The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour has turned itself into the race in Australia that draws drivers from other categories. V8 Supercar drivers and international drivers are eager to drive and international teams are starting to attend the event.
The 2013 event features a 50-car field with drivers from 17 nationalities represented. Twenty marques will take the start line and teams from New Zealand, Italy, Singapore, the United States, Germany, England, Belgium, Switzerland and France have made the treck to Australian shores.
Headline teams features are Italian giants – AF Corse who will race alongside Phoenix Racing from Germany – who are the two time defending champions, Liqui Moly Team Engstler are making their debut with their BMW Z4 GT3.
The U.S. is also represented for the first time with the DragonSpeed effort with their Audi R8 LMS ulta. Not to be discounted are the Clearwater Racing Ferrari squad from Singapore, which finished third in 2012 and will be looking to improve on their result with their Ferrari 458 GT3
The Australian contingent will be eager to overcome their international counterparts. Erebus Racing, which finished second in 2012 will be eager to do one better. They have gone all-out with the squads, hiring a crack team of Germans for their lead car.
Maranello Motorsports are also back with their Ferrari 458 GT3. After smashing the lap record in 2012, they will be eager to overcome the mechanical issues they experienced to fight for victory.
The top class, Class A, features 18 cars – all GT3 machines with Corvette, Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, Mosler, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Lamborghini being represented.
Undoubtedly Audi and Ferrari will be the strongest cars and with six Audis and three Ferraris on the grid, these marques will be fighting the Erebus Mercedes-Benz team for victory.
The other classes – there are three sportscar classes – two production car classes and three invitational classes will see great competition as well.
While the Aston Martin entry from the Swiss St Gallen squad will bring some interest, the Peugeot France Peugeot RCZ invitational entry will be drawing international interest with a combination of Peugeot specialists teaming up with V8 Supercar drivers.
Along with world-class machines, the event has drawn world-class drivers.
Three former F1 drivers and an F1 tester (Mika Salo, Ivan Capelli, Bernd Schneider and Brendon Hartley) will be on the grid. Current WTCC Champion, Rob Huff joins a plethora of V8 Supercar drivers (including former Champion Craig Lowndes and former Bathurst 1000 winner, Greg Murphy). Sportscar regulars including Matt Griffin, Elton Julian, Bruce Jouanny and Harold Primat will also be lining up.
The event calls for warm weather, which will be welcomed after last year’s event which saw fog and heavy rain.
Undoubtedly, the race will be one of the most unpredictable events in the history of the Mountain.
It will be governed by a similar rule book to that of the 24 Hours of Dubai, meaning that class structure and balance of performance specifications is a known quantity for the teams involved.
The race will feature a benchmark time for each category, where if beaten, a weight penalty will ensue. Qualifying will be an aggregate time of all drivers and each driver can drive for a maximum of 4.5 hours.
Overall, there are up to ten cars, that on their day could challenge for victory. And picking the winner from that list is nearly impossible.
ENTRY LIST: Click Here
The Bathurst 12 Hour is set to begin Sunday at 7 a.m. local (Saturday, 3 p.m. ET), with live streaming video coverage available at: http://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/, in cooperation with audio commentary from Radio Le Mans.