Bathurst’s Mount Panorama is perhaps best known for the annual 1000km touring car event – the so-called ‘Great Race’. But there is another annual event on the Mountain these days, and one which is a great race all of its own.
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race for sportscars has been building momentum for some years, and it looks like becoming even bigger in 2017.
Some five months out from the event (set for February 3-5) and already race organisers have received more than 50 entries.
While specific details are yet to be released, 16 different manufacturers are already confirmed on the entry list, including more than 30 of the GT3 class cars which will compete at the front of the field for outright honours.
So far entries have come from the USA, Europe and Asia, in addition to the local entries.
A total of four Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3s are confirmed, two each from the factory Nissan Motorsport outfit and two privateer entries for Hobson Motorsport.
Local (Melbourne) team Maranello Motorsport will give the new Ferrari 488 GT3 its Bathurst debut, and BMW is confirmed with two M6 GT3s entered by local BMW works-assisted team SRM.
In addition to the outright class, interest in the GT4 class (the ‘entry level’ access point to GT racing) is high, with organisers claiming a record number of entries even at this early stage. The GT4 class will include McLaren’s 570 GT4, Porsche’s Cayman GT4 Clubsport and the KTM X-Bow.
“The entry list is always reasonably fluid at this stage of the year and will undoubtedly change before the end of the year as people finalise their plans, but we are obviously very pleased with the reaction so far,” event director John Casey said.
“The recent announcements from manufacturers and private teams entering the race shows how strong the appeal of this race has become. Manufacturers like Ferrari, Nissan and BMW see it as a great platform to showcase their brand while private teams like Hobson Motorsport know they can compete for outright or a class victory in competitive machinery.
“We are also extremely pleased to see GT4 starting to gain momentum in Australia with six cars already entered in the class. There has been several others talking to us about running so that category should be very strong.
“The mix of machinery is already very exciting and should be even better by the time entries close this December.”
The Bathurst 12 Hour will again double as the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. The race was part of the IGTC last year, in a move which provided an important formal link between the Australian race and the international sportscar racing scene.