10 mar­ques line up for Bathurst

Rotorua Weekender - - Driven - By Colin Smith

Ten of the lead­ing mar­ques in global GT3 en­durance com­pe­ti­tion will line up on the Liqui-moly Bathurst 12-Hour start­ing grid in early Fe­bru­ary.

A mid-de­cem­ber flurry of en­tries saw in­ter­na­tional Bent­ley, Porsche, BMW, Fer­rari, Nis­san and Lam­borgh­ini teams con­firmed and join ear­lier an­nounce­ments that put Mercedes-amg, Audi, Mclaren and As­ton Martin ma­chin­ery on the en­try list for the Fe­bru­ary 3 “round the clock” en­duro at Mount Panorama.

The Bathurst 12-Hour race is the first of five events in the 2019 FIA In­tercon­ti­nen­tal GT Chal­lenge (IGTC) which also in­cludes en­durance races at La­guna Seca (Cal­i­for­nia), Suzuka (Ja­pan), the Spa 24 Hours (Bel­gium) and Kyalami in South Africa.

At the Bathurst race the grid blends many of world’s best GT driv­ers with stars from the Vir­gin Aus­tralia Su­per­cars Cham­pi­onship. De­fend­ing cham­pi­ons Audi Cus­tomer Rac­ing has con­firmed two R8 LMS cars for Bathurst un­der the Team Valvo­line ban­ner with driv­ing squads still to be an­nounced. Three other Audi

R8s have been en­tered — the Hall­marc team with Lee Holdsworth, Marc Cini, Dean Fiore, Audi Sport Team MPC (no driv­ers an­nounced) and Matt Stone Rac­ing/aussie Driver Search with Todd Hazel­wood on the driver ros­ter.

Porsche re­cently an­nounced a full-sea­son IGTC com­mit­ment with two cars and full fac­tory driver ros­ters. The line-ups are Matt Camp­bell (Aus­tralia), Den­nis Ol­son (Nor­way) and Dirk Werner

(Ger­many) and a sec­ond car for Le Mans 24 Hours win­ner and Pikes Peak record holder Ro­main Du­mas (France) teamed with Sven Muller (Ger­many) and Math­ieu Jaminet (France).

Two other Porsche teams have en­tered with the Com­pe­ti­tion Mo­tor­sports/mcel­rea Rac­ing car to be crewed by Us-based Aus­tralian David Calvert-jones, Kevin Estre (France) and Jaxon Evans (NZ) while Black Swan Rac­ing fields Tim Pap­pas (USA), Marc Lieb (Ger­many), Jeroen Bleeke­molen (Nether­lands).

BMW rep­re­sen­ta­tion in­cludes a car each from Ger­man squads Walken­horst Mo­tor­sport — the 2018 Spa 24 Hours win­ning team — and Team Sch­nitzer.

The Walken­horst M6 GT3 will be crewed by Chris­tian Krognes (Nor­way), Nick Cats­burg (Nether­lands) and Mikkel Jensen (Den­mark) and the Sch­nitzer squad com­prises Au­gusto Far­fus (Brazil), Martin Tom­czyk (Ger­many) and Bathurst 1000 win­ner Chaz Mostert.

One new car on the Moun­tain in 2019 will be the sec­ond gen­er­a­tion Bent­ley Con­ti­nen­tal GT3. Bent­ley Team M-sport re­turns to Bathurst with two cars and has yet to al­lo­cate driver trios but the IGTC squad for 2019 in­cludes Vin­cent Abril (Monaco), Jules Gounon (France), Steven Kane (GB), Andy Soucek (Spain), Maxime Soulet (Bel­gium) and Jor­dan Pep­per (South Africa).

Mercedes-amg is very strongly rep­re­sented by six cars in­clud­ing Grup­pem Rac­ing, Team Nin­teen Corp Black Fal­con, Sunen­ergy1 Rac­ing and Team Craft Bam­boo Black Fal­con — which has con­firmed a star driver line-up com­pris­ing Ger­mans Maro En­gel and Luca Stolz with DTM cham­pion Gary Paf­fett (GB).

Much of the Mercedes-amg at­ten­tion is fo­cused on lo­cal cars from Queens­land-based Scott Tay­lor Mo­tor­sport which has part­nered with two of the lead­ing teams from the Vir­gin Aus­tralian Su­per­cars Cham­pi­onship to run its Mercedes-amg GT3 coupes.

A part­ner­ship with Triple Eight Race En­gi­neer­ing brings the head­line com­bi­na­tion of Jamie Whin­cup, Shane van Gis­ber­gen and Craig Lown­des to a Pro cat­e­gory en­try while a sec­ond car in the Pro-am run cat­e­gory in con­junc­tion with Ere­bus Mo­tor­sport will be driven by David Reynolds, Luke Youlden and Yasser Shahin.

As­ton Martin was the first brand to con­firm its GT3 par­tic­i­pa­tion in the Bathurst 12-Hour as early as July with Switzer­land’s R-mo­tor­sport squad field­ing two Van­tage V12 GT3 cars. A Mclaren en­try has al­ready been con­firmed from Ob­jec­tive Rac­ing run­ning in the Pro-am cat­e­gory with its 650S GT3 with team-owner Tony Walls joined by Aus­tralian War­ren Luff and Mclaren fac­tory driver An­drew Wat­son from Scot­land. Fer­rari and Lam­borgh­ini will be rep­re­sented by two cars each.

The BMW Sch­nitzer team re­turns to the Bathurst 12-Hour with a driver lineup that in­cludes Su­per­cars ace Chaz Mostert.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.