JUST over 50 days remain until the 2019 running of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the last two weeks seeing a regular flow of exciting announcements of teams and drivers preparing for the event.
In case you’ve missed the build up so far, here’s a rundown of what has already been confirmed and links to the original stories here on www.bathurst12hour.com.au.
The best thing is, there’s much, much more to come..
THINGS kicked off early this year, with Aston Martin team R-Motorsport confirming their plans to bring a pair of Vantage GT3s to the event.
R-Motorsport has history on the Mountain in the GT4 and Invitational classes with the famous British brand, but will aim for both the Pro (outright) and Pro-Am class wins this year.
McLaren were next to join the party, with Tony Walls’ Objective Racing outfit confirming their return to the race for the fourth straight year.
The Queensland-based team has always been one of the best presented outfits on the Mountain and always one of the fastest McLarens, even if results have been hard to come by.
Audi, as always, will have a presence at Mount Panorama with the defending winners campaigning at least two cars in the outright class as part of their ongoing commitment to the Intercontinental GT Challenge.
Audi are now the most successful GT brand in 12-Hour history and also have the equal most wins in the race’s history. A majority of the Audi campaign is yet to be confirmed, however expect a mixture of factory-backed and privateer runners fielding R8’s once again.
One of the biggest announcements in 12-hour history came in mid-November, when Triple Eight confirmed they would partner with Scott Taylor Motorsport and Vodafone to field an all-star combination in a Mercedes AMG GT3 next year.
The combination of Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen is the most potent ever assembled in Bathurst history – perhaps in the local history of the sport. 15 Bathurst endurance race victories, 37 podium finishes and 11 Supercars titles between them make the stats hard to argue with..
Audi were back in the news a day later when Chris Mies, a double 12-hour winner, created history by becoming the first to break the magic two-minute barrier at Mount Panorama, at the Challenge Bathurst event.
Perhaps more telling was the fact that Mies and Garth Tander were there cutting laps at all – it’s a pretty reasonable pointer to at least two members of the heavy-hitting Audi squad for the race next February.
Key GT4 contenders have also been in the news, with the RHC Jorgensen/Strom by MARC Cars outfit confirming their purchase of the ex-Steve Richards Motorsport M4 GT4 for their campaign on class victory this year.
What’s more, the team confirmed Aussie Gerard McLeod would join the team.
Fan favorites Bentley have locked in their return with two cars, making the first visit for the generation-two Continental GT3 to Mount Panorama
With two podiums under their belt and laps led in almost every year they’ve raced at Bathurst, the remarkable British cars will be a force to be reckoned with once again in 2019, for sure.
Mercedes-AMG fans got another shot in the arm last week when 2013 winners Erebus Motorsport confirmed their return to the race, in partnership with The Bend Motorsport Park’s Yasser Shahin.
Coming along with the fast ‘Am’ contender will be Bathurst 1000 winners David Reynolds and Luke Youlden in what is expected to be a fleet of race-contending AMG GT3s this year..
From one German brand to another, BMW will be back with two cars – the first from Walkenhorst Motorsport locked in for a return visit to Bathurst during BMW’s end of year shindig in Germany last weekend.
BMW will run two cars in each of the five ICGT rounds in 2019 which means there’s another M6GT3 yet to be announced in the coming weeks to complete their squad.
A day later, Porsche were in the news with their commitment to the world’s only global GT3 series, meaning they will be back to try and add an elusive Bathurst major to their trophy cabinet for the first time.
Porsche are yet to confirm the participating team yet, however we know Matt Campbell will be part of an all-star team that includes drivers very familiar with Mount Panorama. They will be keen to avoid a repeat of the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh-place finishes they ended with this year..
Finally, the GT4 class received a shot in the arm when M-Motorsport locked in their campaign with the popular KTM X-Bows to return.
After running two cars this year, the team will expand to three in 2019 with an experienced squad in what is expected to be a competitive class fight.
The best thing is, there remains a serious number of key contenders yet to have announced their participation for the race – some that will be very key contenders in the outright battle in 2019 and some aiming for class success.
Keep an eye on www.bathurst12hour.com.au for more news as it breaks..