The Bathurst 12 Hour – A Class Preview



The trip to Bathurst has obviously taken sportscar racing by storm.  In just a few years, the Bathurst 12 Hours has gone from just a handful of GT3 cars with smallish grids to a capacity 55 car that features 20 cars in the outright Class A field.

Over the coming days, we will be taking a quick look at the field as it was announced on 16 December.

Class A – 20 cars


Mercedes Benz SLS GT3

This has been the class of the field in the 2013 endurance races and dominated the field last year.  For the 2014 edition, we have the defending Champions – Erebus returning with a two car effort.  They won’t have it all their own way though, with the German HTP Motorsport team joining the race.  With these two squads, we see two of the best racing teams in the world.  Erebus took the Bathurst 12 Hours victory in 2013 along with strong showings in Asia and putting three V8 Supercars on the grid.  HTP were strong in both the ADAC GT Masters and FIA GT.  Their crowing glory was taking the Spa 24 Hours in 2013.  Both teams utilised the master – Bernd Schneider and whoever keeps him will be in the box seat for 2014 glory.

Despite a strong field, it is hard to see the winner coming from anywhere but here.


Audi R8 LMS

Class A sees six Audi R8 LMS machines.  The cars that dominated the race in 2011 and 2012 are back in force with 2011 winners, Phoenix Racing leading the charge.  They had a tougher run of it last year without copious of Audi backing but they are a strong team and never to be discounted.  Absolute Racing from the GT Asia series are taking on Australian racing for the first time.  Probably not a name well known in the international circles, they have won plenty of races in Asia.

United Autosports, however are a name we know well and they will have their third attempt at the Mountain. Last year they were looking at a strong sixth place before the final moments rain storm sent their car aquaplaning into the barrier on Conrod straight.  The United team will be joined by the American Rotek squad.  Fresh from winning the 25 Hours of Thunderhill, they know they have a car and team that can perform in endurance racing and could see multiple WTCC Champion Rob Huff race for the team.

The final two Audis are with the Australian teams.  The Marc Cini/Mark Eddy car will be solid if a little off the pace.  The two time Australian GT Champion (Eddy) performed well and scored a podium in 2011 but struggled in latter events.  Rod Salmon is back and in form after taking a race win in the final Australian GT round in New Zealand.  The car has solid pace and with young gun Liam Talbolt at the wheel, it can perform at the front.


Ferrari 458 GT3

The Ferraris had always been super quick in the hands of the late Allan Simonsen and his pace has been forever remembered with the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy. Remaining though is his Maranello Motorsport team – the same team he won the Australian GT Championship with back in 2007.  They have an absolute gun lineup with Gent Peter Edwards being joined by Mika Salo, Craig Lowndes and John Bowe – These drivers surely do not need any introduction having an F1 career and many Australian touring car titles between them. If this car stays together, it is surely a shot a the win.  In the past the car’s pace has only been matched by its fragility.

The Singaporean Clearwater team are back and looking to go one better than their second place in 2013.  They have a third and a second to their credit and the team of Mok-Wen Sung, Craig Baird and Matt Griffin are certainly capable of taking a win.  Their car is perfectly prepared, sounds great and would be a popular victor.

The AF Corse squad are back making their obligatory visit to every GT race they can. They are back for a second year after a low profile entry in the 2013 event.  They have had considerable success in 2013, including success in Asia and can never be ruled out of a chance for victory.

The final Ferrari entry is the Vicious Rumour Team.  A team that has competed in the State Victorian Championships certainly has the equipment to win but probably not the big race experience to take on a field like this.

If Mercedes slip up, look to a Ferrari to take the top step of the podium.


Lamborghini Gallardo GT3

The Lamborghini is perhaps getting a little long in the tooth but it is still a quick machine in the care of Lago Racing.  Team owner Roger Lago is in the dictionary under ‘unlucky’ with the car being bent more times that we bear to think.  In 2013 it was eliminated in the opening minutes but Roger will have Peter Kox at the wheel.  Kox has visited the race twice before but never turned a lap in the race with his 2012 car being eliminated in qualifying and in the 2013 ride DNFing before he got a chance to race.

M-Motorsport are a regular in the Australian GT Championship and should be a great prospect of a midpack result.   They are a dual Victorian State Championship winning team with Justin McMillan but probably lack the pace for an outright win.



For most, the Vita4One team are GT royalty having raced in the GT1 World Championship and other Ratel series for years.  They have plenty of experience in endurance racing and took a class win a decade ago on the Mountain in the then, Bathurst 24 Hour race.  They will be hoping to better the race of the LiquiMoly team of 2013 when they crashed when the driver was over come by fumes.  These guys could be a dark horse for the win.


Corvette Z06R GT3

The Trofeo team will have the choice of Pirelli tyres being the importer for the brand in Australia.  The Australian GT regulars have found a lot of pace in their Corvette during the year with Greg Murphy at the wheel.  Provided they can keep him at the wheel he will perform well in qualifying.  Former F1 star Ivan Capelli is a regular with the team but Jim Manilios will slow the team down quite a bit.


Porsche GT3 R

The car of the reigning GT Champion, Klark Quinn will be a well turned out machine.  The now 2 time Aussie Champ has been in great form of late and his father, Tony Quinn will be joining him.  Tony has been showing speed in 2013 that we have never seen before and will hopefully last longer than the few minutes he did this year – and escape without broken ribs!  They will be joined by Shane Van Gisbergen who has been racing to victory in the V8 Supercar Championship.  This car scored a podium in 2011 but may struggle for ultimate pace over 12 hours.

Nissan GTR Nismo GT3

The final Class A entry comes from the factory Nissan team.  Having entered V8 Supercars again in 2013 and being the team that dominated the Bathurst 1000 in the early 1990s with the legendary Godzilla, the Mountain holds a special place for the company.  They are coming back to win as well.  We are expecting a crack driver lineup and the best of everything to win this event.  Inexperience of the team on this track may count against them but the will to win will be there!

By Sam Tickell,  2013

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