Never before have there been more good reasons to get to Mount Panorama’s other epic long-distance enduro, because Australia’s top GT race is set to be a classic this year.
There’s an international field of drivers, mixed with the best drivers from the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship, some of the most impressive GT machinery from a huge range of brands and a surprising level of access and affordability to make it a great weekend out for fan.
If you are looking for more reasons to make a second pilgrimage to the Mountain each year, this event could be for you.
Here’s 12 reasons why supercars.com think you should head to the Bathurst 12 Hour..
1. Shane van Gisbergen
This will be the first time in 2017 to watch the defending Virgin Australia Supercars Champion in action on home bitumen. SVG moves to Scott Taylor Motorsport for this year’s 12-hour, linking up with five-time Porsche champion Craig Baird and factory AMG ace Maro Engel in a very strong team. Remarkably, the flying Kiwi isn’t just the hottest property in Supercars racing at the moment – he’s about the same in the GT world. This will be fun to watch.
2. Dynamic Duos Reunited
This year’s 12 Hour is bringing back together some of the best combinations from recent Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 history.
Not only are Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup back together – driving a Ferrari 488 GT3 for Maranello Motorsport – but Steven Richards and Mark Winterbottom will be back in the same car following their success a few years ago for Prodrive Racing Australia.
Plenty of Bathurst success in those two cars!
3. Skaife and Ingall.. in the same car!
They’re responsible for one of the greatest rivalries in Supercars history, but in recent years Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall have been friendlier than ever. Not only working together for FOX Sports, the pair have taken their newfound friendship to new levels by agreeing to drive with each other in this year’s 12 Hour. Skaife and Ingall will be joined by Tony Longhurst and ex-F1 ace Timo Glock in a works BMW and will absolutely be contenders for the race.
4. There’s a Top-10 shootout
The Top-10 shootout is one of the most iconic traditions tied to Mount Panorama, and for the first time it will feature in the 12-hour weekend. It should be thrilling – and could produce stunning lap times as well with the first sub two-minute lap a real possibility.
5. Aussies and Internationals pairing up..
One of the best things about the 12-hour is that it’s one of the few races where our best and brightest can team up with the best racers from around the world. Where else would you see ex-Formula 1, IndyCar and DTM star Timo Glock teaming up with a trio of Aussie legends like Skaife, Ingall and Longhurst? Or a factory Ferrari driver from Finland, Toni Vilander, joining forces with the likes of Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup? What a mix.
6. .. and going head to head.
As outlined in point five, there’s nowhere else in the world where the Supercar Stars can go head to head with the best of the best from overseas. The 12-hour is the chance for Supercars stars to strut their stuff, on a level playing field, with some of the world’s top drivers. Turns out, our heroes go very well indeed.
7. The Sunrise
Just look at this!
8. It's affordable
Few events offer the kind of bang-for-buck that the Bathurst 12 Hour delivers.
With GA tickets starting at just $20 for an Adult on Friday – and $35 for Sunday - you get plenty of on and off track excitement for your dollars. What’s more, there are two great grandstand options – including a brand-new covered stand at turn one, complete with its own big screen.
Camping is available at the top of the Mountain, there are options for Glamping and they’re all well priced. Check out bathurst12hour.com.au for more details.
9. The Cars
Nowhere else in Australia will you see such a diverse mix of machinery as at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. More than 35 GT3 vehicles and approaching 60 cars in total will be on track, cars like the Ferrari 488 GT3, McLaren 650S GT3 and Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3.. and that’s just the start. In 2017 we’ll see the BMW M6GT3 and the Mercedes AMG GT3 for the first time, the KTM X-Bow will join the fun and old favourites like the MARC Cars enduro specials will be back.
10. The access
There aren’t many major races in Australia where your GA ticket gets you so much access than the 12-hour. From the back of the pits to the rooftop and all the way to the top of the mountain, you can access most of the precinct with just the one ticket. And great on-course commentary, big screens and close viewing mean you see it all.
What’s more, if you don’t want to sit on the grassed banks, there’s two ticketed grandstand options, Camping or even Glamping on the top of the mountain!
11. The Weather
Okay, we all know Bathurst is.. well.. Bathurst and that Mount Panorama often has its own microclimate, but February in New South Wales’ stunning Central West is generally a picture. Warm days with plenty of sunshine make a bit of a difference from the chill that often permeates the region. It’s a great time to get trackside, enjoy the weather and the on-track action.
Just keep the rain jacket somewhere nearby. It is Bathurst, after all..
12. The finish
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 is famous for producing some of the most thrilling finishes in the sport – and the 12-hour isn’t much different.
Across 2014, 2015 and 2016 there has been 2160 minutes of racing across three 12-hour races.
The total winning margin, across all three races, has been 3.72 seconds.