ONE of the few current GT3 vehicles yet to tackle the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour could be on the grid next year.
New GT3 team Gradient Racing are investigating a campaign in the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge, which kicks off at the 2019 12-Hour next February, with their Acura (Honda) NSX GT3.
Gradient Racing was recently formed by former CJ Wilson Racing team manager Andris Laivins following a split with former Los Angeles Angels pro-Baseballer Wilson, who will continue his own racing operations independently.
“The last handful of months have been quite an adventure working on a new path forward,” Laivins said.
“With my partner, we are building on the structure created at Laivins Race Cars, and then CJ Wilson Racing to establish ourselves as a serious GT3 competitor. Although Gradient Racing is a new company, the people, infrastructure, and our 15+ years experience racing at a professional level are being carried forward in the new venture.”
Gradient are one of several teams linked to running the NSX GT3 in the Intercontinental GT Challenge next season.
The current-specification NSX enjoys a significant following in Australia despite having yet to race at the 12-Hour or in Australian GT.
The team will contest the upcoming 24 Hour race at the Circuit of the Americas prior to deciding on their 2019 program.
“For next year, the SRO’s Intercontinental GT series, and IMSA GTD are two places we are looking seriously.
“Obviously Daytona and Bathurst are both very soon and mutually exclusive, so we have a lot of decisions to make quickly.
“Separately, there has been some interest in IMSA GT4 where we had a lot of fun the last two years.
“I think it’s a really competitive class, a solid value, and we have the infrastructure and experience to run more than one program, so it’s on the table alongside GT3.”
Gradient’s existing driving duo of Marc Miller and Till Bechtolsheimer will once again form part of the roster for both the upcoming events and next year’s program, while talks continue with a number of interested parties regarding domestic and international opportunities for 2019.
Honda’s iconic sports car has history at Mount Panorama, with a Production-based version of the famous original car finshing third in the 1993 Bathurst 12 Hour in the hands of Ian Palmer, brother Ross Palmer and former MotoGP / 500cc World Champion Wayne Gardner.
Ian Palmer later raced a highly modified ‘Brabham’ NSX in Nations Cup and Australian GT in the 2000s, with the car a fan favourite despite limited success.