Vodafone, Triple Eight’s Supercars sponsor from 2007-12, is backing the high-profile entry, looking to add to the four Bathurst 1000 wins the partnership enjoyed.
All three drivers are former winners of the 12 Hour – Lowndes achieving success in Ferraris in 2014 and ’17; the latter result alongside Whincup in a Triple Eight-supported effort.
Van Gisbergen won the race in 2016 aboard a Tekno Autosports McLaren and is the most experienced of the three in GT3 cars, having raced in Europe and the United States.
Lowndes says he’s excited to again team with Whincup, who the veteran is also expected to unite with for the 2019 PIRTEK Enduro Cup, following the end of his full-time Supercars career.
“It’s sort of like the old rat pack back together again, although we’ve got Shane on board,” said Lowndes, whose seven Bathurst 1000 wins includes the 2018 event.
“The car has lots of memories of when we had Vodafone on the Supercar, but it’s great to see the old colours back, great memories for that era.
“Hopefully the three of us can do Vodafone, Scott Taylor Motorsport and Triple Eight very proud.
“It’s going to be nice, obviously the three of us are very well compatible and we know the circuit very well.
“To have all three of us in one car is very strong. The car for me, I’ll need to get my head around it, but I’m sure that’ll come pretty quickly.”
While it’ll be Lowndes’ first time in a Mercedes GT3, van Gisbergen and Whincup drove STM-prepared AMGs in the 12 Hour in 2017 and ’18 respectively.
“I’m looking forward to teaming up with Lowndesy again, but both years Shane has been opposition for me, so it’s good to be in the same team for an all-out assault,” said Whincup.
“All the elements are there for a good show, but I’m just looking forward to bringing all that good that Triple Eight has, STM do a fantastic job and combining all that, we’re confident we can do a good job.”
Although van Gisbergen’s current focus is on his Supercars championship fight with Scott McLaughlin next weekend, he says he’s already looking forward to the 12 Hour on February 3.
“It’s amazing to team up with these guys. Working alongside them in the race team has been awesome, but getting to drive with them will be a pretty special moment for me,” he said.
“I think every year the event gets bigger and bigger. More European teams and drivers come out, more Australian Supercars guys jump in it too and it just seems to get tougher and tougher every year and the fans support that.
“Hopefully it’s an even bigger race next year and we can put on a good show.”