The stage is set for one of the largest fields to take place at the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in 2017, which gets underway this weekend at the iconic Mount Panorama circuit.
This year’s running of the classic race sees no less than thirteen different manufacturers on the entry list, which was a phenomenal site to behold when they were lined up on the pit straight earlier this morning for the traditional media call.
Nissan Motorsport also took the opportunity to officially launch their two GT-R Nismo GT3 cars and associated drivers in the pit lane.
The driving talent on hand also makes the eyes boggle. The likes of recently-crowned Australian Supercars Championship winner Shane van Gisbergen will be joined by fellow title-holders Jamie Wincup, Garth Tander, Craig Lowndes and Mark Winterbottom. Also bolstering the GT3 Pro ranks are reigning Bathurst 1000 winner Will Davison, Michael Caruso and Todd Kelly.
They will be mixing it with international legends of motorsport such as Timo Glock, Oliver Jarvis, Andy Soucek, Toni Vilander, Robin Frijns, Alex Buncombe, Jann Mardenborough, Jörg Müller and fan favourite Katsumasa Chiyo.
That headline-grabbing list is just the GT3 Pro entry list. Competing in the second- and thir-tier GT3 Pro/Am and GT3 Am ranks are still a few headline racing drivers, including Lee Holdsworth, Tim Slade and David Reynolds, while former Formula 1 drivers Bernd Schneider, Pedro Lamy and Ivan Capelli also feature.
Track action begins tomorrow with four practice sessions throughout the day. This will give a good indication of which teams have come prepared, and reveal those who may fall victim to the famous mountain which has claimed many over the years.
A further practice session is scheduled for Saturday, followed by qualifying and what aims to be an electrifying Top 10 Shootout for the Pro and Pro-Am categories.
The level of work being put into these cars is a sight to behold. Many mechanics and engineers have laboured solidly over the past two days to ensure every single detail is taken care of.
Twelve hours of brutal punishment on engines, gearboxes, tyres and drivers lies ahead on Sunday morning when the race begins at 5:45AM AEDST (GMT +11).
The race will be broadcast on 7Mate in Australia, which is a clear indication of the popularity this event has now gained amongst Australian race fans. Please check your local TV guide for international telecast listings.
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Images exclusively via George Hitchens Photography