DESPITE HAVING his car crashed out of contention by another competitor early in the Bathurst 12 Hour event, Will Davison made an impressive debut for McLaren at Mt Panorama on the weekend.
Working with his new Tekno Autosports team for the first time, Will joined the two-car factory McLaren 650S assault on Australia’s longest race, sharing with works drivers Rob Bell and Andrew Watson.
Although he had never even sat in the car until Friday morning, Will was quickly on the pace during practice and ended up second fastest overall, the fastest of the McLarens.
Given the task of qualifying the car on Saturday, Will struggled with a set-up issue that restricted lap speed and ended up sixth on the grid.
Rob Bell started the car on Sunday but was hit by a Bentley in the middle of the chase, breaking the left rear suspension. Repairs cost four laps and any chance of outright victory.
“It’s disappointing … it’s a bloke trying to win a 12 hour race in the first hour, and it destroys our race,” Will Davison said.
“From there, all we could do is circulate and hope we could move up the order as the others struck trouble. Unfortunately we had a few problems of our own, but we got it home.
“The McLaren is such a sweet car to drive, it’s fantastic, and it’s been a great experience working with the McLaren crew … and particularly getting to know the Tekno guys.
“I’m excited about the year ahead.” 
  • Will drives McLaren 650S for the first time
  • Four practice sessions throughout the day
  • First run on new tyres, second quickest in final practice
“Big day today … I hadn’t even sat in the car ‘til this morning, so I had a lot of learning to do. The biggest issue is understanding how the car reacts and also, being left hand drive, it took some getting used to because I didn’t want to glance a wall.
“In the final session I got a new set of tyres and we went second fastest of all, which is great. But there’s more work to do, we need to tune it up a bit. It’s a great start to the weekend.”
  • Will 4th quickest in 1st Qualifying
  • Will goes 6th fastest on last lap of Qualifying
“I’m a bit disappointed to end up sixth in Qualifying, I was hoping for more. But we made some changes to the car after this morning’s session and the car wasn’t as good (in Qualifying), it was very skittish at the rear. We missed the balance window and paid for it in pace.
“We know what works, though, and we’ll bolt that back into the car for the race.
“What I am happy about is that we have a really good racecar and that’s key in such a long race. The McLaren really is a magic little car.”
  • Starting sixth, the #60 McLaren driven by Rob Bell makes quick progress to third
  • Hit by another car on lap 18, damaged left rear suspension
  • Loses four laps in repairs, begins the long climb back up the order
  • After various challenges over the 12 hour duration, a strong run from Will and his teammates sees the McLaren recover to 9th position
“Tough day today. We got hit out of contention early, put our heads down and tried to recover. However, we had some sort of an electrical-based problem for probably the last seven hours … the car was cutting out, it was missing … at one stage it lost all power completely. But we kept going and did what we could … disappointing but great to be a part of the team’s victory and to work with McLaren.”

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WILL DEFLATED AT QR - 31.07.2017
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