The 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour looks on paper to be the most competitive in its comparatively short history.
Concentrating on the Pro class entries, it’s a stellar line-up with arguably greater depth to the driving roster than we’ve ever seen, and a stack of new cars to boot.
It does, however, create a pickle as we look to pinpoint a handful of clear favourites from within its 20-strong entry list.
Starting at the top end of town and it’s tough to look beyond the #1 Earl Bamber Motorsport entry.
With the boss himself driving alongside Laurens Vanthoor and Craig Lowndes, it’s a formidable trio; Le Mans winners, sportscar champions, and a Bathurst winner (1000 and 12 Hour) see the Porsche 911 GT3 R filled with quality.
They’ll boast the latest generation of GT3 R for the event, one of a slew of cars that are set to make their Mount Panorama debuts.
Perhaps the most obvious of those is the McLaren 720S GT3, two of which will take to the mountain with 59Racing.
Alvaro Parente will steer the Pro class car, the Portuguese driver having won with the marque back in 2016, with factory racer Ben Barnicoat and Tom Blomqvist joining him.
Back in 2016, Parente co-drove with Shane van Gisbergen, but the Kiwi will this year race a Mercedes-AMG GT3 EVO, another new generation car for the event, and run out of the Triple Eight shed.
There, he’s got Jamie Whincup and factory ace Maximilian Gotz alongside him, the latter a Blancpain Sprint Series champ back in 2014.
It’s not the only Mercedes threat with Craft Bamboo Black Falcon legitimate contenders; so too GruppeM Racing, which came within touching distance of glory 12 months ago.
BMW boasts a highly credentialed line-up aboard the Walkenhorst BMW M6 GT3, which includes half of the 24 at Daytona-winning entry in Chaz Mostert and Augusto Farfus.
The German marque has come close in the past, and Mostert was lightning quick in the opening stint back in 2018 having claimed pole for the event.
Audi is again well represented with three Pro class entries, one of which includes Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander alongside former 12 Hour winner Christopher Mies, and 2017 Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup winner Mirko Bortolotti.
HubAuto Corsa is a proven race winner with Tim Slade amongst its ranks in a Ferrari 488 GT3, while the Honda NSX is something of an unknown quantity in its maiden appearance at Mount Panorama.
However, what we don’t know about the car we make up for with the drivers, with huge experience across Dane Cameron, Renger van der Zande, and Mario Farnbacher.
While the Honda is making its first appearance at Bathurst, so too is Scott Dixon, the Kiwi joining R-Motorsport alongside Rick Kelly and Jake Dennis.
That trio will steer one of the all-new Aston Martin Vantage’s, another of the mountain’s newcomers after being thrust into action at the start of the European season last year.
With so much depth, a host of new faces and a range of cars that are either entirely new or upgraded for this year’s event, picking a favourite is a tough ask.
That is, however, what we ask of you in this week’s Pirtek Poll: who will win the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour?
Cast your vote below.