Bathurst 12 Hour prepares to open 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign

Bathurst 12 Hour prepares to open 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign

31.01.2019: - 20 GT3s representing seven manufacturers head Down Under - Reigning champions Audi chasing record fourth Bathurst 12 Hour victory

- 20 GT3s representing seven manufacturers head Down Under


- Reigning champions Audi chasing record fourth Bathurst 12 Hour victory


- Thursday’s ‘Town to Track’ parade wows crowds in Bathurst city centre


 



Season Four of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli begins this weekend at the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour (February 1-3) where a record full-season entry is eager to prevent Audi from making the perfect start to its Manufacturers’ title defence.



Mount Panorama’s annual endurance event has established itself as a firm favourite amongst teams, drivers and fans since GT3 became the premier category in 2011. Intercontinental GT Challenge joined the party five years later when Australia’s most historic circuit, a 6.213-kilometre-long concrete wall-flanked rollercoaster, hosted the championship’s first-ever race. It has staged the season opener ever since.



And the 2019 edition could be the best yet thanks to an Intercontinental GT Challenge entry list featuring 20 cars and seven manufacturers. That’s two more than the series’ previous best, which it achieved in 2018, while more than two-thirds of the event’s total GT3 entries have been nominated to score Intercontinental GT Challenge points.




Question is: can anyone prevent reigning Manufacturers’ champions Audi from claiming a record-breaking fourth overall Bathurst victory and second in as many years?



Remember: each manufacturer can nominate a maximum of four entries to score points this weekend, but only its two best-placed cars at the end of the 12 hours will do so. Meanwhile, drivers competing in all registered entries are entitled to score points towards the Drivers’ Championship regardless of whether they finish amongst their manufacturer’s top-two entries.



A separate classification also awards points to those Bronze-graded drivers that have registered to contest the entire Intercontinental GT Challenge season.




AUDI – x4 R8 LMS GT3

 
The reigning champions return to Bathurst minus the team and crew that won 12 months ago. Most others would consider that a setback. But Audi? No chance! And certainly not when their front-line squad, Audi Sport Team Valvoline, includes the talents of two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winner and Mount Panorama lap record holder Christopher Mies.



The equally capable Markus Winkelhock and Christopher Haase complete the all-German crew, while fellow factory drivers Kelvin van der Linde and Frederic Vervisch link up with local hero and three-time Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander, just as they did last year when representing Melbourne Performance Center.



Audi’s third and fourth nominated entries – both run by Melbourne Performance Center – also feature enough local knowledge to maintain a threat over 12 hours. Amateur Pete Storey joins former British Touring Car Championship team-mates Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal who have both previously raced around Bathurst, while Lee Holdsworth and Dean Fiore are mainstays of Australia’s Supercars series.




MERCEDES-AMG – x4 GT GT3



 
Audi’s biggest rivals in 2018 fell just short of the Manufacturers’ title but did at least celebrate winning the Overall and Bronze Drivers’ championships thanks to Tristan Vautier and Kenny Habul, respectively. The latter returns to Mount Panorama 12 months after finishing runner-up eager to make the best possible start to his title defence. Habul is joined at SunEnergy1 Racing by Thomas Jaeger, who claimed Mercedes-AMG’s only previous Bathurst 12 Hour victory in 2013, and 2012 FIA GT3 European champion Dominik Baumann.



But, in truth, it’s the German manufacturer’s three all-professional crews that will likely pose its most serious threat this weekend. International eyes are immediately drawn to the MANN-FILTER entry run by 2018 Suzuka 10 Hours winners GruppeM Racing who have called on the services of reigning and former Blancpain GT Series champions Raffaele Marciello, Maxi Buhk and Maxi Goetz.



Then there’s Team Vodafone’s Supercars champions Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Shane van Gisbergen who all have Bathurst 12 Hour victories to their name. Still not convinced? How about Maro Engel and Luca Stolz teaming up with reigning DTM champion Gary Paffett in the car co-run by Craft-Bamboo and Black Falcon?!



The message is clear: for Mercedes-AMG nothing short of victory will suffice.






PORSCHE – x4 911 GT3 R
 



Incredibly, for a manufacturer that’s seemingly won everything, a Bathurst 12 Hour victory still alludes Porsche. It came close last season when a late red flag dashed its calculated fuel strategy. Now it’s back with a new-look factory team and two Pro/Am entries capable of causing an upset.


Works driver Earl Bamber makes his debut as a team owner with an eponymous two-car entry featuring a mix of Porsche stalwarts and young guns. Romain Dumas, Sven Muller and Mathieu Jaminet join forces aboard 911 while Dirk Werner is paired with Dennis Olsen and Matt Campbell.



Elsewhere, Black Swan Racing head to Bathurst for their second long-distance endurance race in as many weekends after competing at Daytona. Marc Lieb, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Bronze championship contender Tim Pappas are reunited in the same Porsche that finished third overall last season. Meanwhile, factory ace Kevin Estre joins David Calvert-Jones and Jaxon Evans at Competition Motorsports/McElrea Racing.





BENTLEY – x2 CONTINENTAL GT3



 
Several manufacturers are competing with previous-generation GT3 models this weekend while waiting for new cars to be homologated. Not so Bentley which, having been in a similar position 12 months ago, heads Down Under for the first time armed with its second-generation Continental GT3. Local fans fell in love with its predecessor’s muscular looks and thumping V8 soundtrack, both of which mercilessly remain present and correct.



Bentley Team M-Sport has also named an unchanged line-up from the one that contested much of 2018. The familiar trio of Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and Vincent Abril require no introduction while Jordan Pepper – who joined the factory roster following Guy Smith’s mid-season retirement – makes his Mount Panorama debut alongside Jules Gounon and Steven Kane.



The latter Bentley Boy previously scored two Bathurst podiums with the original Continental GT3.



Incidentally, both Bentleys feature unusual numbers this weekend, with 100 – a reference to the manufacturer’s centenary – added to its traditional 7 (107) and 8 (108).







BMW – x2 M6 GT3
 




The first of 2019’s new full-season entrants will be amongst the favourites to make an instant impression this weekend if its 2018 pole position and rapid race pace count for anything. BMW Team Schnitzer’s entry looks particularly potent given that Chaz Mostert – 2018’s Pirelli Pole Shootout winner – and Augusto Farfus return alongside new team-mate and former DTM champion Martin Tomczyk.



Mind you, Walkenhorst Motorsport shouldn’t be underestimated either. In Christian Krognes, Nicky Catsburg and Mikkel Jensen the reigning Total 24 Hours of Spa winners


have a driver crew every bit as capable as some of their more recognisable rivals. The team returns to Bathurst for the first time since 2017 when its M6 GT3 was withdrawn prior to the start.



However, it’s understandably the sudden passing of Schnitzer’s legendary team principal, Charly Lamm, last Thursday that will be at the forefront of BMW’s thoughts this weekend. Victory would provide a very fitting and emotional tribute.





NISSAN – x2 GT-R NISMO GT3
 



In 2015 a young Japanese driver arrived at Bathurst largely unknown. He left a cult hero. Katsumasa Chiyo’s penultimate lap heroics not only helped Nissan to claim victory but also reignited Australia’s love affair with the GT-R, which in its previous Skyline guise had dominated domestic touring car competition in the early 1990s.


Now, with KCMG’s help, both are back to reclaim the Mountain once more. Two second-generation GT-R NISMO GT3s will line up at Bathurst when Nissan makes its maiden appearance as an Intercontinental GT Challenge manufacturer.


The spotlight might fall on Chiyo this weekend but his co-drivers are every bit as capable. Bona fide Nissan legend Tsugio Matsuda is a multiple Super GT and Formula Nippon champion, while Australian Josh Burdon – perhaps a new name to many – has been quietly establishing himself in Asia’s burgeoning GT and LMP3 championships. The second car features 2017 Bathurst podium finisher Oliver Jarvis, former Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champion Alex Imperatori and 2016 GT Asia title winner Edoardo Liberati.




FERRARI – x2 488 GT3

 
Ferrari might have been a late addition to 2019’s Intercontinental GT Challenge roster but, in HubAuto Corsa, perhaps holds the joker in this year’s Bathurst pack. After all, the Taiwanese squad – a Blancpain GT Series Asia championship challenger throughout 2018 – claimed pole position during its only Intercontinental GT Challenge outing to date at Suzuka last August. Its all-Australian crew of Nick Foster, Tim Slade and Nick Percat also knows its way around the Mountain.



Add to that Ferrari’s recent success at Mount Panorama – a 488 GT3 claimed victory and pole position in 2017 – and it becomes more difficult to discount HubAuto’s chances on debut.




Maranello’s second Intercontinental GT Challenge entry comes courtesy of the highly-experienced Spirit of Race, which boasts the evergreen pace of Pedro Lamy plus Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana.






‘TOWN TO TRACK’ SEES GT3s INVADE BATHURST CITY CENTRE




The inaugural ‘Town to Track’ parade officially kicked off this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour earlier today when 10 GT3 cars – one from each manufacturer competing – were driven on public roads to the city centre.



The sight of 600bhp race-tuned supercars negotiating Bathurst’s suburbs under police escort turned heads as the Bathurst 12 Hour literally rolled into town. Several drivers were on hand to sign autographs and answer media questions before heading back to Mount Panorama in preparation for Friday’s first practice sessions.



‘Town to Track’ is the latest parade to feature on Intercontinental GT Challenge’s schedule. The annual parade has become an important aspect of the Total 24 Hours Spa while Suzuka is also set to follow suit later this year.




LIVE COVERAGE



Fans outside of Australia and New Zealand can watch this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour live and for free on the Intercontinental GT Challenge website and Facebook page. Practice, qualifying and Pirelli Top-10 Shootout are all live on Saturday ahead of Sunday’s main event. Race coverage starts at 05:30 AEDT (GMT +11).



Australian fans can watch the Pirelli Pole Shootout and race live and for free on 7mate. The same coverage is being streamed live on the 7plus app.


Sky Sports will carry live race coverage in New Zealand.





- Sophie Peyrat, Tom Hornsby - photos SRO

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/bathurst-12-hours-intercontinental-gt-challenge-2019---185962.html

31.01.2019 / MaP

More News

Earl Bamber Motorsport and Team Carrera Cup Asia target Bathurst 12 Hour victory
31.01.2019
Earl Bamber Motorsport and Team Carrera Cup Asia, with support from Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, are both aiming for class and overall victories on the Mountain this weekend for the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour (31 January – 3 February).The Australian blu more >>
McLAREN 720S GT3 to run with the new GT3 customer team in Japan
30.01.2019
    New McLaren 720S GT3 confirmed for entry into 2019 Super GT300 championship and 2019 Super Taikyu Series, including entry into the Suzuka 10 Hours    24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Seiji Ara, reunited with lege more >>
Ferrari and Honda complete record Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli full-season entry
30.01.2019
- Eight manufacturers confirmed for world’s only global GT3 series- Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour kicks off 2019 campaign this weekend Ferrari and Honda will both officially contest the 2019 Intercontine more >>
Six Mercedes-AMG GT3 to take the start in Bathurst 12-hour race
29.01.2019
Customer Racing: Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 HourMercedes-AMG gears up for the ‘race to the top’ at Mount PanoramaThis year, six Mercedes-AMG GT3s will be on the grid for the legendary Bathurst 12-hour race (1-3 February). This is the larges more >>
Opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge under a cloud of sadness for BMW Motorsport
29.01.2019
This weekend, the Intercontinental GT Challenge kicks off the new season with the Bathurst 12 Hour (AUS). In the thick of the action will be two BMW M6 GT3s, run by BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport. In addition, the RHC-Jorgensen/Strom by Marc GT t more >>
GetSpeed -Ausbau des Rennprogramms in Deutschland und Europa
29.01.2019
GetSpeed wechselt zu Mercedes-AMGTeilnahme an der VLN, dem 24h Nürburgring, der GT Open, GT4 Germany und Belcar bestätigtGetSpeed stellt sich einer neuen Herausforderung und tauscht seinen Fuhrpark aus: ab 2019 geht das erfolgreic more >>
KCMG ready to tackle Mount Panorama in maiden Bathurst 12 Hour
28.01.2019
KC Motorgroup Ltd. (KCMG) heads to the famous Mount Panorama Circuit for its maiden Bathurst 12 Hour (31 January – 3 February) appearance, fielding two Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 cars as it looks for a successful start to the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge campaign. more >>
JR-M’s Chao and Van der Drift join Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia with Porsche
28.01.2019
- China GT frontrunners sign up for full-season assault with new Porsche 911 GT3 R One of China’s leading GT teams and driver crews, JR-M’s Li Chao and Chris van der Drift, will contest a full season of Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia in 2019 with Porsche&r more >>
Nissan joins 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entry
28.01.2019
- Record six manufacturers now confirmed for Season Four- Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour hosts opening round this weekend Nissan has become the sixth manufacturer to confirm a full-season Intercontinental GT Challeng more >>
Australian GT restricts Pro driver entries for Sprint rounds
25.01.2019
CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipAhead of the 2019 CAMS Australian GT Championship, a revision to the regulations has been issued to teams and drivers with a number of changes scheduled for the season ahead, the most notable of which more >>
Five Audi R8 LMS in Bathurst 12 Hour
25.01.2019
Audi ready for title defense in Intercontinental GT Challenge     Photo caption: Audi R8 LMS #74 (Audi Sport Team MPC), Christopher Haase/Christopher Mies/Markus Winkelhock    Sights set on fourth victory at Bath more >>
Suzuka 10 Hours 2019 Entries open now
25.01.2019
-   Preparations underway for Intercontinental GT Challenge’s only Asian event The entry process for this season’s Suzuka 10 Hours – Asia’s only Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli round – is now more >>
2019 Radical Australia Cup Bathurst -Entries, Schedule and notes
25.01.2019
Rnd#1, Mount Panorama, Bathurst, NSW1-2 February, 2019Schedule:Thursday, 31 January09:55am - Practice (20-minutes)01:15pm - Qualifying (20-minutes)Friday, 1 February07:15am - Race#1 more >>
Grant Denyer joins epic field for Radical return to Mount Panorama, Bathurst
25.01.2019
Rnd#1 - 2019 Radical Australia CupMount Panorama, Bathurst 1-2 February, 2019The first event of the eleventh year of Radical Australia Cup will begin with arguably the toughest challenge of the season, Bathurst’s Mount Panorama - more >>
Bathurst reveals ‘Town to Track’ GT3 parade
24.01.2019
Next weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the opening round of this season’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli campaign, will feature a ‘Town to Track’ GT3 parade for the first time.Cars representing each of the 10 GT more >>
Australian GT to adopt Pirelli DHD2 for 2019 season
24.01.2019
2019 CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipOne of the new additions to the CAMS Australian GT Championship for 2019 is a change in tyre compound for the ‘outright’ GT3 category, with Pirelli Motorsport introducing the Pirelli P Zero more >>
New look Trofeo Motorsport team to tackle Bathurst 12 Hour
23.01.2019
Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour1-2 February, 2019Melbourne’s Trofeo Motorsport will sport a new driver lineup in the #29 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 for the 2019 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the leading Australian team from the 2018 event look more >>
California 8 Hours switches to Saturday 30 March
18.01.2019
> Entries now open for round two of Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli Round two of 2019’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli – the California 8 Hours at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca – will now take place o more >>
Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific to support Earl Bamber Motorsport and Team Carrera Cup Asia
18.01.2019
....in 2019 Bathurst 12 HourIn Friday’s press conference at the Porsche Experience Centre in Shanghai, Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific was delighted to announce that it will support Earl Bamber Motorsport and Team Carrera Cup Asia in the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour (31 more >>
Mercedes-AMG to take on the battle for the title on five continents
18.01.2019
With the 12-hour race at Bathurst on the first weekend of February, Mercedes-AMG is taking on the new Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli (IGTC) season. The performance and sports car brand from Affalterbach aims at building on the very succes more >>
Mercedes-AMG announces full-season Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli entry
18.01.2019
> Five marques now confirmed for upcoming campaign> Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour kicks off 2019 on February 1-3 Mercedes-AMG has become the fifth manufacturer to confirm a full-season Intercontinental GT Challenge Powe more >>
Teenage sensation to go after Australian GT Trophy Series title
18.01.2019
2019 CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipAfter stunning the established Australian GT stars on his championship debut at Sydney Motorsport Park mid-season, Victorian teenager Ryan How has confirmed that he is looking to return to the category in 2019, more >>
What’s new in Australian GT for 2019
14.01.2019
CAMS Australian GT Championship• a seven-round program for 2019 including four Sprint rounds and three Enduros• a return to Western Australia and the Gold Coast• at least six new GT3 releases for season 2019 more >>
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing ‘Supra’ to Compete in the SUPER GT GT500 Class
12.01.2019
Race Debut Scheduled for 2020TOYOTA GAZOO Racing announced today that it will compete with the “Supra” in the SUPER GT GT500 class from 2020. The Lexus “LC” will line up for the final time during the 2019 season, and the Supra, which more >>
McLaren Automotive welcomes Teo Martin Motorsport
11.01.2019
.. as first GT3 Customer Team in Europe 2019 season    First customer team in Europe to announce plans to run new McLaren 720S GT3 race car    Multi-car McLaren deal will see both 720S GT3 and 570 more >>
Crampton looking for GT4 title in Australian GT
09.01.2019
2019 CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipHaving claimed second position outright in the GT4 category in his maiden season of the CAMS Australian GT Championship, David Crampton is looking to take the striking bright orange Vantage Freight KTM X-Bow one better this year, the Sydney-sider admitting that 2018 was a real baptism of fire.. more >>
Absolute Racing adds Porsches to Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia entry
07.01.2019
> Two 2019-spec 911 GT3 Rs join team’s previously confirmed Audis> Carrera Cup champion Yuan Bo set for series debut Absolute Racing will expand its Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia programme to four cars this more >>
Australian GT Trophy Series race winner looks to step up for 2019
07.01.2019
2019 CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipHaving developed into one of the leading contenders for the Australian GT Trophy Series in season 2018, Victoria’s Rio Nugara has revealed that he plans to make his full-time debut in th more >>
Philippe Dumas is leaving Ligier Automotive and looking for a new challenge!
07.01.2019
I would like to inform you that I’ve left my job as operational deputy general manager of Ligier Automotive (ex-Onroak, Everspeed Group).I have just enjoyed five years of enriching experiences that have helped me to acquire a very wide range of new knowhow. more >>
VSR make 2019 return with Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo
03.01.2019
Vincenzo Sospiri Racing will compete in Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia this season after confirming its championship return with a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.The Italian team finished runners-up in the same championship’s Am drivers’ stand more >>
CAMS Australian GT Championship calendar 2019
28.12.2018
2019 CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipRnd#1 - 14-17 March, Albert Park, Melbourne [SPRINT]Rnd#2 - 2-4 May, Barbagallo, WA (V8SC) [SPRINT]**Rnd#3 - 7-8 June, Phillip Island, Victoria more >>
Australian GT introduces Pirelli AGT SuperSprint at Bathurst
28.12.2018
2019 CAMS Australian GT ChampionshipCompetitors in the CAMS Australian GT Championship will qualify to gain valuable laps of Bathurst’s iconic Mount Panorama in late 2019, with the recent signing of an a more >>
Absolute Racing return with two new-for-2019 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos
21.12.2018
> Chinese Pro-Am pairing Sun and Cheng also confirmed Absolute Racing has confirmed that two of Audi’s new-for-2019 R8 LMS GT3 Evos will contest Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia in 2019.The team has enter more >>
BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport preparing for Bathurst.
21.12.2018
The BMW M6 GT3 will be appearing in the upcoming Intercontinental GT Challenge season as part of the BMW Motorsport programme. BMW Team Schnitzer and Walkenhorst Motorsport will each compete with one car in the opening race of more >>
Craft-Bamboo Racing and Black Falcon team up for one-off Bathurst 12 Hour entry
21.12.2018
...as Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Black FalconIntercontinental GT Challenge 12H BathurstBlack Falcon and Craft-Bamboo Racing are proud to announce a one-off joint partnership for the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour, whic more >>
Fong, Lee and GTO Racing with TTR confirm GT4 Asia entry with Mercedes-AMG
20.12.2018
GTO Racing with TTR duo Tony Fong and Brian Lee will compete in GT4 Asia next season with a Mercedes-AMG GT4.The pair raced together in Blancpain GT Series Asia’s GT4 class in 2018 aboard a TTR-run Porsche but are now switching to the rebranded GT4 A more >>
GT4 Scandinavia set for 2019 debut following new agreement with SRO Motorsports Group
20.12.2018
• New-for-2019 series to feature six events in Sweden and Norway • 14 competitors already signed up, further entries expected in coming months  The GT4 platform will continue its expansion in 2019 with the launch of a ne more >>
Jukuchou and Kinoshita lead BMW Team Studie’s two-car 2019 GT4 Asia entry
20.12.2018
BMW Team Studie has confirmed that its two M4 GT4s will compete in the inaugural GT4 Asia series next season.The Japanese squad won Blancpain GT Series Asia’s GT4 Teams’ title earlier this year and are now switching to the rebranded GT4 Asia championship which is taking place on the same weekends as Blancpain GT World Challenge Asia in 2019. more >>
PROsport Performance honored by Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing
19.12.2018
Celebrations in Affalterbach and MunichAn Oscar-like trophy was brought home by team boss Christoph Esser from the big season-end celebration of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing in Affalterbach, Germany, to the team headquarters in Wiesemsche more >>

Kategorien

STROOSSEN ENGLEN ASBL www.stroossenenglen.lu

Jobs Around the World

2001-2019 automobilsport.com full copyright