triumph
Grove Motorsport has won a remarkable fourth Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in Class B to become one of the most successful teams in the event’s history.
The Grove outfit took out Class B on Sunday (February 3rd) evening by a compelling 20 laps over the next car.
Stephen Grove, Brenton Grove, and Ben Barker dominated the all-Porsche division throughout the once around the clock race, taking the chequered flag in 16th place outright.
Barker started the car from pole position in class and extended his lead early, while dramas for the other competitors allowed the Melbourne-based team to increase their lead from minutes to laps.
So commanding was the performance that the #4 Grove Porsche never yielded the top spot once for the entire 12 Hour race, completing all 299 laps in first position in class.
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup crossed the line at the end of the race without a scratch on it either, witha small amount of race tape only needed to hold one of the front grills in after a chunk of rubber flicked up and knocked it out of place.
Stephen formed an integral part of the driving combination ticking off a number of strong stints, with Barker setting the car’s fastest lap of the race, a 2:07.6677s on Lap 18 as the sun began to rise over Mount Panorama.
Brenton produced a great double stint early in the race before bringing the car home to the chequered flag.
For Stephen it is his fourth victory as a driver, aligning with the team, having driven in each event for the last seven years.
Barker clinched his third win and Brenton scored his second class victory in just as many starts.
Stephen Grove: "It's fantastic to win the Bathurst 12 Hour for the fourth time in Class B. Listen, that was probably one of the hottest races I think I've ever done. It was just really, really hot in the car. We struggled through the whole weekend with our cool suit system, we had a problem, so we had to bring the stints back to an hour - we worked really hard to keep our core temperature down. To finish and take a fourth victory here at the 12 Hour is a fantastic achievement by all. The team has done a fantastic job, the drivers have done a fantastic job; flawless, no scratches on the car, no offs, it was just a magnificent day. It's back-to-back for us after last year's win in Class B. It's three with Ben now and Brenton's got a pretty good Bathurst 12 Hour average finishing position because he's done two from two. It's fantastic, it's really good for us as a team and very exciting."
Brenton Grove: "It's incredibly cool for the team to get it's fourth 12 Hour victory. I've been a part of them as a driver for two and then also running and organising the team for four of them. It's cool that I've done half and half on either side of the fence; it's definitely better to drive! The whole team did a faultless job, every pit stop, every strategy call, every lap was unbelievable. Really excited for the boys, massively proud. Hopefully next year we'll tackle Class A Pro-Am in a GT3 car and get a good result there to keep the form going."
Ben Barker: "It was incredible. To come back here and get a third victory with the Groves. It's just epic. The race was tough, it was really hot, I think it was the hottest race I've ever done and for Stephen, certainly for him, it was the hottest he's ever done. It was quite hard to control that heat, but we kept it clean. The guys did an amazing job to keep it clean and the pit stops were spot on. The car was balanced throughout, it was a dream to drive. It was really nice to be in a good rhythm around Bathurst. Everyone on the team deserves the win. Hopefully, we can come back next year possibly in the GT3 class. I'm over the moon, just over the moon."