Kiwis among those to headline 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour
The 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour event, staged this coming February, will play host to a number of well-known drivers from around the globe, as well as a number of Kiwi cars and competitors.
Among them will be Shane van Gisbergen, making his return to the event after a date-clash in 2015 forced drivers from the V8 Supercar series to flag any intentions of competing.
van Gisbergen will be part of a three-car McLaren 650S assault announced earlier this morning, with their two flagship entries to be run by the Tekno Autosports V8 Supercar outfit — which the 26-year-old will depart from for the 2016 V8 Supercar season.
He will be partnered by team owner Jonathan Webb, and factory McLaren driver Alvaro Parente. Parente is one of three factory drivers to drive in the team, with the other two — Andrew Watson and Rob Bell — set to partner Will Davison in one of the other McLarens.
The third McLaren will be piloted by V8 Supercar regulars Tim Slade and Warren Luff, as well as leading Australian Carrera Cup driver Matt Campbell, and Objective Racing team owner Tony Walls.
The collective announcement of van Gisbergen, Davison, Slade, and Luff adds to an already impressive list of V8 Supercar racers driving in the event, with Craig Lowndes, Nick Percat, Scott McLaughlin, Dale Wood, Steve Owen, and Garth Tander already confirmed to attend the meeting.
Joining the mix of V8 drivers are a swag of internationals, including GT champions Toni Vilander, Christopher Mies, ex-Formula 1 driver Mika Salo, and 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Kiwi Earl Bamber — who will partner McLaughlin in a class B Porsche 911.
The event announced a 47-car grid for the event yesterday, with five New Zealand cars on listed. Included are International Motorsport and their Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3, Trass Family Motorsport (TFM) and their Ferrari 458 GT3, and Gary Morgan's little Subaru BRZ, which recently competed in the North Island Endurance Series.
The event will lead off the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge; a new series for GT3 teams which also includes the Spa 24 Hour, Austin 6 Hours, and the Sepang 12 Hour.