Nathan MorcomAnother sterling performance by Morcom Motorsport in the opening round of the 2012 Australian Production Car Endurance Championship at Phillip Island has earned the NSW team its fourth class win in the series on the trot.

The APCEC comprises the two six-hour rounds of the Australian Manufacturers’ Championship at Phillip Island in Victoria, and Eastern Creek Raceway in NSW.

Morcom Motorsport’s Direct Plasterboard Outlet-Rondo BMW 335i has now won the 2WD High Performance class in the past two APCEC races at both circuits.

The car was driven to its latest victory by Nathan Morcom and Chaz Mostert, who finished the six-hour marathon four laps ahead of the next Class B entry. They placed third overall behind the Class A Mitsubishi Lancer Evo Xs of Jim Pollicina-Ryan Simpson, and second placegetters Stuart-Kostera-Ian Tulloch.

In the early laps, a repeat of their upset outright win in last year’s final APCEC round at Eastern Creek looked to be on the cards when Mostert took the fight right up to the leading Evos.

But the pace started to overheat the BMW’s rear tyres, forcing Mostert to slow enough to make the rubber last until his scheduled fuel stop.

Unlike at Eastern Creek, when the Class A cars all failed to retain their qualifying speed advantage over the Class B BMW for the full six hours, this time two of them went the distance without major problems.

At the chequered flag, Morcom and Mostert had completed 189 laps of the 4.5km Victorian circuit, three fewer than the outright eventual winners.

Morcom Motorsport owner Barry Morcom couldn’t fault his team’s performance.

“The Direct Plasterboard Outlet-Rondo BMW didn’t miss a beat all weekend, both boys drove quickly and consistently, and our pit work was fine,” he said.

“Our strategy was to try to put pressure on the Evos. They’re quicker than our car, but their weakness has always been reliability.

“It’s a big ask for a 2WD car to beat the AWDs, though. We have to drive more carefully to keep the rear tyres alive for a whole stint, and our longer fuel range (Production Touring rules allow the BMW to carry 10 litres more than the Evo and Sti) isn’t enough to make up for the speed difference over six hours. Twelve hours maybe …

Nathan Morcom described his two driving stints as uneventful, except for the latter stages.

“There was a vibration on the right side early in my second stint, so I knocked a few seconds off my lap times to make sure we kept third place to the finish,” he said.

“There was no chance of catching the Evos ahead unless they had trouble, and the next car was too far behind to be a threat.”

Chaz Mostert echoed Nathan’s comments, adding that his top priority was to stick to the Morcom Motorsport team’s race strategy.

“It was mainly a matter of managing our fuel and tyres,” he said. “For the first few laps I thought there might be a chance to run with the Evos, but they were too quick – and this time two of them didn’t have any real problems during the race.”

With this year’s second APCEC round at Eastern Creek not until November, Morcom and Mostert will return to their regular racing programs in the meantime.

Morcom’s next races are scheduled on May 12-13 in the F2000 Championship Series round at Road Atlanta in the USA, and Mostert will drive next weekend in the V8 Supercars Development Series round at Barbagallo Raceway in WA.