For its season opener, the Intercontinental GT Challenge (IGTC) is returning to the Mount Panorama Circuit in Bathurst this weekend. The field for the popular Bathurst 12 Hour includes, among others, six Mercedes-AMG customer sport teams, each of them taking on the huge challenges of the traditional circuit in the southeast of Australia with one Mercedes-AMG GT3. Next to Mercedes-AMG Team Craft Bamboo Racing that will be participating with extended support from Affalterbach, the teams are Nineteen Corporation Pty Ltd, RAM Motorsport, SunEnergy1 Racing, Triple Eight Race Engineering and Valmont Racing. Like in previous years, Mercedes-AMG is again providing the safety car for this legendary race.
The legendary Bathurst 12 Hour gets the new season in the Intercontinental GT Challenge underway this weekend. The classic endurance race having been dropped from the calendar in 2021 due to travel restrictions that were in place, the only global GT series is now returning to Mount Panorama Circuit in New South Wales. The track with a length of around 6.2 kilometres has already been a regular fixture in IGTC since 2016 and is particularly known for its extraordinary lay-out on the hill of the eponymous Mount Panorama.
Six Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing Teams in action during Bathurst 12 Hour
The field for the 12-hour race includes a total of 20 cars. Among them are six Mercedes-AMG GT3s, run by as many different customer sport teams. First and foremost Mercedes-AMG Team Craft Bamboo Racing that is getting extended works support from Affalterbach for the season-opening event. The two Mercedes-AMG Drivers Maro Engel (GER) and Daniel Juncadella (ESP) and Kevin Tse (MAC) will be alternating behind the wheel of the #91 Mercedes-AMG GT3 with its high-class line-up, competing in the Pro-Am class.
Next to Mercedes-AMG Team Craft Bamboo Racing, three further cars from the performance and sports car brand will be represented in the Pro-Am category. Drivers of the #19 Nineteen Corporation Pty Ltd Mercedes-AMG GT3 are Will Brown, Mark Griffith and Jack Perkins (all AUS). SunEnergy1 Racing’s car with starting number 75 has an experienced quartet consisting of defending Bathurst race winner Jules Gounon (FRA), Kenny Habul (AUS), Martin Konrad (AUT) and Luca Stolz (GER). Triple Eight Race Engineering has the team’s own #888 Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Broc Feeney (AUS), Shane van Gisbergen (NZL) and Prince Jefri Ibrahim (MAS).
Meanwhile, the #45 RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Brett Hobson, Michael Sheargold and Garth Walden and the #55 Valmont Racing GT3 with Duvashen Padayachee, Sergio Pires and Marcel Zalloua (all AUS) will be battling for Am class honours. After two 15-minute qualifying sessions, followed by a pole shootout, teams will be starting for the 12-hour race on Saturday at 9.15 p.m. CEST (local time: Sunday, 5.15 a.m.).
Mercedes-AMG provides official Safety Car
Since 2015, a safety car from Affalterbach has been leading the field of the Bathurst 12 Hour for the formation lap. This weekend, the current Mercedes-AMG E 63 S 4MATIC+ (combined fuel consumption 12.3 – 11.9 l/100 km, combined CO2 emission 281 – 270 g/km)* will again be in use to guarantee the safety of the participants irrespective of the weather conditions thanks to its 450 kW (612 hp) strong 4.0 litre V8 biturbo engine and the fully variable 4 MATIC+ four-wheel drive.
Further classic endurance races at Spa, Indianapolis and Kyalami round out IGTC calendar
In this year’s Intercontinental GT Challenge season, three further endurance races on three different continents will follow after the Bathurst 12 Hour. Round two, the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa, will be held at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps from 28th till 31st July. From 7th till 9th October, the series will visit Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Indianapolis 8 Hour, while the season finale will be held at Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit near Johannesburg from 1st till 3rd December.
Stefan Wendl, head of Mercedes-AMG Customer Racing: “We are delighted to be returning to Mount Panorama Circuit. This extraordinary circuit and the unique backdrop is a highlight on our motorsport calendar every single year and a great start of the challenging IGTC. Our teams come with a good mix of experience and ability so that we expect to have good chances of top results in this unique race. I wish our customer sport teams good luck for the race and a good start of the IGTC season.”