Eleven different GT3 brands making up a record-breaking 34-car strong GT3 field will assemble for the 2020 Liqui-Moli Bathurst 12 Hour at Mount Panorama Circuit for the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge run in conjunction with the Australian Endurance Championship from January 31 – February 2. With a total of 40 cars, the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour is up two cars from last year’s race.
The world-class field features a total of twelve manufacturers across GT3, GT4, and Invitational Class machinery, with Class A’s 10 brands comprising of Mercedes-AMG, BMW, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, Ferrari, Nissan, Honda, McLaren, Porsche, and Lamborghini.
Last year’s winning team Earl Bamber Motorsport returns with two Porsche 991.2 GT3Rs — an updated model form last year’s 991 — with a yet to be announced line-up, while defending winners and Porsche works drivers Dirk Werner and Matt Campbell join Absolute Racing for that team’s maiden Bathurst 12 Hour race, moving from one Porsche team to the other. Grove Racing, winners last year in the Porsche Carrera Cup class, are stepping up with a brand-new Porsche 991.2 GT3R for father and son Stephen and Brenton Grove alongside long-time co-driver Ben Barker.
Back for another go at victory is R-Motorsport. When the Swiss team arrived last year with the old spec Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 and young, inexperienced drivers, no one but the team itself expected them to go for the win, but go for the win they did. Now armed with the new Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 and a stellar drivers line-up consisting of last year’s runner-up Jake Dennis, Australian superstar Rick Kelly and IndyCar, Indy 500 and Daytona 24 Hours champion Scott Dixon, the Aston squad is aiming for one higher than last year.
Three-time winner Audi is solely represented by local teams. Audi Sport Team Valvoline leads the charge as the Australian team enters three Pro class cars for three-time Bathurst 1000 winner and reigning Australian Endurance champion Garth Tander with Audi works drivers expected to fill the remaining seats. Another R8 in the Pro-Am class will be raced by Lee Holdsworth, Dean Fiore and Marc Cini, while Tony Bates Racing brings one car for the Silver class.
Also out in force is Mercedes-AMG. Five cars are confirmed with a sixth in the Silver class to be announced. Hong Kong-based teams Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Racing and Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing are Mercedes-AMG’s chosen teams for the Bathurst 12 Hour. GruppeM Racing won the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy in 2019 and continued to fight for the championship until the finale in Kyalami. Victories, however, were not part of GruppeM Racing’s success last year, leaving the team craving for more. GruppeM Racing and Craft-Bamboo Racing are joined on the grid by Australian powerhouse Triple Eight Race Engineering and Kenny Habul’s private entry.
New on the entry list is the addition of a single Honda NSX GT3 in the hands of factory team JAS Motorsport. Honda joined the championship last year in Laguna Seca where the mid-engine sportscar immediately scored pole position and finished fifth in the Spa 24 Hours.
Lamborghini is also bringing out the big guns with 2019 Blancpain GT champion Orange1 FFF Racing Team making its Intercontinental GT Challenge debut, joining Wall Racing and Trofeo Motorsport on the grid with a Lamborghini Huracán GT3. The team’s 2019 Blancpain GT line-up of Andrea Caldarelli, Marco Mapelli and Dennis Lind take up the wheel for the race at the mountain.
Class C/GT4 at this point has a single confirmed entry. Daren Jorgensen and Brett Storm take the BMW M4 GT4 under the banner of RHC Jorgensen-Strom out to Mount Panorama, sharing the car with Jon Miller.
Four cars make up the Class I/Invitational, all coming from the MARC Cars factory.
The 2020 edition marks the 18th running of the Bathurst 12 Hour. On the line is the Australian Tourist Trophy, one of the country’s oldest prizes. First track action is scheduled for Friday 31 January.
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