IN WHAT could be the biggest driver announcement in the lead-up to the 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour yet, Australian media have today reported that 2016 winner Shane van Gisbergen will make a shock switch from McLaren to Mercedes for next year’s race.
Speedcafe.com today confirmed that the Kiwi would join Craig Baird and a yet-to-be-named third driver in the Scott Taylor Motorsport AMG GT3 for the February 5-7 event.
It makes a big shift for van Gisbergen who for the last two years has been a McLaren factory driver, culminating in victory in this year’s Blancpain Endurance Series.
“I think it’s a pretty good place to try and defend the title up there,” Van Gisbergen told Speedcafe.com.
“Driving with Bairdo, he’s obviously very good at the moment.
“Last year in the McLaren he was quick at Bathurst and he’s shown good pace in the Merc.”
Taylor, who missed the season-ending Australian Endurance Championship races while recovering from leg injuries sustained in a Gold Coast crash earlier this year, said he was going all-out for victory in next year’s race.
“I knew in 2017 that when this car is eligible to run, this is our year to have a crack at the Bathurst title,” Taylor told Speedcafe.com.
“I didn’t want to have a Pro-Am team. Like in business, I want to win and I’m going to assemble what I need to in order to achieve that.
“Shane’s results in Supercars and GT cars show that he is clearly the guy to get, so once he worked through his obligations we locked him in to drive with Craig.”
The team owner confirmed he was in the process of sorting an ‘international star’ as the third driver for an entry that will enter the race as an early favorite.
Taylor also noted he was working on pulling a second entry together for the race with an ‘all-star line up from Australia’ that could also run.
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