Over the past few years, the LIQUI-MOLY Bathurst 12 Hour has risen to the pantheon of Australia’s most renowned, respected and exciting motor races. A combination of epic finishes, the world’s most immense GT cars and drivers from the absolute upper crust of global motorsport have seen a renewed interest in the race over the past few years, following a period of obscurity.
Reflective of this, the updated entry list released today by the race’s organisers is bigger than ever, and it’s enough to get us seriously excited. 11 car manufacturers, 15 vehicle models and a host of countries are represented throughout the 33 GT cars entering this years race, and some of the world’s most prestigious names are getting involved.
Making up the driver list, which as of yet doesn’t even include the drivers from Nissan or Bentley’s factory teams, are 3 ex-formula 1 drivers in the form of Mika Salo, Andrea Montermini and Ivan Capelli, a long list of famous GT racers and 14 V8 Supercars drivers, including Craig Lowndes, Garth Tander and Shane Van Gisbergen. Most importantly of all though, one of the current kings of Endurance racing and 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber will be taking part, piloting a Porsche 997 GT3 in the Class B cup class.
The list of cars is also more diverse and exotic than anything seen at Bathurst before. Relative race newcomers Nissan, McLaren and Bentley will all be hoping for big results with their GT-R, 650S and Continental GT3 cars respectively, while the veterans at Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini will also be returning with the 458 Italia, 997 GT3 and Gallardo Cup cars that have seen such success worldwide. Adding some precision German engine to the mix will also be Audi and Mercedes, who are making big waves in the world of GT racing with the R8-LMS and SLS AMG GT3 cars.
Needless to say then, this year’s Bathurst 12-Hour seems set to ascend to an entire new level, with camping spots for the weekend of racing selling out months in advance and TV figures looking ready to shoot up. 2016 also marks the inaugural running of the Bathurst 12 hours as a leg of the Intercontinental GT challenge, a brand new endurance series that also includes the Sepang 12 hours and the 24 Hours of Spa in it’s calendar. With Mt. Panorama gaining increasing recognition as one of the world’s finest tracks by the motorsport community, there’s every reason to be excited about the direction Australia’s most exciting endurance race is heading in.
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 over the next couple of weeks!