The countdown to the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is officially on with entries now open for the February 2-4 event.
An array of Supercars drivers are again expected for the race, which is promoted by the company’s events arm.
This year’s race was won by a Triple Eight-assisted Maranello Motorsport Ferrari shared by Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and factory driver Toni Vilander.
Door-to-door battles between Whincup, who was making his GT debut, and Mercedes-mounted Supercars team-mate Shane van Gisbergen proved the highlight of the event.
Experienced GT campaigner van Gisbergen eventually crashed out during the closing stages in a dramatic climax to the day-long fight.
Van Gisbergen has since continued his Mercedes GT quest overseas this season, finishing fourth in class at the weekend's WeatherTech Sportscar Championship event at Watkins Glen, USA.
Although Bathurst driver line-ups for 2018 are yet to firm, Maranello owner Mark Coffey has confirmed that his squad is determined to defend its victory.
Maranello has won the race twice in the last four years, with Lowndes having led the squad to victory in 2014.
“We have supported the Bathurst 12 Hour every year since it became a GT race and we’re already working on our plans to come back next year,” Coffey said.
“Things didn’t go to plan when we tried to defend our 2014 win so we want to come back next year and see if we can go back-to-back, which has only been achieved once before in the GT era.
“The Bathurst 12 hour has become a ‘must win’ race on the GT schedule and we’re proud to represent Ferrari every year. It is our intention to do so again in 2018.”
Whincup wasn’t the only Supercars star making his GT debut at Bathurst this year, with Prodrive pair Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert lining up in BMWs.
Although part of an AM class driver combination, Mostert showed his potential by qualifying on the front-row and leading the early stages.
The 2017 field also featured Nissan duo Todd Kelly and Michael Caruso, as well as Garth Tander, Will Davison, Lee Holdsworth, Tim Slade and David Reynolds.
There were plenty of other familiar Supercars faces in the paddock too, with direct involvement from Triple Eight, Tekno Autosports (McLaren), Walkinshaw (Porsche) and Nissan Motorsport alongside a variety of other team engineers on freelance assignments.
Supercars legends including Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall also added to the field, with the latter already declaring his intention to return in 2018 despite being destined to miss out on a seat in the Bathurst 1000 for the first time since his debut in 1994.
Tickets for the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour go on sale today, while 2017 campers can book from 9am Monday, 10 July and have until Monday 24 July to secure their existing sites before general camping sales commence at 9am Wednesday 26 July 2017.