A HOST of leading GT teams will take to Mount Panorama later this month to get some rare testing miles ahead of the 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Entry lists for the inaugural Challenge Bathurst – a four day event featuring two days of super sprint running and two of regularity competition – were released today and feature more than 320 cars in total.
However it’s the ‘Lightning Super Sprint’ to be held on November 24-25 that has attracted a majority of the interest from GT teams, with a host of confirmed 12-hour entries set to gain valuable Bathurst laps prior to their campaign next February.
The Super Sprint format allows cars to run at race speed, while the regularity competition is restricted in lap time – ruling out anything above the quickest road-going Production Cars. Three groups of 40 cars make up the Super Sprint, allowing for plenty of track time, and it is in the ‘B’ group where a majority of the GT metal is entered.
A host of the latest GT3 machinery are yet to run at Mount Panorama, meaning the Challenge Bathurst event is likely to be extremely valuable to teams looking to dial in their new cars ahead of the first practice session on the morning of February 3 next year.
Maranello Motorsport and Vicious Rumour Racing will bring their pair of Ferrari 488 GT3s, while BMW team SRM has already confirmed their participation with their all-star squad of Bathurst champions who will drive the M6 GT3 on it’s Bathurst debut.
Miedecke Stone Racing will field a single Vantage GT3, with their other two cars committed to racing in New Zealand in the pair of Australian Endurance Championship rounds that end the domestic GT season.
Walkinshaw GT3 also feature on the list, naming Liam Talbot to steer their Porsche GT3 R at the event.
MARC Cars Australia will field five of their Ford Focus or Mazda 3-bodied endurance racers for Tony Alford, Hadrian Morall, Keith Kassulke, Geoff Taunton and team newcomer John Goodacre.
Outside of those cars and teams already confirmed for 12-hour competition, the Super Sprint entry list reads like a round of the GT Championship or Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge series thanks to the entry of more than a dozen Porsche Cup Cars, Mark Griffith’s Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 and MARC Cars Australia BMW M6 GT3 for Mackay driver, Morgan Haber.
The full entry lists can be found at the Challenge Bathurst website here.
By Richard Craill for Bathurst12hour.com.au