12-Hour winners on show at Bathurst museum

TWO iconic former winners of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will remain on show at the National Motor Racing Museum at the base of Mount Panorama until well into 2022. 

The 2013-winning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and the 2016-winning McLaren 650S GT3 take pride of place in the remarkable collection, open to everyone at Murray’s corner of the famous circuit.

The cars were a featured item throughout the recent Repco Bathurst 1000 week and will remain on display through the 2022 12-Hour next February.

The 12-hour takes pride of place in the Museum with its own display, right next to the current Larry Perkins feature exhibit that is the centrepiece of the exhibition.

The pair of cars are two of the most significant winners in race history, each carving a unique chapter into the race’s history.

The SLS AMG GT3 remains owned by Erebus Motorsport and won the race in 2013 as it exploded in popularity around the world.

Driven by German DTM legend Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jaeger and Alex Roloff, Erebus’ 2013 success was their first major Bathurst victory – to be followed by a win in the Bathurst 1000 several years later.

The thundering gull-winged coupe, with its 6.2 litre V8 beneath its long bonnet, survived wild weather at the end of the race to win by a full lap – the last time that has happened in Bathurst 12-Hour history.

The SLS remains one of the most popular cars in 12-hour and indeed GT3 history and also helped Erebus finish second in the 2012 race.

SLS AMG GT3s also finished 2nd and 3rd in 2014, fifth in 2015 and 2016 and, as well as winning, scored a sixth-placed finish in 2013.

Meanwhile, the bright orange McLaren was the dominant car in 2016 and as well as winning the race, scored pole and re-set Bathurst’s lap record on the way.

Driven by Shane van Gisbergen, Jono Webb and McLaren factory ace Alvaro Parente, the Tekno Autosports-run car smashed the existing distance record on its way to victory in 2016, completing 297 laps to deliver McLaren their biggest GT3 racing success at the time.

The McLaren’s path to victory wasn’t easy, however, with the car at one point stranded on pit straight and unable to be re-fired.

They then had to watch as a flying Nissan GT-R driven by Katsumasa Chiyo scythed 10 seconds out of their lead in the closing laps, ultimately falling short by 1.2 seconds.

Earlier, van Gisbergen grabbed the Allan Simonsen pole award with a stunning 2m01.286s lap that remains the fastest ever for a GT3 car at Mount Panorama.

It would remain McLaren’s best 12-Hour result until the 2020 race that saw 59 Racing finish second with their 720S GT3; Alvaro Parente scoring his second Bathurst podium with Tom Blomqvist and Ben Barnicoat driving.

The 12-Hour winners aren’t the only cars with notable Mount Panorama endurance racing success on display at the moment, with the pair of Bathurst 24 Hour winning Holden Monaro’s that finished 1-2 in 2003 currently also on display, amidst the vast collection.

Following a year away, Australia’s International Enduro returns in 2022 with the race set for the February 25-27 weekend next year.