MARK WEBBER headlines a substantial Porsche presence at the 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The former FIA World Endurance champion, Monaco Grand Prix winner and Porsche ambassador will demonstrate the brand-new Porsche 911 GT2 Clubsport at Mount Panorama across the weekend in the first public showing for the vehicle in Australia.
Unveiled in December 2018 at the LA Auto Show, the 700hp car is one of just 200 to be made and is the track-focused version of the road-going GT2 RS.
Meanwhile, Porsche will return for a concerted attempt at adding the Bathurst 12 Hour trophy to their cabinet – one of the few the storied brand is yet to win.
Porsche’s finished fourth through seventh in the race last year however were in a position to win had it gone full distance.
Two factory-supported cars prepared by Earl Bamber Motorsport plus entries from Ice Break Competition Motorsport and Black Swan Racing give the brand four strong cars in the outright and Pro-Am classes.
2018’s 12-Hour will also mark the final race for the current-specification GT3-R, with a new car to be rolled out for the remainder of the 2019 season.
“Bathurst marks the start of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. This year we aim to go all-out in this worldwide endurance series for GT3 vehicles,” said Fritz Enzinger, Head of Motorsport.
“We’re contesting the first round with the tried-and-tested Porsche GT3 R. This car has underlined its potential impressively, achieving many successes on different racetracks. With our strong driver crews and the well-structured, regional teams, we should be well positioned to take on the tough fight against many other brands.”
Former Porsche Carrera Cup Australia champion Matt Campbell will headline the EBM squad.
“I’m so excited about my home race in Bathurst. Together with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, it’s definitely the highlight of the year for me,” he said.
“The extraordinary circuit at Mount Panorama is the best racetrack in the world. I’ve raced at Bathurst many times and I’ve been successful there. I hope that we can compete amongst the frontrunners this year so that we can give last year’s Porsche 911 GT3 R a fitting send-off into retirement.”
The sister car will include former LeMans 24 Hour and World Endurance Champion Romain Dumas in the No. 911 squad.
While his two teammates are Bathurst rookies, Dumas has several years of experience in Australia’s around-the-clock epic.
“The event, the track, the environment – this is what impressed me last year. It makes me all the more excited for this year’s race. My teammates Mathieu and Sven don’t yet know this special track, however they’ll quickly familiarise themselves with its quirks,” he said.
“Our car is proven. Bathurst will be the last time we compete with the 911 GT3 R in this specification. Looking at the championship, it’s important to harvest as many points as possible here and not immediately fall behind.”
Cars hit the track on Friday for the first practice session, while support categories run on Thursday.