The LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour, for many racing fans, is the pinnacle of the calendar year. For the people at Spares Box, it’s no different. From dawn till dusk, a range of performance and production cars driven by battle-hardened racers slog it out. Come the morning of February 7, all eyes of the motorsport world will be fixed firmly on Australia’s spiritual racing home, the world-renowned Mount Panorama.
Bathurst 12 Hour: Beyond Oz
The race has a distinctly international feel. German sponsor, Japanese cars, Finnish drivers, to name but a few contributors. This union of cultures makes it a unique event in the Australian motorsport year, and is what makes it an increasingly attractive alternative to Formula 1 for fans worldwide. It is no lie that interest in the LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour now extends far beyond Oz. Fans and drivers from around the world arrive down under with the hunger to experience a race that doesn’t compromise on its unique blend of anticipation, quality, and action.
There aren’t many events that can captivate its audience for half a day. Yet every February, 12 hours of high intensity battle seems to have that impact on people. The annual arrival of a range of high-quality American, European and Japanese-made vehicles to Australian shores bring an enthralling, intriguing experience for each of us to get our teeth into.
Top Contenders: Blood, Sweat & Tears
This year’s LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour will feature 24 Class A GT3 contenders amongst a total of 40 cars across the four classes. The list has been touted as one of the strongest in the race’s history. Let’s take a look at a few recent conquerors of the Mountain.
Expect fireworks on the crests and dips of Bathurst as defending champions Nissan return to fend off pretenders to their crown. Interestingly, the team won’t return with 2015’s winning car in tow. They’ve stuck that one in a museum back in Japan. They’ll still come equipped with the same will and expertise that pushed them ahead of the pack last time around, and with the small matter of a brand new GT-R built exclusively for this race.
Winners in 2014, Maranello have brought familiar Formula 1 face Mika Salo along with fellow fine Finn Tony Villander to get the best out of a Ferrari 458 GT3. Not stopping there, V8 contenders Scott Pye – so often superior in last year’s V8 Supercars Championship – and Tony D’Alberto complete the Maranello cast, providing some of the best Australian talent around. So someone at the wheel of a Ferrari won’t be far behind come Sunday.
If you cast your mind back to the 2013 edition, you’ll remember the success of Erebus. The Aussie outfit are back with a two-car approach, and one of those will feature V8 man David Reynolds in a Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. This is a real statement of intent from Erebus, who are clearly not willing to rest on their previous success. Faith in Reynolds might just pay dividends.
Speaking of winners, let’s have a look at a born winner. Six-time V8 Supercars champion, and reigning Bathurst 1000 champ, Craig Lowndes will spearhead the Melbourne Performance Centre attack. He will no doubt foster hopes of overcoming the hurt of his bridesmaid performance in the 2015 V8 season. This year he and his teammates tear up the tarmac in an Audi R8-LMS. It’s never wise to bet against this man, especially considering he’s won it before! The smart money is on Lowndes. And my is money too.
Bathurst’s Miles Better
The LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour’s quest to provide the foremost event for motorsport fans continues to gather pace, and with what’s on offer it really is no surprise that its popularity is reaching the stratosphere. February’s event will feature three former Formula 1 stars, a reigning LeMans 24 Hour champion, 15 V8 Supercars drivers and a total of 33 GT vehicles, as well as high-quality vehicles manufactured just for this race. 2016’s LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour exhibits a mix of outstanding international talent working alongside – and competing against – the finest from the Australian V8 Championship. It’s no exaggeration to say the eyes of the world will be on New South Wales come the weekend, and you’d be wise to join them.
We’ll be live-blogging and tweeting the race on the big day, and providing all the info you need to keep you in the know leading up to this year’s race, so make sure you stay tuned to the Spares Box blog!