A PROVEN combination will add more race winning experience when they join forces for a tilt at the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
2017 Highlands 501 race winners Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto will be joined by Craig Baird in a WM Waste Management-sponsored Mercedes AMG GT3 at the February 2-4 event.
The car will form part of a multi-car Scott Taylor Motorsport squad in the race, with the addition of Baird to an already winning combination adding to the team’s chances at success in the BRM Chronographes ProAm class, especially.
Twigg, a three-time class champion in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia, has enjoyed a full season behind the wheel of the Mercedes AMG GT3 and said he was looking forward to a Bathurst return.
He raced a BMW M6 GT3 with Chaz Mostert and Morgan Haber this year, the car leading the race early before striking mechanical issues.
“It’s an exciting combination and we’re really looking forward to the race,” he said.
“I’ve had a great year driving the AMG and it ended really well in New Zealand with a great result. It made sense that Tony and I would keep going and bringing Bairdo into the mix was the next step.
“Between the three of us we’ve got plenty of experience in the car and the race so we’re all excited about it.
“Thanks to Mark Jeffs from WM Waste Management for getting on board.
“I’m already in the gym getting ready!”
Baird’s track record on the Mountain is significant; winning the race in 2007 and scoring a pair of podium finishes with Ferrari team Clearwater Racing in 2012 and 2013.
Despite only limited time behind the wheel due to commitments as Supercars’ Driver Standards officer, the Gold Coast-based Kiwi has been heavily involved with the STM outfit this year, including working behind the scenes with Twigg and D’Alberto.
“It’s easy to jump into a team with a group of people that you know and trust,” Baird said.
“Max has been a mate for a long time and I’ve had a long involvement with STM. It’s a great group of people.
“I know the combination of TD and Max inside-out so I think we’ll be in good shape.
“The event is growing every year and it’s going to be competitive regardless if you’re in an all-pro car or a Pro/Am entry.”
D’Alberto, meanwhile, teamed with Fabian Coulthard to score his first Bathurst podium in October’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.
“I’m really happy continue the relationship with Max because I felt as a pairing we got stronger as enduros went on,” he said of his 2017 GT campaign.
“I enjoy working with him and team, so it was a no-brainer to keep it going. Bairdo is an amazing driver but the experience he brings to the team is significant. Working with him this year helped me along.
D’Alberto said the Mercedes AMG GT3 was an enjoyable thing to steer.
“I love the Merc; It’s one of the most stable cars I’ve ever driven. It’s really nice on tyres over a stint. I came to grips with the car over few rounds this year so I’m happy to be driving it in an enduro like the 12-hour.
“This year it was a great result in the 1000 in the very tricky conditions. The 12-Hour is no different – the race could throw anything at us.
“If we keep our head and keep circulating we should have the pace to do it and if the cards fall our way we could have another great day.”
The 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will be held on 2-4 February.
Photo: Australian GT