Supercars excited by Verstappen’s Bathurst 12 Hour interest

Max Verstappen

The Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour’s newly-appointed event director, Shane Rudzis, has expressed his excitement at Max Verstappen’s interest in competing in the event.

The 2021 world drivers’ champion specifically identified competing in the GT3 race at Bathurst as a desire of his, potentially even before he finishes his Formula 1 career, in a recent interview for the Heroes edition of The Red Bulletin.

Rudzis would welcome Verstappen with open arms, to either of the Mount Panorama events which Supercars runs.

“We’re definitely open for any driver globally who has an interest to one day race on the Mountain, especially in the GT3 cars,” he told Speedcafe.com.

“We’re definitely open for him [Verstappen] to come and compete in the race.”

Even in this year’s COVID-affected event, the Bathurst 12 Hour has grown to the point where it attracts among the very best GT3 drivers on the planet.

A recently crowned Formula 1 world champion, however, would arguably be a massive endorsement for the race.

“Without doubt,” agreed Rudzis.

“I think the calibre of the circuit, demonstrating that it’s one of most difficult in the world to be on, means the attention is there for these drivers to go and say, ‘Yeah, I want to go race there.’

“We have an event and those cars are suitable so that, should they get a gap in their F1 calendar or should they come the end of their careers and they want to do something a bit different, come and race in the 12 Hour.

“We’d love to have them there.”

Tantalisingly, Verstappen has already been part of a Supercars event in the virtual world, having made a wildcard appearance in the Eseries during the 2020 COVID-19 lockdown.

There are also the obvious commercial connections, with Red Bull owning the namesake Formula 1 team for which the Dutchman drives, in addition to primary sponsorship of Triple Eight Race Engineering and its partnership with Supercars itself.

That has led to crossovers at the Australian Grand Prix, and Verstappen has even been a team-mate of Triple Eight driver Shane van Gisbergen in the iRacing version of the Bathurst 12 Hour.

Verstappen is shown the inside of a Triple Eight Race Engineering Supercar by Shane van Gisbergen at Albert Park in 2017

“Without doubt, there’s multiple connections within the Supercars paddock and, from the 12 Hour perspective, attached to global motorsport that we can connect with these drivers,” affirmed Rudzis, who happens to also be Supercars’ strategic partnerships manager.

“It’s a great opportunity that we have and again, from a business perspective, there’s more and more attention for the 12 Hour.

“We’ve got avenues to go down to attract some of these drivers there, and that’s part of our strategy moving forward.”

Daniel Ricciardo has reiterated his desire to compete in the Bathurst 12 Hour after being queried on that matter by Speedcafe.com in the wake of Verstappen’s comments.

Next year’s once-around-the-clock Mount Panorama enduro takes place from February 3-5.

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