The Supercars stars of the Bathurst 12 Hour

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 30/01/2017
  • By Lewis Isaacs

Twelve stars of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will join the 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour grid from February 3-5.

While a host of international drivers and teams will descend upon Mount Panorama this week, many Supercars champions, Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winners and series regulars will be in contention for the number of classes in the jam-packed grid.

Supercars.com previews the entries of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship drivers.

 

Shane van Gisbergen

Class A – GT3 Pro

#22 STM/HTP Motorsport Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3

The reigning Virgin Australian Supercars champion switches to a Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 for 2017 after winning the 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in a McLaren 650S.

Undoubtedly, he’s the man with a target on his back, and with recent success in GT racing overseas and his Supercars title, the Kiwi enters this year’s race as one of the favourites alongside former Supercars regulars Craig Baird and Maro Engel.

SVG also arrives race sharp after taking part in the 2017 Daytona 24 Hours, where he gained valuable time aboard an AMG GT3.

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Michael Caruso

Class A – GT3 Pro

#23 Nissan Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3

Nissan’s top Supercars performer from 2016 continues his foray into GT racing after joining the company’s local program last year.

While it is his first attempt at the Bathurst 12 Hour, Caruso is joined by former winner Katsumasa Chiyo and global GT star and former Supercars co-driver, Alex Buncombe in the #23 GTR.

 

Todd Kelly

Class A – GT3 Pro

#24 Nissan Motorsport Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3

It’s over a decade since Todd Kelly won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, but now the Nissan Motorsports racer will make his debut at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

Kelly is a newcomer to GT racing, but has 19 Bathurst starts to his name and is joined by two graduates of Nissan’s successful gamer-to-racer GT Academy program, Florian Strauss and Jann Mardenborough.

 

Will Davison

Class A – GT3 Pro

58 Tekno Autosports/McLaren GT McLaren 650S GT3

Tekno Autosports driver Will Davison will slide into the team’s McLaren 650S GT3 for the second year in a row as he aims to add to his 2016 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 crown.

Davison has a number of Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour starts under his belt and his experience and knowledge of the track will be called upon by the factory-McLaren outfit.

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Mark Winterbottom

Class A – GT3 Pro

#60 BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3

The 2013 Supercheap Auto Bathurst winning combination is reunited as ‘Frosty’ re-links with Steven Richards.

DTM champion Marco Wittman joins the pair in a factory-backed BMW M6 GT3.

While Richards knows the car intimately after racing in it throughout 2016, Winterbottom will mark his 12 Hour debut but does so after a handful of testing opportunities and the chance to show the GT world what he is capable of.

 

Garth Tander

Class A – GT3 Pro

#74 Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3

Garry Rogers Motorsport racer Garth Tander continues his GT stint with Jamec Pem Racing after competing in last year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and a number of Australian GT races with the team.

Tander’s acquisition is the ideal combination of local knowledge and GT experience for the Audi squad that are expected to challenge for race honours.

 

Craig Lowndes

Class A – GT3 Pro

#88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3

The Supercars legend is reunited with the Maranello Motorsport team he won the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with.

Lowndes is no stranger to racing GT3 machinery and joins the Ferrari squad with his Triple Eight Race Engineering team also assisting throughout the weekend.

The six-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner missed the 2016 race through injury but a return to familiar surroundings makes him one of the race favourites.

 

Jamie Whincup

Class A – GT3 Pro

#88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3

In a move that brings together three-time Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winning teammates, Jamie Whincup joins Lowndes in the #88 Maranello Motorsports Ferrari 488.

While his touring car credentials are well documented, the biggest question mark remains on how he will transition to GT3 machinery. Alongside Lowndes and fellow experienced campaigner Toni Vilander, Whincup will be able to learn from some of the best and put the Ferrari in contention for the race win.

 

Lee Holdsworth

Class A – GT3 Pro/Am

#9 Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS GT3

Preston Hire Racing’s Lee Holdsworth re-joins the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour field and will campaign an Audi R8 LMS alongside Dean Fiore and Marc Cini.

Holdsworth will make his second start at the race after finishing sixth outright for Erebus Motorsport in 2013.


Tim Slade

Class A – GT3 Pro/Am

#11 Objective Racing McLaren 650S

Freightliner Racing’s Tim Slade will get behind the wheel of the Objective Racing McLaren 650S for the second year in a row after a breakout Supercars campaign.

Slade has made a number of starts in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and joins Supercars co-drivers Warren Luff and Alex Davison alongside Tony Walls in a car expected to contend for Pro/Am honours.

Practice 2

David Reynolds

Class A – GT3 Pro/Am

#61 Hogs Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

Erebus Motorsport driver David Reynolds returns to the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz AMG SLS GT3 for the second consecutive year after finishing fifth overall in 2016.

Reynolds is expected to lead the Hogs racing entry with the previous Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 pole-sitter no slouch around the track.

 

Chaz Mostert

Class A – GT3 Am

#90 MARC Cars Australia BMW M6 GT3

Supercheap Auto Racing’s Chaz Mostert has the chance to make some unique Mount Panorama history this weekend.

After winning the 2014 Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 and the 2016 Bathurst 6 Hour, Mostert has the chance to add a 12 Hour trophy to his mantelpiece after joining the MARC Cars Australia BMW M6 GT3 team.

Mostert sampled the car around the track in late 2016 and pairs up with GT regulars Max Twigg and Morgan Haber.

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