Just a a couple of days from this weekend’s 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour race now is a good time to cast an eye over the official entry list. And what an entry list it is too!
There’s six classes in all, with the overall race winner expected to come from the 14-strong field of Class A (GT3 Outright) competitors. The #1 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 is back to defend its 2013 crown. Only Bernd Schneider returns for driving duties with Erebus, he will be joined by Maro Engel and Nico Bastian. Erebus will run a second SLS AMG GT3 (#63) to be crewed by Will Davison, Jack LeBrocq and Greg Crick.
Audi will have four representatives in Class A headlined by the #3 Phoenix Racing entry of Rahel Frey, RenÃ© Rast and Laurens Vanthoor. Former winner Christopher Mies joins Marc Cini in his #9 R8 LMS Ultra along with Mark Eddy. The #5 Audi will be shared among a strong local crew of Jason Bright, Warren Luff, Rod Salmon and Liam Talbot. United Autosport rounds out Audi’s GT3 entrants in the #25 car driven by Marcus Winkelhock, Mark Patterson and Eric Lux.
Ferrari will be represented for the third year in a row by the #33 Clearwater Racing entry of Mok Weng Sun, Craig Baird and Matt Griffin. They’ve finished the race in third (2012) and second (2013) so will be hoping for another year of progression up the podium. The #88 Maranello Motorsport 458 GT3 will again attract attention with this year’s line up consisting of Craig Lowndes, John Bowe, Mika Salo and Peter Edwards.
Tony Quinn’s diversity in exotic racing ownership has extended to a McLaren 12C GT3 (#37) and he’ll be making that car’s debut in the Bathurst 12 hour with his son Klark and Andrew Kirkaldy.
Also making its B12hr debut is the #32 Nismo-backed Nissan GTR to be driven by Rick Kelly, Katsumasa Cyio, Alex Buncombe and Wolfgang Reip.
Class B (GT3) is dominated by Porsche 911s, with 10 of the 14 entries coming from Stuttgart. These cars are older-spec GT3 machines and two Audi R8s and a pair of Lamborghini Gallardos round out the category.
The stand out crew here is the #12 McElrea Racing 997 GT3 Cup (2012) driven by well-established racers Patrick Long, Alex Davison and David Calvert-Jones. A touch of Hollywood is represented by Eric Bana who is sharing the #99 Gallardo with mates Peter Hill and Simon Middleton.
A small field of three forms the Class C (GT4) field, including a Ginetta G50, a Lotus Exige Cup R and a Lotus Exige S.
Class D (Invitational 3001cc+) is headlined by the #7 Dean Herridge Subaru WRX STi, which will face stiff competition from a mixed bag of makes and models including a BMW 335i, a BMW E46 GTR, a BMW E92 M3, a Daytona Coupe and a pair of Seat Leon Supercopas.
Class E (Invitational up to 3000cc) consists of three Fiat Abarths, so if nothing else the Italian manufacturer is assured of a class win! Similarly, Class I (Invitational, non-production) is made of up of three Ford Focus GTCs and will see Grant Denyer at the wheel of the #70 entry.
All going well there’ll be 54 cars on the starting grid on Sunday morning, with the late withdrawal of the Vita4One Racing BMW team being the only downer, in what shapes as the most exciting and competitive Bathurst 12 Hour race yet.