The 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour is less than a week away. Before a new champion is crowned, let’s take a look back at some of the most memorable finishes from the last decade.
Fans of endurance racing will often tell you that the finish of a race such as the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will be one of two things: a total blowout or incredibly nail biting. Since its revamp in 2011, the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has had both. So, without further ado, let’s count down the top 8 nail biting Bathurst 12-Hour finishes.
Bathurst 12 hour #8: 2013
Winner: Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 driven by Thomas Jager
Winning Margin: over 1 Lap
The first race on this list was indeed a true blowout, with the Erebus motorsport Mercedes SLS of Thomas Jager, Alexander Roloff and Bernd Schneider finishing over a lap ahead of their nearest competition. The 2013 race was in itself a highlight though, as its 53-car field marked the largest Bathurst 12 Hour race up until that date, kicking off the growth of this great race as a true event to mark on the Australian motorsport calendar.
Bathurst 12 hour #7: 2012
Winner: Audi R8 GT3 LMS driven by Jeroen Bleekemolen
Winning Margin: 1 minute, 13 seconds
2012 saw the wettest Bathurst 12 hours to date, with rain falling over 8 of the race’s 12 hour running and in turn wreaking havoc upon the entire field. In a game of Survival of the Fittest, it was driver skill that saw the cream rise to the top, and only 3 Class A cars remaining when the chequered flag waved. Once again, the #8 Audi reigned supreme to mark the only back-to-back victory in the race’s long history.
Bathurst 12 hour #6: 2018
The finish to the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour will not go down in history as a nail-biting affair; however, the events that preceded them will go down in Bathurst 12-Hour folklore.
Following a collision with Bryce Fullwood’s No.93 MARC Focus at Sulman Park, the No.69 Audi R8 driven by Ash Walsh was stranded across the track and hit at nearly 200km/h by John Martin in the No. 19 Mercedes Benz AMG GTR. All drivers were able to walk away from the accident and were later cleared by the race medics.
The race win was awarded to the No.37 Team WRT Audi of Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard and Dries Vanthoor when the race was red-flagged with just 20-minutes left in the day. The debris left by the affected vehicles was too significant for the race to resume in the remaining time.
At the time of the incident, the No.37 Audi driven by Robin Frijns was in a tense battle with the No.75 Mercedes piloted by Jamie Whincup. Frijns later admitted that – due to low fuel - he wasn’t sure whether the No.37 would’ve made the finish if the race proceeded under green flag conditions.
Bathurst 12 hour #5: 2011
Winner: Audi R8 GT3 LMS driven by Darryl O’Young
Winning Margin: 1.4 seconds
2011 marked the first year of the Bathurst 12 hours as we see it now, with the GT3 cars taking to Mount Panorama for the first time. Most prepared of the field was the Audi Sport team, who entered two cars that truly delivered a show to kick off the rejuvenated race. In true racing finish, just 0.7 seconds separated the pair of R8‘s at the finish, although it was the #8 car of Darryn O’Young, Marc Basseng and Christopher Mies that eventually took out the day after slowing down to allow their teammates to catch up.
Bathurst 12 hour #4: 2016
Winner: McLaren 650S GT3 driven by Shave Van Gisbergen
Winning Margin: 0.4 seconds
Was the winner of the 2016 LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour ever really in doubt? Not if you ask Shane Van Gisbergen. Fresh off of setting the outright lap record for the Mt. Panorama Circuit in qualifying the day before, SVG held off an incredible late charge from Katsumaya Chiyo to take home the chequered flag in the debutant McLaren 650S. It wasn’t without its challenges though, a record 13 safety cars interrupting the day’s proceedings. Despite this, the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour was the fastest ever in terms of pace and laps completed, as showcased by the epic final lap push which saw Chiyo-san take Van Gisbergen‘s lead down from 5 seconds to 1 second.
Bathurst 12 hour #3: 2014
Winner: Ferrari 458 GT3 driven by Craig Lowndes
Winning Margin: 0.4 seconds
2014 was where the Bathurst 12 hour really started heating up, where after 11 hours and 45 minutes the Safety Car was brought out following a crash. This brought the finely balanced Ferrari of Craig Lowndes together with the sheer grunt of Maximilian Bukh’s Mercedes. What entailed was 15 minutes of fierce bumper to bumper racing, where eventually Lowndes’ experience on the mountain prevailed by less than half a second. The six-time Bathurst 1000 winner was now a Bathurst 12 Hour Champion.
Bathurst 12 hour #2: 2015
Winner: Nissan GT-R driven by Katsumasa Chiyo
Winning Margin: 2.4 secs
2015’s race set up an incredible amount of excitement for the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour, by delivering a staggering finish. Once again, after 12 hours there was wheel-to-wheel racing on the very final laps following a safety car, this time with 3 cars involved. As the green flag waved, the Nissan GT-R showed it’s incredible balance and finesse, streaking away from it’s rival Bentley and Audi in 2nd and 3rd respectively, in one of the most outstanding displays of driving skill ever to be seen on Mount Panorama.
Bathurst 12 hour #1: 2017
Winner: Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Toni Vilander
Winning Margin: 4.966sec
After more than 11-hours of intense racing, Shane van Gisbergen’s frustration well and truly got the better of him. Van Gisbergen bumped Andrew McPherson’s lapped Porsche on the Caltex Chase exit, sending it nose first into the concrete wall and forcing a Safety Car.
Van Gisbergen’s aggression didn’t go unpunished- a pit lane drive through penalty was issued. Alas, he wouldn’t make it that far. Carrying too much speed into the Sparesbox Dipper, Van Gisbergen buried his Mercedes into the wall and put an end to proceedings for the Mercedes-AMG team- handing Ferrari a well deserved victory.