Erebus, Clearwater lodge early 12 Hour entries

The winning Erebus Mercedes from 2013

The winning Erebus Mercedes from 2013

This year’s Bathurst 12 Hour combatants Erebus Motorsport and Clearwater Racing are both among the early entrants for the 2014 edition of the endurance classic.

Entries for next February’s event officially opened on June 1, with race organisers reporting that 24 cars are already on the list.

Having fielded a two-car Mercedes-Benz SLS effort in 2013 for eventual winners Bernd Schneider/ Alex Rollof/Thomas Jaeger and Australians Lee Holdsworth/Tim Slade/Peter Hackett, Erebus has just one car on the early 2014 entry.

The move coincides with the team’s scaling down of its Australian GT Championship effort from two cars to one as it continues to discuss taking the program to international races such as the Sepang 12 Hour and Macau Grand Prix support event.

Erebus Motorsport general manager Barry Ryan says that the Bathurst 12 Hour remains important to the outfit, which also campaigns cars in the V8 Supercars Championship and Formula 3 Australian Drivers’ Championship through its V8 and Academy sister arms.

“Winning the race this year definitely gave us international recognition,” said Ryan.

“As a team we have been investigating our expansion internationally this year and we are no longer an unknown team from Australia: We have creditability from within the ‘GT family’ around the world.

The Clearwater Ferrari took second

The Clearwater Ferrari took second

“Outside of the efforts setting up our V8 Supercar program, winning the 2013 race was the biggest thing that has happened to us as a team. We committed hard to it and it payed off.”

Despite only nominating one car at this stage, Ryan is hopeful of bringing both of its cars to achieve a quinella – a result it missed this year after a late-race mistake from Holdsworth sent the #63 entry to the garage.

“Perhaps the biggest disappointment of this year was the fact we didn’t finish one-two,” reflected Ryan.

“We were looking like achieving that very late into the race, but it shows how quickly things can change in endurance racing.

“We would like the opportunity to come back and change that next year, if possible.”

The Singapore-based Clearwater Ferrari meanwhile had been arguably the fastest car in this year’s race, finishing second with its driving line-up of Craig Baird, Matt Griffin and car owner Mok Weng Sun.

The result proved one better than the squad’s 2012 effort and came despite being handed three drive-through penalties and a mechanical black flag during a fraught day.

Fellow international Ferrari squad AF Corse is also said to be amongst the initial entries, leaving organisers hopeful of a high quality 55 car grid for the February 9 encounter.

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