Repco Supercars Championship star Shane van Gisbergen has won the 2021 Hi-tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour in a thrilling encounter.
Behind the wheel of the Prestige Connex BMW M4 alongside Shane Smollen and Robert Rubis, the trio shined in a memorable performance.
Having started the race on pole, the number 97 faced many challenges throughout the six-hour race as they overcame 11 safety car periods and multiple lead changes to ultimately come out on top.
Completing 120 laps of the iconic Mount Panorama course, the #97 BMW M4 came away with an eight second victory over reigning champions Tim Leahey and Beric Lynton – the duo battling hard for much of the race after starting in P3.
Having received a post-race time penalty for a breach of the safety car restart procedure, van Gisbergen needed to extend his lead out to a five second gap by the end of the race in order to stay in the lead.
While Leahey got close, under two seconds with half an hour to go, he was unable to stay within five seconds of the Kiwi who powered home on a track that he has mastered in Supercars in the last six months.
“It’s awesome to be part of this team [with] Shane Smollen and Rob Rubis,” van Gisbergen said post-event.
“What an awesome day. It was a bit tricky in the beginning, we thought we were losing but we took the pain of the CPS early and it worked out great. At the end I knew I had the five-second penalty and I just pushed like anything.”
Smollen highly praised van Gisbergen for his contribution.
“When people talk about Shane they talk about talent,” Smollen added.
“But his preparation, his thought and his time he has put into this despite his other engagements was enormous. The strategy was basically his strategy, he really cared, and it showed.
“Yes he’s a freak talent, but you only get so far with freak talent, it’s everything else and he’s got it."
Finishing on the bottom step of podium after crossing the chequered flag four seconds behind second place was 2018 champion Grant Sherrin and co-driver David Russell in the Sherrin Rentals BMW M4 – making it a BMW podium lockout.
Another BMW in contention for much of the race was the Car Mods Australia BMW M3 of Bradley Carr and Tim Slade who recovered from two blown tyres to finish a respectable fourth place.
Rounding out the top five were A2 class winners and the best of the rest in Miedecke Motor Group Ford Mustang GT pilots George Miedecke, Paul Morris and Supercars driver, Brodie Kostecki.
In outright seventh place were A1 winners Michael Sheargold, Brett Hobson and Ollie Shannon in the RAM Motorsport/Garth Walden Racing prepared Mercedes-Benz AMG.
The race wrapped up what was a highly successful weekend of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships event, where more than 15,000 spectators attended the event across the three days.
The next round of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park on 30 April to 2 May – with tickets on sale now.