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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

POLL: Who will win the 2024 Bathurst 12 Hour?

The 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour. Image: Supplied
The 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour. Image: Supplied

Once again, the entry is list is comprised of mixture of gun internationals and world-class Antipodeans – both in terms of teams and drivers, and sometimes within teams.

For outright contenders, we must obviously confine ourselves to Class A for GT3 vehicles and, within that, the answer is most likely to come from the 11-strong Pro subclass.

However, a Pro entry is not necessarily filled with ‘pro’ drivers, a move which proved a winning strategy in 2023.

Then and now, SunEnergy1 has entered the top (sub)class for Bronze-ranked driver Kenny Habul to share his Mercedes-AMG with Platinum steerers in Jules Gounon and Luca Stolz.

With no minimum Bronze seat time for Pro entries, Gounon and Stolz collectively performed the bulk of the driving 12 months ago, and the strategy has now been emulated by Melbourne Performance Centre.

The Audis which it has entered in the Pro class are also Bronze/Platinum/Platinum trios, namely Brad Schumacher/Markus Winkelhock/Ricardo Feller and Liam Talbot/Kelvin van der Linde/Christopher Haase.

It is a bold strategy but, with a relatively strong Bronze, some careful management, and/or a little bit of luck, it can pay off – as SunEnergy1 has proven.

Habul’s car is one of five Mercedes-AMGs in Pro, the others being entered by Triple Eight Race Engineering, GruppeM Racing, Craft-Bamboo Racing, and Scott Taylor Motorsport.

Triple Eight may only boast one factory driver in Mikael Grenier but Broc Feeney is now a regular in its GT World Challenge programmes and put Car #888 on the front row at Mount Panorama in 2023, while Will Brown has GT3 experience and recent testing miles under his belt.

GruppeM has lost Raffaele Marciello to the BMW ranks but retains another Three-Pointed superStar in Maro Engel, last year’s pole-sitter, alongside Felipe Fraga and Bathurst 1000 winner David Reynolds, who has been a semi-regular in GT World Challenge in recent years.

Let us not forget also that, if not for a faulty data logger, the German-flagged team would probably have won last year, instead of suffering yet another near-miss at Mount Panorama.

Craft-Bamboo is another local/international combination with Jayden Ojeda partnering Maximilian Gotz and Daniel Juncadella.

Perhaps the most intriguing Mercedes-AMG entry in Pro is STM’s all-Supercars line-up of Craig Lowndes/Cam Waters/Thomas Randle – a trio comprised of a two-time outright winner, a two-time starter, and a complete 12 Hour rookie, but one who hit a purple patch in the latter half of the 2023 Supercars season.

Team WRT will tackle Mount Panorama for a second time as BMW’s representative, with Marciello joining Maxime Martin and MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi in Car #46, while the sister entry which finished fourth outright in 2023 will again be Sheldon van der Linde, 2018 race winner Dries Vanthoor, and Charles Weerts.

There are also two Porsches in Pro, to be fielded by Manthey EMA and Phantom Global Racing.

Manthey EMA finished second in 2023 and is spearheaded by Queenslander Matt Campbell, who won the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour, and last month’s 24 Hours of Daytona.

Campbell shares Car #912 with Laurens Vanthoor and Ayhancan Güven in the first Mount Panorama enduro for the latest-generation 911 GT3 R (992).

Phantom Global is a newly-formed team, but features Platinum-ranked Joel Eriksson along with Gold drivers Jaxon Evans and Bastian Buus.

That is arguably not the extent of the outright contenders, with five cars in Pro-Am, although they will have to overcome the minimum Bronze driver time, while three cars will contest the Silver subclass.

As always, Balance of Performance will also be a major factor, and is a moving target until the race gets underway.

So, who do you think will win the 2023 Bathurst 12 Hour?

Cast your vote below in this week’s Pirtek Poll.

2024 Bathurst 12 Hour entry list

NumClassTeam nameMakeModelDrivers
2A-PROMelbourne Performance CentreAudiR8 LMSB. Schumacher / M. Winkelhock / R. Feller
13A-PROPhantom Global RacingPorsche992 GT3RB. Buus / J. Evans / J. Eriksson
22A-PROMelbourne Performance CentreAudiR8 LMSL. Talbot / K. van der Linde / C. Haase
32A-PROBMW Team WRTBMWM4GT3D. Vanthoor / S. van der Linde / C. Weerts
46A-PROBMW Team WRTBMWM4GT3V. Rossi / M. Martin / R. Marciello
75A-PROSunEnergy1Mercedes-AMGGT3K. Habul / J. Gounon / L. Stolz
77A-PROMercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo RacingMercedes-AMGGT3D. Juncadella / J. Ojeda / M. Gotz
130A-PROMercedes-AMG Team GruppeM RacingMercedes-AMGGT3M. Engel / D. Reynolds / F. Fraga
222A-PROScott Taylor MotorsportMercedes-AMGGT3C. Lowndes / C. Waters / T. Randle
888A-PRONational Storage RacingMercedes-AMGGT3B. Feeney / W. Brown / M. Grenier
912A-PROManthey EMAPorsche992 GT3RM. Campbell / L. Vanthoor / A. Güven
9A-PRO AMHallmarcAudiR8 LMSM. Cini / L. Holdsworth / D. Fiore
27A-PRO AMHeart of Racing by SPSMercedes-AMGGT3I. James / R. Gunn / A. Riberas
48A-PRO AMMMotorsportMercedes-AMGGT3J. McMillan / G. Wood / J. Le Brocq / G. Walden
88A-PRO AMTriple Eight JMRMercedes-AMGGT3P. Jefri Ibrahim / J. Love / J. Whincup
911A-PRO AMManthey EMAPorsche991 GT3RY. Shahin / H. King / A. Picariello
44A-SILVERValmont Racing/Tigani MotorsportAudiR8 LMSM. Zalloua / S. Pires / L. Youlden / B. Shiels
47A-SILVERSupabarn Supermarkets/Tigani MotorsportMercedes-AMGGT3J. Koundouris / T. Koundouris / D. Russell / J. Webb
93A-SILVERWall RacingLamborghiniHuracanA. Deitz / D. Wall / T. D’Alberto / G. Denyer
19C-GT4Team NineteenMercedes-AMGGT4M. Griffith / A. Christoudolou / D. Bilski
25C-GT4Method MotorsportMcLarenArtura GT4C. Mostert / M. Flack / J. Bryan
56C-GT4Nineteen CorpGinettaG55 GT4P. Buccini / A. Zerefos / C. White / O. Hizzey
230C-GT4Method MotorsportMcLarenArtura GT4T. Hayman / T. McLennan / E. Schutte
10INVMatt Stone RacingMARCGTJ. Holinger / N. Percat / C. Hill
20INVT2 Racing / LocalsearchMARCGTD. Jileson / A. Hargraves / C. Sbirrazzoul
50INVKTM Vantage RacingKTMXBow GT2D. Crampton / T. Harrison / L. Kraiheimer
91INVWheels FX RacingMARCIIK. Kassulke / H. Morrall / C. McLeod / T. Slade
111INVMRA Motorsport / 111 RacingMARCIID. Currie / A. Donaldson / R. Gray
701INVVortexVortexVortex 1.0L. Amrouche / J. Boilot / P. Bonnel
702INVIRC / TekWorkX MotorsportMARCGTD. Stutterd / N. Morris / P. Tracy / M. Twigg
Pirtek Poll

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