Bathurst the priority for Habul despite possible date clash

Kenny Habul

American-based Australian racer Kenny Habul says he will be first in line when entries open for next year’s scheduled Bathurst 12 Hour, despite there being a current date clash with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring in Florida.

Fresh off a victory in the Pro-Am class at last weekend’s Indianapolis 8 Hour at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Habul desperately wants to return ‘home’ for the first time since driving in the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour.

At this stage the 2022 Bathurst 12 Hour has been temporarily set for March 18-20, but that is a direct clash with the Mobil 1 12 Hours of Sebring which is also the opening round of the World Endurance Championship.

That event will be the major focus of international drivers and of the majority of manufacturers who would normally consider attending the Bathurst event, which has traditionally been much earlier in the year.

While Habul would normally be a certain starter at Sebring, the Bathurst 12 Hour would take priority for the North Carolina-based expat.

“For me, Bathurst and Mount Panorama is the greatest track in the world and any chance you have to race there you have to grab with both hands,” said Habul.

“For me, Bathurst is and always will be the priority.”

It emerged this afternoon that Supercars and SRO have begun discussing a potential date change for the event.

Last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour was cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions.

Habul finished second at the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2018 and was running strongly in his Mercedes-AMG with Dominik Baumann and Thomas Jager in 2019 before a rock damaged their radiator and put them out of the race.

He went on to win GT support races at the Melbourne Grand Prix.

Habul’s last appearance in Australia was at the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2020 when he finished 20th outright with Dominik Baumann, Martin Konrad and David Reynolds.

The solar energy entrepreneur was reported as the “mystery” international buyer of a large property located on the inside of Mount Panorama’s Conrad Straight in October last year.

“It has been a long time since I have been home to Australia and I have every intention of being back for the 12 Hour next year,” said Habul, who clinched the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge Bronze Drivers’ championship at Laguna Seca in 2018.

“Hopefully they can sort something out with the dates, because I know there are a hell of a lot of drivers and manufacturers who would like to do both events, including myself.

“I know that, because they keep asking if there is a spare bed at my place at Mount Panorama.”

Habul teamed with Konrad and Mikael Grenier in the #75 SunEnergy1 Racing Mercedes-AMG to clinch the weekend’s Indianapolis event and have the chance to “kiss the row of bricks”.

The team qualified first in class and 14th outright and picked up another four spots to start 10th outright after the top 15 shootout.

The team maintained its position throughout the event to win the nine-car Pro-Am class and finished 10th outright in the 41-car field.

“Indianapolis is a pretty special place and to have the chance to win and kiss the bricks was pretty cool,” said Habul.

“The team did a great job all weekend and we pushed and beat several of the outright pro combinations.

“It was great to win the big trophy this year after finishing third in 2020.”

Habul is now preparing for the final round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge in Kyalami, South Africa, December 2-4.

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