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Amateur smashes Bathurst production car record

By Cameron Kirby, 27 Nov 2020 News

Driving his own car, Jeff Morton has blown Bernd Schneider out of the water by more than two seconds

Mt Panorama production car record Porsche 2020

An amateur racing driver has obliterated the production car lap record at Mount Panorama in a road-going Porsche 911 GT2 RS.

Jeff Morton was at the helm of his personal 2018 Porsche 911 GT2 RS (nicknamed Red Thunder RS), which he steered to a stunning 2:14.238 lap time during the Challenge Bathurst event.

That lap blows the existing production car record for the 6.213km circuit out of the water by more than two seconds.

The previous benchmark is a 2:16.5, set by factory Mercedes-AMG ace Bernd Schneider in a Mercedes-AMG GT R in 2017.

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Despite being prepped for Targa competition, Morton’s GT2 RS is still road registerable (though it is technically ‘rally registered’) and remains relatively stock.

The GT2 RS’s twin-turbo 3.8-litre flat-six remains unchanged, producing 515kW/750Nm.

The only changes to Red Thunder RS compared to a factory GT2 RS is a full steel cage (necessary for tarmac rallying), some track-focused brake pads, OZ Racing wheels and Goodyear rubber instead of Porsche-supplied Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2s.

Being sponsored by Goodyear, Morton opted to use the brand’s super sticky (and importantly, road legal) Eagle F1 SuperSport RS tyres.

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Morton had the passenger seat removed following the first session at Challenge Bathurst to shed some weight.

However, he estimates that the full steel cage (the back half of which was a no-cost option to replace the titanium unit fitted as standard on Weissach pack cars) means Red Thunder RS is on par with every other GT2 RS in terms of mass.

Technically, Morton’s lap time won’t be recognised by Motorsport Australia as an official record, with a change made late last year preventing official lap records from being set during time attack-style events.

However, even without bureaucratic approval, it’s clear that this 40-year-old amateur racer has reset the benchmark for production cars at Mount Panorama.

Before heading to this year’s Challenge Bathurst event, Morton had the record-breaking lap time in his sights.

“I was thinking about what an interesting target would be to have, and I thought the idea of the 2:16.5 lap by Bernd Schneider would be a good challenge,” he told MOTOR.

“I didn’t put pressure on myself, but thought it was an interesting idea, and I wondered if not just the car, but myself as an amateur, would compare to a pro.”

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Taking part in two different sessions yesterday on used rubber, setting a best time of 2:18.603, Morton realised he was in with a shot at resetting the benchmark.

So, for today’s sessions he bolted on a set of green tyres and went for it.

In the first attempt of the morning, Morton was able to record a best time of 2:15.810. However, despite going under Schneider’s record time, Morton wasn’t done yet.

“I got blocked at the end of the lap,” he explains. “So I knew I had beaten the lap record, which is great, but there was also some frustration as I knew I could go quicker.”

For the second session of the day Morton managed to put in a clean run, completing three sub-2:15 laps in a row, the best being the record-setting time.

Morton also set himself the challenge of cracking 300km/h down Conrod straight. However, with the GT2 RS set to its maximum downforce setting, he fell just short of the triple tonne, with his best speed so far being 299.6km/h.

Porsche now holds a pair of production car lap records in Australia, with Warren Luff teaming up with MOTOR to set a 3:24.079 benchmark on Tailem Bend’s full 7.77km layout.

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