Bathurst 12 Hour confirms long list of star drivers for 2020 race


McLaren returns to Mount Panorama with Australian Customer Team 59Racing fielding two 720SGT3 entries, one each in the Pro and Silver classes.

For 59Racing, which was only established in 2019 it is the first Bathurst event and a great opportunity to build on the hard work from the past 12 months in Australia GT.

The ’59’ in the team branding represents a number of significance to the McLaren brand, the 1995 LeMans 24 Hour winning car carrying the number en route to victory that year.

Alvaro Parente has rejoined forces with the marque he won the event with in 2016, and will be joined by McLaren factory driver Ben Barnicoat, with Tom Blomqvist completing the driver roster.

MARC Cars Australia has confirmed that 2011 Bathurst 1000 winner and current Supercar driver Nick Percat will head up the two-car, Scandia Group backed attack on this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

Percat will be well supported by regular Bathurst 12 Hour racers, Aaron Cameron and Jake Camilleri. Both Cameron and Camilleri come to the event with plenty of experience driving MARC Cars around the famous Bathurst track.

Cameron has been a front runner and recent race winner in the new TCR Australia series, while long-time MARC Car racer, Camilleri has a wealth of Bathurst experience and speed to back up his other team members in the #91 MARC Car.

The sister #92 car will be headed by experienced Englishman, James Kaye. Kaye is a superstar of the British Touring Car Championship and has plenty of Bathurst experience with two previous Bathurst 1000 race starts.

TONY Bates confirmed that triple GT champion Geoff Emery, Carrera Cup and Super2 ace Dylan O’Keeffe and noted GT ace and Porsche champion Max Twigg would join him aboard a Bostik-supported Audi R8 LMS, resplendent in a striking blue and green livery.

AUDI SPORT Customer Racing confirmed perhaps their strongest ever Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour campaign yet – on the tenth anniversary of the brands first of three wins in Australia’s International Enduro. Their three combinations are each absolutely race contenders: Christopher Haase, former winner Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch in car 2, Mirko Bortolotti, double winner Christopher Mies and Garth Tander in the 22 with Car 222 piloted by Mattia Drudi, Kelvin van der Linde and Marcus Winkelhock.

THIS was the big one: Bathurst hero Craig Lowndes confirmed to join two of the very best in the Sports Car business driving a car entered by the team that won the race last year. Laurens Vanthoor and Earl Bamber are both among the most capable Sports Car racers in the world – Vanthoor has electrified the Mountain in the past while Bamber has a couple of Le Mans victories and a World title to his credit. And both won the IMSA GTE championship last year. Craig Lowndes is just Craig Lowndes, and will surely do Craig Lowndes things in this remarkable combination that are short-priced early favorites. Car looks good, too..

MONDAY was a big day, with news coming later in the evening that R-Motorsport’s second Aston Martin Vantage GT3 entry would include a trio of young guns, just to spice things up. Joining last year’s runner-up Marvin Kirchofer, 17-year-old Olli Caldwell and five-time FIA Formula Two race winner Luca Ghiotto form a fascinating combination that could be something of a wildcard this year.

THE second element of Earl Bamber Motorsport’s tasty (pardon the pun) combination came on Wednesday, with the announcement of the NED Racing Team entry of David Calvert-Jones, Jaxon Evans and Romain Dumas. CJ is a former Pro-Am class winner on the Mountain, while Evans’ has plenty of Bathurst miles and is currently gainfully employed by Porsche as a junior driver. Dumas has quite literally won just about everything there is to win in Sports Car racing so when coupled by their new Australian whiskey sponsor, this is a mouth-watering combination in its own right.

MERCEDES-AMG tend not to do things by half when it comes to Mount Panorama and the same can be said for their SIX strong squad of GT3s entered this year.

Mercedes-AMG Team Triple Eight Race Engineering – Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen, Maximillian Gotz
Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing – Maximilian Buhk, Raffaele Marciello, Felipe Fraga
Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Black Falcon – Yelmer Buurman, Maro Engel, Luca Stolz

The Bend Motorsport Park – Nick Foster, Anton de Pasquale, Sam Shahin and Yasser Shahin
Sun Energy1 Racing – Kenny Habul, David Reynolds, Dominik Baumann, Martin Konrad
Black Falcon Racing – Patrick Assenheimer, Sergej Afanasiev

Marciello, in particular, was stunning in 2019. SVG, Jamie and Maxi Gotz we know well. Engel is a former polesitter on the Mountain. David Reynolds is David Reynolds..

TIM SLADE was confirmed on Thursday to be returning to the Hub Auto team, which includes Brazilian experience in the form of Daniel Serra and Marcos Gomes – both champion drivers in their naitive country and in long-distance racing. It adds another strong car to the grid, Ferrari’s only contender this year.