Bentley to return as 12hr grid builds

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THE RETURN of Bentley Team M-Sport headlines an initial 58-car entry list released today ahead of the 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

15 brands feature on the current entry list, with the addition of a pair of Bentley Continental GT3s from the M-Sport operation adding to an already stunning GT3 grid that presently stands at 35 cars.

In just two years, the works Bentley operation has quickly established themselves as fan favourites of the 12-hour, narrowly missing a podium finish in 2015 before hustling to third place this year.

The team will announce further details, including whether 2016 podium finishers Matt Bell, Steven Kane and Guy Smith will return, in due course.

Hong Kong-based team Craft Bamboo Racing will also return to the Mountain next year with their pair of Porsche 911 GT3R entries – two years after finishing on the podium in the thrilling conclusion to the 2015 race when they raced Aston Martins.

The Craft Bamboo entries join Walkinshaw Racing and US-based Competition Motorsport in an expanded outright Porsche attack, the latest Porsche 911 GT3 R set for its Bathurst 12 Hour debut next February.

Other highlights include four Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 entries (two each from the Nissan factory outfit and privateer entry Hobson Motorsport), the return of 2014 runners-up HTP Motorsport and their Mercedes AMG GT3 from Germany plus a host of locally-run AMG entries.

Audi are the most numerous marque with 7 R8 LMS entries confirmed starters, while five Mercedes Benz / AMG entries are on the list alongside the two BMW Team SRM M6 GT3s.

Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes/AMG, Nissan and Porsche are all represented in Class A.

The 15 brands include teams from Australia, New Zealand, Germany, England, Switzerland, Hong Kong and the USA.

A strong driver roster has already begun to emerge, with stars from Australia’s Virgin Australia Supercars championship and GT racing around the world confirming their intention to compete.

Current Supercars stars Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, new champion Shane van Gisbergen, Mark Winterbottom and Chaz Mostert will all compete while legends of the sport like Mark Skaife, Russell Ingall, Tony Longhurst and Steven Richards are also set.

International stars like Timo Glock, Marco Wittmann, Patrick Long and Marc Lieb have already been locked in amongst a host expected to compete.

Class allocations within the three-tiered outright class, including those to contest the B.R.M Chronographes Pro/Am and Am classes, are yet to be determined.

While the outright GT3 class is the strongest ever entered for the race, growth has also been seen in the various classes – particularly in Class C for GT4 vehicles.

Eight cars are currently confirmed for the emerging growth category, representing Aston Martin, Porsche, Lotus, KTM and McLaren, respectively.

While the R-Motorpsort Aston Martin Vantage GT4, Donut King Racing Lotus and Pro-Sport Performance Porsche team have previously visited the Mountain, the KTM X-Bow and McLaren 570S will be making their first Bathurst starts.

The diverse Invitational class is set to provide a remarkably diverse array of machinery, both Production-based cars and endurance racing specials alike.

While MARC Cars Australia dominate the list with a record-breaking eight entries, the most ever by a single team in a Bathurst enduro, the Bathurst debut of an Aston Martin Vantage GT8 will be a fascinating addition – Swiss-based R-Motorsport entering in Invitational alongside their Vantage GT4 in Class C.

The fan-favourite Daytona Coupe returns, as done the double race-winning BMW 335i and the iconic Mazda RX7.

Entries close on Friday, December 16 with a final entry list for the race to be released following that date.

PRELIMINARY ENTRY LIST – December 7, 2016.

Team Name Manufacturer Model Class
Miedecke Stone Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage A
Miedecke Stone Motorsport Aston Martin V12 Vantage A
DJS Racing Audi R8 LMS A
GT Motorsport Pty Ltd Audi R8 LMS A
Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS A
Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS A
Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS A
Supabarn Audi R8 LMS A
Team ASR Pty Ltd Audi R8 LMS A
Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continential GT3 A
Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continential GT3 A
BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3 A
BMW Team SRM BMW M6 GT3 A
Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 488 GT3 A
Vicious Rumours Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 A
Kiwi Racing Lamborghini R-EX A
Lago Racing Lamborghini R-EX A
Trofeo Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 A
Keltic Racing McLaren 650s A
McLaren GT McLaren 650S A
Objective Racing McLaren 650S A
HTP MOTORSPORT Mercedes AMG GT GT3 A
Mark Griffith Mercedes AMG GT GT3 A
Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes AMG GT GT3 A
Erebus Motorsport Mercedes Benz SLS A
Erebus Motorsport Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 A
Nissan Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 A
Nissan Nissan GTR Nismo GT3 A
Wall Racing / Hobson Motorsport Nissan GT-R A
Wall Racing / Hobson Motorsport Nissan GT-R A
AMAC Motorsport Porsche GT3 R A
Competition Motorsports Porsche 991 GT3 R A
Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R A
Craft-Bamboo Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R A
Walkinshaw GT3 Porsche 911 GT3 R A
Grove Motorsport Porsche TBC B
Synep Racing Porsche 991 Cup Car B
Wall Racing Porsche 997 GT3 Cup Car MY07 B
R-Motorsport Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT4 C
M Motorsport KTM X-Bow GT4 C
Donut King Racing Lotus Exige C
McLaren GT McLaren 570S C
Brookspeed Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubman C
Brookspeed Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubman C
PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4 C
PROsport Performance Porsche Cayman PRO4 C
R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT8 I
Daytona Sportscars Daytona Coupe I
MARC Cars Australia MARC Focus V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC Focus V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC MAZDA 3 V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC MAZDA 3 V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC MAZDA 3 V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC Focus V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC Focus V8 I
MARC Cars Australia MARC Focus V8 I
On Track Motorsport BMW 335i I
Ric Shaw Racing Mazda RX7 I