A world-class field will assemble at Mount Panorama for the 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli.
10 different GT3 rival brands and 13 different manufacturers in total are represented, headlined by the welcome return of the iconic Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 to the grid.
Hong Kong-based team KCMG has entered a pair of GT-Rs on their Bathurst debut, the Nismo racers having proved to be fan favourites at Mount Panorama since the factory team scored victory in the 2015 race.
The 10 GT3 brands equals the race record number of different marques represented in the top class, set in 2016.
However the depth of competition in the GT3 class is expected to be the highest ever seen in the race with some of the world’s best teams fielding cars.
Mercedes-AMG is the most numerous marque in the 28-strong GT3 contingent with six AMG GT3s confirmed.
It includes the return of iconic AMG team Black Falcon, which will partner with both Craft-Bamboo Racing and Team Nineteen entries this year. Craft-Bamboo recently announced their new partnership with AMG which will commence at the 12-hour.
The debut of the highly accomplished GruppeM Racing is another highlight for the German brand.
Five Audi R8 LMS entries include the debut of Matt Stone Racing, who will field an Aussie Driver Search-supported R8 entry.
Porsche will again be strong in their search for a maiden Bathurst victory with four cars; including two factory-supported entries which will be nominated to score points for the marque’s ICGT campaign.
US-based teams Black Swan Racing and Competition Motorsports also return to represent Porsche.
BMW’s two-car team includes the welcome return of BMW Team Schnitzer while Ferrari’s chances for a third 12-Hour win will be bolstered by the addition of the renowned AF Corse / Spirit of Race team.
Two cars each from Aston Martin team R-Motorsport, Bentley Motorsport, Lamborghini and a single McLaren ensure that every brand to have won the 12-Hour in its time as a GT enduro will be represented.
Class B features a four-car Porsche fight, while three Ginetta Australia G55 entries will make
Class C (GT4) a close fight with three rivals from KTM and the always-fast BMW.
MARC Cars Australia will field four cars in the Invitational Class, two of the Generation II cars and two of the original versions of their Aussie-designed and developed enduro racer.
A final entry list including drivers will be released in the new year.
“We’re thrilled with the quality of the field and the depth of brands, teams and drivers to be involved,” said Kurt Sakzewski, Bathurst 12 Hour Event Director.
“We will welcome back several familiar names but also several new teams who will be making their Bathurst debut.
“It is truly a world-class grid and the competition is going to be brilliant between some of the best brands and teams in not just GT3 racing, but in motorsport full stop.
“The growth of the Intercontinental GT Challenge and the enduring appeal of Mount Panorama is reflected in the sizable manufacturer presence, but the addition of so many strong privately entered teams shows that anyone can have a shot at winning this race.
“The size of the grid is just about spot-on for this race and we’re very comfortable with that. The competition will be strong in each class but there will be a bit more space between cars which will hopefully make for a cleaner race, both for those in it and those watching trackside or on TV.”