With the world’s leading teams and drivers set to compete, the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour promises to be one of the most unpredictable races seen at Mount Panorama.
Among the star-studded lineup are no fewer than nine former race winners, including Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes, who return to defend their 2017 crown.
A total of 53 cars are set to lineup on Sunday morning across six classes, with the Pro Class boasting no fewer than 13 current-spec GT3 machines vying for outright honours.
There’s strong representation from Mercedes-AMG, Bentley, Audi, BMW, Porsche, and McLaren with the best of the local teams ready to tackle a host of internationals who’ve made the journey down under for the event.
The world class fleet of cars is matched by the driver line-up, with multiple Le Mans 24 Hours race winners, Supercars champions and factory drivers from across the spectrum of manufacturers.
So, who is going to come out on top and claim the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour? Speedcafe.com casts its eye over the field.
In the Mercedes-AMG camp, the Strakka Racing entry steered by Maximilian Buhk, Maximilian Gotz, and Alvaro Parente seems the pick of the bunch, though having recently switched over from McLarens they don’t have a great deal of experience with the car.
That could play into the hands of the Jamec Pem Racing trio of Garth Tander, Kelvin van der Linde, and Frederic Vervisch, all of whom have sampled the Audi R8 LMS and are backed by the well-credentialed Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia squad.
Though perhaps even stronger is the sister car driven by former winner Christopher Mies, Christopher Haase, and Markus Winkelhock; a trio of factory stars for the German brand who all have intimate knowledge of both the car and Mountain.
The Audi Sport Team WRT is also a contender, though on their first attempt at the Bathurst 12 Hour face a tough challenge with Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard and Dries Vanthoor.
Having narrowly missed out on success at the event, Bentley’s two cars boast some of the biggest names in sportscar racing.
Steven Kane, Guy Smith, and Jules Gounon in the #17 Continental GT3 look a strong blend of youth and experience, while team-mates Andy Soucek, Maxime Soulet and Vincent Abril have all visited Bathurst before.
McLaren welcomes the return of Shane van Gisbergen courtesy of YNA Autosport, where he’ll join Supercars team-mate Craig Lowndes and French superstar Come Ledogar at the wheel of a 650S GT3.
BMW’s hopes rest on a two-pronged attack, with Steven Richards heading the way in the #100 entry, alongside Philipp Eng and former Formula 1 driver Timo Glock.
The Bavarian works’ second entry boasts a trio of factory drivers; Chaz Mostert, who has tasted plenty of champagne when campaigning the BMW M6 GT3 in Asia, Marco Wittmann, and Augusto Farfus.
With a host of other Pro class entries, including the SunEnergy1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jamie Whincup, Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier, and Raffaele Marciello, the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour is perhaps the most open.
Who do you think will win the Bathurst 12 Hour? Vote on this week’s Pirtek Poll below.