West Aussie Michael Caruso campaigns the #23 Nissan Motorsport GT-R Nismo GT3. Image: Nissan Motorsport.
The LIQUI-MOLY BATHURST 12-HOUR – Australia’s international endurance race – gets underway Friday, around the world-renowned 6.213km Mt Panorama circuit.
The event is fast developing a lofty reputation that has it compared to the iconic 24Hs of Spa Francorchamps and Nürburgring.
The stellar field features the prestige marques of Audi, BMW, Porsche, Ferrari, Nissan, Lamborghini, Mercedes-Benz, McLaren, Bentley and Aston Martin.
There are four classes: A – GT3 Pro, Pro/Am and Am; B – GT3 Cup Cars; C – GT4; and I – for invited cars.
Each car may have three or four drivers, with Class A entrants categorised by the FIA Driver Ranking System.
West Aussie Michael Caruso campaigns the #23 Nissan Motorsport GT-R Nismo GT3 with Katsumasa Chiyo and Alex Buncombe in the premier GT3 Pro.
GT’s Audi R8 LMS a Serious Contender
They’ll be up against a serious field, including WA’s favourite son Garth Tander in the #74 Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS entry with Christopher Mies and Christopher Haase.
WA eyes will be on Peter Major’s Porsche 911 Carrera Cup Car and his local young gun co-drivers, Jordan Love and Nick McBride.
It’s the ride Major teamed with another local, Cade Bell, to win the Wanneroo 300 in December.
Major’s Porsche Well Prepared
While not running in the faster outright GT3 class, Major’s Porsche is well prepared by Cade’s Racing Dynamics in Malaga. The team has the expert support from the crack Sonic Team and that true master of the sport, Brett Lupton.
The invitational field includes Garth’s better half Leanne Tander in the #94 MARC Cars Australia Mazda 3 V8 and co-drivers Nicholas Rowe, Gerard McLeod and Tim Leahey.
And, fresh from his LMP2 win at Sepang in the Asian Le Mans Series finale, Aidan Read will drive an Aylezo RA Motorsport Ginetta G55 GT4. The four-driver lineup includes fellow Aussie Jake Parsons.
Network Seven, 7mate and RadioLeMans.com will broadcast the entire classic nationwide on top of the 60-minute live Shootout coverage.
Support categories include Improved Production, and WA has a solid presence in the Bathurst 12H this weekend.
It’s the eighth consecutive time the Improved Production Challenge has supported the event and the 58‐strong entry list features five West Australians, including Matt Cherry who won in 2015 and 2016 in his 6-Litre Monaro.
A couple of other WA likely lads, Mark Jewell and Michael Miller do battle with 55 others in the Riverwall Constructions Combined Sedans (V8 Supercars, Chassis, Spaceframe classes), over three 10-lap races on Friday and Saturday.
Also back is NSW gun Steven Lacey and his yellow #1 Chevy Camaro Spaceframe Sports Sedan – the only supports driver last year to officially clock better than the magic 300km/h on Conrod Straight – the 2016 outright victor.
Improved Production Over 2L
#11 Racing Dynamics Kerry Wade BMW E30 2990cc
#12 Guru Engineering Ashley Barnett Holden Commodore 6000
#44 Top Gear Electrical Matt Cherry Holden Monaro 6000
#94 JP Pallets Jason Wilson Holden Commodore VY 6000
#61 West Coast Smash Repairs Geoff Duckworth Mitsubishi Mirage 1597
#28 AAA Asphalt Services Racing Mark Jewell Holden Torana SS 5700
#83 AAA Asphalt Services Racing Michael Miller Holden Commodore 6000