Images: SRO Motorsports, Brabham Motorsports.The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the opening round of this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli campaign, features a ‘Town to Track’ GT3 parade for the first time. Cars representing each of the 10 GT3 marques contesting this year’s race – including 2019’s six Intercontinental GT Challenge-registered manufacturers – will hit public roads under police escort from Mount Panorama Circuit to the city centre’s Bathurst Court House building on Thursday 31 January. Ten manufacturers – six Mercedes AMG GT3s, five Audi R8 LMS, four Porsche 911 GT3 Rs, Aston Martins, Bentleys, BMWs, Ferraris, Nissans, Lamborghinis and a McLaren 650S GT3 – are among the 41 entries. Next week’s event marks the final race for the McLaren 650S GT3 as a current spec car, with the English marque set to replace it with the 720S GT3 once the European season begins.
Nine full-time Virgin Australia Supercars Championship drivers and six Pirtek Enduro Cup co-drivers start the 12H. Garth Tander (#22 A Audi Sport Team Valvoline Audi R8 LMS), Dean Fiore (#9 A Audi Sport Team MPC Audi R8 LMS) and Peter Major (#48 C KTM/M Motorsport KTM X-BOW GT4) are West Australian drivers.Four practice sessions kick off track action next Friday before further practice, two qualifying sessions and the Top-10 Pole Shootout Saturday. Sunday’s race starts 02:45 WST Bathurst is the third Intercontinental GT Challenge round to stage a city centre parade as part of its weekend build-up. A similar event has long been a tradition of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, while the Suzuka 10 Hours also holds a pre-race procession. (Oldtimers will recall the V8 Supercars B-Double parade from Perth to Wanneroo’s Barbagallo Raceway, back in the day). SRO’s global GT championship celebrates its fourth season in 2019 by reviving a historic race in a fifth region. The season opener is Bathurst before Laguna Seca welcomes the US leg two months later. The Total 24 Hours of Spa plays host to the world’s biggest GT3 event in July followed by Asia’s round at the iconic, figure-of-eight Suzuka in Japan. Kyalami in South Africa brings down the curtain following the resurrection of its historic nine-hour race that was last staged in 1982.
For full Entry List, check outA new warning light system has been introduced in all 41 cars competing. The system will help prevent a repeat of the incident which led to last year’s race being red-flagged and drivers hospitalised. EDITED by AC