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Gounon's shot at unique Bathurst glory

Bathurst 12 Hour
15 Feb
This weekend’s Repco Bathurst 12 Hour offers a chance for a global sports car star to write himself in Mount Panorama folklore
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  • Jules Gounon aiming for record-extending fourth straight win

  • No driver has won four consecutive Bathurst enduros

  • Five drivers have won three straight Bathurst 1000s

This weekend’s Repco Bathurst 12 Hour offers a chance for a global sports car star to write himself in Mount Panorama folklore.

French driver Jules Gounon returns to Australia with Kenny Habul, Luca Stolz and SunEnergy 1 Racing for a third year in a row.

Gounon, Habul and Stolz took out last year’s race in a thrilling finish, with Gounon surviving a final-hour clash with GruppeM Mercedes-AMG star Mark Engel to win the race.

Where Gounon, Habul and Stolz are aiming for three straight wins — having also won the 2022 race together with Martin Konrad — Gounon is eyeing a record never before achieved in endurance racing at Mount Panorama.

Gounon also claimed victory in 2020 with Bentley, with the 2021 race not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On all three occasions, Gounon took the chequered flag.

SunEnergy cling on to take the win

Only Bathurst 1000 legends Peter Brock, Jim Richards, Larry Perkins, Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup have claimed three Bathurst enduros in a row, while Gounon is the only one to achieve it in the 12 Hour.

Brock achieved the feat twice, with Richards between 1978 and 1980, and Perkins between 1982 and 1984. An emotional victory for Dick Johnson in 1981 prevented Brock from a staggering seven straight victories in the Great Race.

Lowndes and Whincup, both Bathurst 12 Hour winners, including victory together in 2017, won three straight Bathurst 1000s between 2006 and 2008.

For Gounon, the target is again the IGTC crown, with his journey starting at his "undisputed favourite track."

“I had a nice winter as the reigning IGTC champion," Gounon said.

Gounon dreaming of Bathurst three-peat Open Graph Image
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"The title means a lot to me as it is something I worked to achieve for many years. You only reach it with consistent achievements in the world’s biggest and toughest races.

"This year, I would like to build on this success and drive four good races. But that will certainly be more difficult as the pressure is higher when you aren’t racing as an outsider.

"I hope for a good week at Bathurst. It is my undisputed favourite track and I can hardly wait to get back there."

It has been a bumper 12 months for the 29-year-old Frenchman, who calls Andorra home.

Notably, Gounon claimed last year's Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) title, was recently announced as reserve driver for the Alpine Endurance Team in their brand new A424 Hypercar, and was ranked 35th in Autosport's Top 50 Drivers for 2023.

He is one of eight former Bathurst 12 Hour victors to be represented on the grid, this year for a total of 13 victories in Australia’s international Enduro.

Track action for the Repco Bathurst 12 Hour will get underway from Friday morning. Tickets for the event are on sale now.

Three straight wins in Bathurst enduro

Driver

Race

Wins

Peter Brock

Bathurst 1000

1978, 1979, 1980

Jim Richards

Bathurst 1000

1978, 1979, 1980

Peter Brock

Bathurst 1000

1982, 1983, 1984

Larry Perkins

Bathurst 1000

1982, 1983, 1984

Craig Lowndes

Bathurst 1000

2006, 2007, 2008

Jamie Whincup

Bathurst 1000

2006, 2007, 2008

Jules Gounon

Bathurst 12 Hour

2020, 2022, 2023

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