THE CONSTANT evolution of the GT3 ranks means that each year beings something new to Mount Panorama – be it an evolution of a previous car or something Bathurst is yet to see.
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The potential for a host of new machinery to tackle Australia’s International Enduro in 2020 is significant, so here’s a look at some of the cars we may see on the Mountain come first practice on January 31, 2020.
What new car would you most like to see on the Mountain next February? Let us know on our social accounts!
ACURA / HONDA NSX
PERHAPS the most anticipated GT3 car yet to be seen on Australian soil – the NSX quickly became a fan favourite on its arrival into international motorsport and there is significant desire from fans to see one tackle the Mountain. With Acura / Honda likely on board for the full 2020 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli, the chances have never been better that we’ll finally see one of these JAS-prepared cars in Bathurst next year.
ASTON MARTIN VANTAGE AMR GT3
2019 MARKED something of a swan-song for Aston Martin on the Mountain and indeed, in top-level GT3 racing worldwide as it was the last real hit-out for the first generation Vantage GT3 Car and its howling V12 mounted up front. Competitive to the end, the old Vantage GT3 was fast throughout the weekend and even after being excluded from the Shootout, was able to lead the race until the closing stages. New-spec car replaces V12 for turbocharged V8 with new aero and a new shape, but that same Aston magic. Expect several on the grid next year.
THE MOUNTAIN suits McLaren with the 650S GT3 still the fastest ever car at the 12-Hour over one lap, and powered the brand to that famous victory in 2016. The wild-looking 720GT3 took over this year and actually made headlines in Australia with 59Racing’s Fraser Ross steering one example to its first ever global GT3 win at the Australian Grand Prix.
PORSCHE 911 GT3R (EVO)
EVOLUTION rather than revolution for Porsche as the already successful 911GT3R gets a 2019-spec performance upgrade (Remember, the car that won the race this year was in 2018 specification). Like many before it, the GT3R proved an all-round performer at Bathurst with excellent fuel economy, strong race pace and one-lap speed as it required so the upgrade should be better again.
LAMBORGHINI HURACAN GT3 EVO
TROFEO Motorsport have been regulars in the 12-Hour over the years and this year Wall Racing ran their Gallardo entry as well. With the sports car media broadly tipping Lamborghini to commit to the full 2020 ICGT calendar, the potential of those entries, should they return, being joined by at least one gun international combination is tasty, and could give Lamborghini their best shot yet at a Bathurst win.
AUDI R8 LMS GT3 ULTRA EVO
AUDI SPORT Customer Racing Australia rushed back from Bathurst to bolt the 2019 ‘EVO’ package onto their existing R8’s following the 12-Hour this year, and were rewarded with the Australian Enduro title to boot. Audi are not only the most successful brand on the Mountain since the 12-Hour went GT3, but are the most successful round in GT3 racing, full stop. The ‘EVO’ is just another step in the brand’s remarkable Customer Sport program evolution.
MERCEDES AMG GT3 EVO
AS REPORTED recently, Mercedes-AMG are working hard to ensure the Evolution upgrade for their GT3 racer – always one of the most competitive cars on the Mountain – is homologated in time for January 1, 2020 – meaning we could see the current-spec car racing in Bathurst next February. The mighty Merc finished second in 2018 and third (and fourth) last year.
LAMBORGHINI SUPER TROFEO EVO
NEW FOR CLASS B in 2020, the Super Trofeo is Lambo’s version of a one-make racer. Think Porsche’s Carrera Cup car but with a raging bull on the front. Like the Porsche, will slot in between GT3 cars and GT4 cars on raw pace and should be particularly user-friendly over the distance. There’s already several cars in Australia which will hopefully make for a great class fight.
AUDI R8 LMS GT4
AUDI are yet to see their GT4 machine try and emulate its GT3 big-brother on the Mountain but should this car add to the diversity in the GT4 class, there’d no doubt it’ll be competitive.
McLAREN 570S GT4
McLAREN have given their 570S GT4 car a push in local competition this year and the car has performed well. Given the success the brand has enjoyed in outright competition at Mount Panorama, it would be great to see how the 570 goes in the race-within-a-race fight, too.
MERCEDES AMG GT4
WE ALMOST had one racing in 2019 and there are hopes that Mercedes AMGs baby GT car (in name only – it’s the same size as the GT3!) will arrive on the Mountain in 2020 to add to an increasingly diverse GT4 class fight.
FORD MUSTANG GT4
MUSTANG has already made its mark on Mount Panorama, but not in the 12-Hour and having a pony car in the race would not only be great – but after the demonstration effort twelve months ago, would also likely be wildly popular with fans as well. Big, front-engined V8 on the Mountain? What’s not to like?