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POLL: Which Bathurst 12 Hour has been the best?

Daniel Herrero

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Monday 3rd February, 2020 - 2:55pm

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With the 2020 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour run and won Speedcafe.com wants to know how you think this year’s race compares to those of the past.

Bentley picked up its first win at Mount Panorama, and indeed its first race win in the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC), courtesy of the #7 Continental GT3 of Jules Gounon, Jordan Pepper, and Maxime Soulet.

It was the 10th Bathurst 12 Hour run to GT3 regulations, and the fifth held as part of the IGTC which came into being in 2016.

What has been the best Bathurst 12 Hour of the GT3 era? Read through the list below and cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

2011: Team Joest conquers the mountain

German outfit Team Joest dominated the first GT3 race with its two Audi R8s leading 223 of the 292 laps.

The all-Australian R8 entry of Craig Lowndes, Warren Luff and Mark Eddy pipped the Christopher Mies, Marc Basseng, and Darryl O’Young sister car to pole position by just 0.3s.

Following an intriguing tactical battle between the cars it was Mies/Basseng/O’Young who prevailed with a margin of 0.7s over team-mates Lowndes/Luff/Eddy, and a lap on the third-placed Porsche GT3 R of Tony Quinn, Klark Quinn, and Craig Baird.

2012: Audi triumphs again with Phoenix Racing

After starting from pole position, the #1 Phoenix Racing Audi of 2011 winners Mies and O’Young, and German debutant Christer Jons, led the majority of the contest of which eight of the 12 hours were held in wet weather.

Only three Class A cars reached the finish, with Lowndes/Luff/Eddy among the casualties. Their #2 Phoenix Audi lost four laps due to a spin on the entry to the pits and a penalty before Eddy crashed at the top of the mountain.

The lead Phoenix entry suffered its own drama in Hour 7 when Mies spun into the gravel trap at Murray’s Corner but he was able to recover and resume the lead of the race.

In the end Mies/O’Young/Jons came through to take the victory by 1:13s from Erebus Motorsport’s Jeroen Bleekemolen, Peter Hackett, Tim Slade, and American Bret Curtis.

2013: Mercedes become the mountain masters

An all-star German line up of touring car legend Bernd Schneider, GT ace Thomas Jager, and Alexander Roloff helped Australia’s Erebus Motorsport win the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour.

They emerged from a deluge in the final two hours of the race to take victory by a lap in an incident-filled contest which triggered 15 Safety Car periods.

Little separated the two Erebus Mercedes-Benz until the #63 SLS AMG suffered steering damage with Lee Holdsworth at the wheel and it ultimately finished sixth.

Despite receiving three drive-through penalties and a mechanical black flag, the Clearwater Racing Ferrari piloted by Craig Baird, Matt Griffin, and Weng Sun Mok finished second.

2014: Emotions run high as Maranello Motorsport strikes

Craig Lowndes led Maranello Motorsport to a stunning victory in the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour by holding off the HTP Mercedes of Maxi Buhk in a thrilling finish.

Lowndes combined with co-drivers Mika Salo, John Bowe, and car owner Peter Edwards to recover from two drive-through penalties to win the race.

The Ferrari lost a 15-second lead due to a late Safety Car and then had to survive not only the restart, but also Buhk ranging up alongside Lowndes in a Mercedes with superior straight line speed.

Lowndes hung on to win by just 0.4s in a victory which took place just months after the death of one of its regular drivers Allan Simonsen.

2015: Nismo Godzilla claims tense 12 Hour

Nissan won in 2015 after Japanese driver Katsumasa Chiyo sliced his way from third position and into the lead in the GT-R after the restart from a 20th Safety Car period with just over four minutes remaining.

GT superstar and pole-sitter Laurens Vanthoor claimed second for Phoenix Audi while Stefan Mucke finished third in the Craft Bamboo Aston Martin.

It was the first win by the Japanese manufacturer since Jim Richards and Mark Skaife took a second successive Bathurst 1000 victory in the R32 Skyline GT-R in 1992.

The #10 Bentley almost took an against-the-odds win after being hit with two drive-through penalties and a dehydrated Matt Bell, who vomited in the car, before claiming fourth.

2016: van Gisbergen leads McLaren to victory

Shane van Gisbergen, Alvaro Parente, and Jonathon Webb combined to give McLaren its first win in a major GT3 endurance race in 2016.

After Portuguese Parente and Webb drove the Tekno Autosports-entered 650S for the majority of the day, van Gisbergen hopped into the cockpit with two hours remaining.

Despite a drive-through penalty for pit lane speeding which nearly put the McLaren off the lead lap, van Gisbergen’s sizzling pace and a strategy play put the New Zealander back into the lead with 40 minutes remaining.

Nissan’s Katsumasa Chiyo closed the gap in the dying stages but van Gisbergen eased to a 1.3s win, which came after the McLaren stopped on track and had to be power cycled earlier in the day.

2017: Tempers fray as Supercars team-mates battle

Ferrari and Maranello Motorsport won the Bathurst 12 Hour for the second time in four years in a race which had a real sting in the tail for the factory-backed #22 Scott Taylor Motorsport Mercedes-AMG entry.

The Prancing Horse’s hopes suffered a setback when Lowndes was bizarrely unloaded by Baird in the STM Merc at a Safety Car restart but Tony Vilander put Maranello back into a strong position with a sterling early afternoon drive.

The race came down to a final hour showdown between Triple Eight Supercars team-mates Jamie Whincup in the Ferrari and Shane van Gisbergen in the Mercedes-AMG.

A desperate van Gisbergen shunted an Am class Porsche into the wall while attempting to keep in touch with Whincup and slewed into a wall shortly after, resulting in co-driver Maro Engel stating on live television, “All I have seen is a lot mistakes by Shane.”

pic: Ross Gibb

2018: Audi claims third victory in red-flagged race

Audi Sport Team WRT and its trio of Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard, and Dries Vanthoor, each became first-time winners in a Bathurst 12 Hour cut short by a shocking crash.

The race was red flagged and ultimately called with just over 20 minutes left on the clock, and hospitalisation for John Martin and Ash Walsh.

In terms of the contest for victory, it was an anticlimactic end given seven cars finished on the lead lap but several had been nervous about their fuel status as the 12th hour wound down.

Jamie Whincup stood on the podium for a second year in a row when the Mercedes-AMG he shared with Tristan Vautier, Kenny Habul, and Raffaele Marciello, finished second.

2019: Campbell’s late heroics deliver victory for Porsche

Matt Campbell took the chequered flag for Porsche’s first win in the Bathurst 12 Hour having squeezed into the smallest of gaps at Forrest’s Elbow to seize the lead from Jake Dennis with eight laps remaining.

The #912 Porsche had dropped from first to fourth when the other six contenders went for fuel only in the final cycle of pit stops, leading to a number of other aggressive moves from Campbell.

The Queenslander got into the side of Chaz Mostert’s BMW to take third at The Chase just before the final Safety Car and threw his 911 underneath Mercedes-AMG’s Raffaele Marciello at Hell Corner, three laps after the restart.

Campbell’s move on Dennis’ Aston Martin provisionally won him the race, although he and co-drivers Dirk Werner and Dennis Olsen faced a nervous wait for a post-race investigation into the move on Mostert before they were confirmed as victors.

2020: Bentley recovers from pre-race woes to take maiden victory

Bentley finally took its first IGTC race win in a triumph which looked likely for the majority of the day, but only after a spate of dramas in practice.

Both M-Sport Continentals missed Practice 4 and one crashed with brake problems on Saturday morning but the #7 entry was too good for the rest come Sunday.

Having officially led just one lap through the first four hours, Jordan Pepper found himself in first position after Car #7 was short-filled in the third pit stop cycle.

Raffaele Marciello soon put the GruppeM Mercedes-AMG back in front but, aside from pit stop cycles, those were the only six laps that any other car would lead all day.

Gounon had the honour of taking the chequered flag in a Bentley which he and Pepper shared with Maxime Soulet.

Which Bathurst 12 Hour do you think has been the best? Cast your vote in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

Pirtek Poll

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