Liqui Moly Bathurst logo

The Bathurst 12 Hour (currently known as the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour for sponsorship reasons) is an endurance race for GT and production cars held at the Mount Panorama Circuit, in Bathurst, Australia in February each year. The race was first held in 1991 for Series Production cars and moved to Sydney's Eastern Creek Raceway in 1995 before being discontinued. The race was revived in 2007, again for production cars, before adding a new class for GT3 and other GT cars in 2011. This has led to unprecedented domestic and international exposure for the event. In all, fifteen races have taken place; fourteen at Mount Panorama and one at Eastern Creek Raceway.

Background Edit

The event was inspired by the long-running Bathurst 1000 touring car race, which began at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria in 1960 (before moving to Bathurst in 1963) as a race for standard production cars with minimal modifications. As the Bathurst 1000 evolved, the touring cars that raced in it moved further and further away from the minimal modifications of the original race. The Bathurst 12 Hour was intended to create the original feel of the Bathurst 1000, while providing a unique test in the longer race distance, rather than replicating the 1000 kilometre event.

History Edit

The start of the 2011 Barthurst 12

The start of the 2011 race.

BMW 335i on the track

The BMW 335i which won the race in 2007 and 2010, pictured in 2013.

Cars prior to the start of 2015 12 hour

Cars on the grid prior to the start of the 2015 race.

Audi R8 LMS GT3

The Audi R8 LMS GT3 which won the 2011 race, the first to include GT3 entries.

The Nissan GT-R NISMOGT3whichwonthe2015race

The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 which won the 2015 race.

2016 McLaren 650S GT3 pictured here won the 2016 race and has the lap record as of now

The McLaren 650S GT3 which won the 2016 race and holds the current lap record for the circuit.

Production origins Edit

In 1990, Vincent Tesoriero, a race promoter and former Bathurst 1000 competitor, looked at the decline of Group A touring cars in Australia and saw an opportunity to run a 12-hour endurance race for Series Production cars at Mount Panorama. Tesoriero secured long time Bathurst 1000 sponsor James Hardie as a sponsor for the event in late 1990, leaving limited time to launch and organise the event for the Easter weekend in 1991. The race regulations were based on the Group 3E Series Production Car rules then in use in the Australian Production Car Championship for naturally aspirated four- and six-cylinder passenger sedans, but also allowed turbocharged and V8-engined cars which had been outlawed from the Production Car Championship in 1990. Despite the short deadline, twenty-four cars were entered for the first race, spread over six different classes based on engine capacity and sporting specification. Exotic mid-engined sports cars and GT cars were not eligible to enter.

The race was originally scheduled to run from 9am to 9pm but this was disallowed by Bathurst Regional Council. The race would instead run from 5:15am to 5:15pm, with the final two hours televised by Network Ten. Despite the event's length, the competitors proved extremely reliable, with twenty cars finishing the race. The race was won by Allan Grice, Peter Fitzgerald and Nigel Arkell racing Fitzgerald's 1989 Production Car Championship specification Toyota Supra Turbo.

In 1992, manufacturer-backed teams began to appear with large teams entered and funded by Mazda, Holden, Citroën and PeugeotPorsche would also provide factory support from 1993 onwards. HondaNissanMaseratiBMW and Lotus were also represented but not by factory-supported teams. The Mazda team would go on to dominate the event with the Mazda RX-7, winning four consecutive races from 1992 to 1995.

Facing rising costs, the 1995 event was moved from Bathurst to Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney, and from the Easter weekend to November, before the race was discontinued in 1996.

Hiatus Edit

After no major race for production cars for a number of years, the concept was revived with the short lived Bathurst 24 Hour races in 2002 and 2003. The races were run by Nations Cup owners PROCAR and were dominated by the controversial Holden Monaro 427Cs of Garry Rogers Motorsport. The Monaros were controversial because of their use of the 7.0-litre, V8 engine rather than the 5.7-litre Gen IIIengines used by the Monaro CV8 road car. The Bathurst 24 Hour only lasted two years before PROCAR owner Ross Palmer was forced to abandon the race due to rising costs.

Revival Edit

The Bathurst 12 Hour was successfully revived in 2007 as part of the Bathurst Motorsport Festival, with the regulations close to its original concept as a race for production cars. 32 cars were entered for the 2007 race, which was won by Garry Holt, Paul Morris and Craig Baird in a BMW 335i. The number of entries grew over the next three years, peaking at 49 in 2009, while the final race held strictly to production car regulations in 2010 attracted 42 entries. The event itself grew in stature each year, firmly entrenching itself as one of the biggest race meetings at the start of the domestic Australian racing season, along with the Clipsal 500 and the Australian Grand Prix.

International expansion Edit

In 2011, GT3-specification cars were allowed into the 12 hour race for the first time. Despite this, the number of entries dropped dramatically as many of the production car teams decided not to race. Of the 26 cars that competed in 2011, just eight raced in the production car classes, compared with the 42 that made up the full 2010 field. The German-based Joest Racing dominated the 2011 event, with the team's two Audi R8 LMS GT3s finishing first and second, a lap ahead of the third-placed Porsche. 2012 saw another small field of just 25 cars. Audi won the race for the second consecutive year, this time with DTM and FIA GT1 team Phoenix Racing.

The 2013 event ended the two-year run of poor entry numbers, with a record field of over 50 cars. Another first for the event saw the opening round of the 2013 Australian GT Championship incorporated into the first hour of the race. The results of the GT Championship round were based on the positions of the cars that had elected to race for GT Championship points at the end of the first hour of racing. Teams could then either continue on and complete the full race, or withdraw their car after the first hour. Drivers were allowed to cross-enter between cars so that they could race one car in the one-hour GT Championship race and then drive another car that was entered for the full 12 hours. Erebus Motorsport took the first win for an Australian team under the GT regulations with German drivers Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger and Alexander Roloff taking their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to victory.

Maranello Motorsport took a poignant win in the 2014 event—the team's former driver Allan Simonsen was killed in a crash at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans—with V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes holding off a late charge from German driver Maximilian Buhk to take victory. 2014 also saw the introduction of the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy, named in honour of Simonsen, to be awarded to the fastest car in qualifying. The 2015 race featured a record twenty safety car periods, the last coming just minutes from the end of the race. Katsumasa Chiyo, driving a Nissan GT-R, took the lead with two laps remaining to give Nissan its first major victory at Mount Panorama since the 1992 Bathurst 1000.

In August 2015, the V8 Supercars-owned company Supercars Events purchased 50% of the Bathurst 12 Hour, joining existing part-owners Bathurst Regional Council. This followed a date clash between the 2015 12 Hour and V8 Supercars' 2015 pre-season test day which saw V8 Supercar drivers, such as 2014 12 Hour-winner Lowndes, forced to take part in the test day and be unable to race in the 12 Hour. With an increasing focus on the outright GT3 cars and a dwindling number of production cars in the race, the former organisers of the 12 Hour, Yeehah Events, announced the production car-based Bathurst 6 Hour for 2016, to restore a Bathurst endurance race for the production category. The 6 Hour will be part of the Bathurst Motor Festival at Easter.

The 2016 race was the inaugural race of the newly formed Intercontinental GT Challenge, which also includes the Sepang 12 Hours and Spa 24 Hours and is managed by the Stéphane Ratel Organisation. The event itself saw record pace from Shane Van Gisbergenin qualifying and the race to lead his Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3 to victory alongside McLaren factory driver Álvaro Parente and Tekno team owner/driver Jonathon Webb.

Winners Edit

Year Drivers Vehicle Entrant Laps Distance
1991 Nigel Arkell

 Peter Fitzgerald
 Allan Grice

Toyota Supra Turbo 242 1503.546 km
1992 Mark Gibbs

 Charlie O'Brien
 Garry Waldon

Mazda RX-7 Mazda Australia 254 1578.102 km
1993 Alan Jones

 Garry Waldon

Mazda RX-7 Mazda Australia 263 1634.019 km
1994 Neil Crompton

 Gregg Hansford

Mazda RX-7 Mazda Motorsport 262 1627.806 km
19951 John Bowe

 Dick Johnson

Mazda RX-7 Mazda Motorsport 409 1607.370 km


not held;

see Bathurst 24 Hour (2002–2003)

2007 Craig Baird

 Garry Holt
 Paul Morris

BMW 335i Eastern Creek Karts P/L 257 1596.741 km
2008 Graham Alexander

 Rod Salmon
 Damien White

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX 253 1571.889 km
2009 Tony Longhurst

 Rod Salmon
 Damien White

Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia 239 1484.907 km
2010 John Bowe

 Garry Holt
 Paul Morris

BMW 335i Eastern Creek International Karting 2022 1255.026 km
2011 Marc Basseng

 Christopher Mies
 Darryl O'Young

Audi R8 GT3 LMS Joest Racing 292 1814.196 km
2012 Christer Jöns

 Christopher Mies
 Darryl O'Young

Audi R8 GT3 LMS Phoenix Racing 270 1677.510 km
2013 Thomas Jäger

 Alexander Roloff
 Bernd Schneider

Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 Erebus Motorsport 268 1665.084 km
2014 John Bowe

 Peter Edwards
 Craig Lowndes
 Mika Salo

Ferrari 458 GT3 Maranello Motorsport 296 1839.048 km
2015 Katsumasa Chiyo

 Wolfgang Reip
 Florian Strauss

Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 NISMO Athlete Global Team 269 1671.297 km
2016 Álvaro Parente

 Shane Van Gisbergen
 Jonathon Webb

McLaren 650S GT3 Tekno Autosports 297 1845.261 km

^1 – The 1995 race was staged at Eastern Creek Raceway as the 1995 Eastern Creek 12 Hour. ^2 – The 2010 race was red flagged for an hour after a tree fell across Conrod Straight and had to be removed.[22]

Multiple winners Edit

By driver Edit

Wins Driver Years
3 John Bowe 1995, 2010, 2014
2 Garry Waldon 1992, 1993
Rod Salmon 2008, 2009
Damien White 2008, 2009
Garry Holt 2007, 2010
Paul Morris 2007, 2010
Christopher Mies 2011, 2012
Darryl O'Young 2011, 2012

By manufacturer Edit

Wins Manufacturer Years
4 Mazda 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
2 Mitsubishi 2008, 2009
BMW 2007, 2010
Audi 2011, 2012

Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy Edit

In 2014, a trophy was introduced for pole position, named after Allan Simonsen who died at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. Simonsen, who had raced several times in Australia as part of a long and varied career, held the Bathurst 12 Hour race lap record at the time as well as driving the fastest officially timed lap around Mount Panorama in a closed-wheel car.  The introduction of the trophy coincided with the relaxing of qualifying restrictions from previous years, with the removal of the minimum allowed lap time (two minutes and six seconds), therefore allowing a major improvement in qualifying times. In 2014, Simonsen's former team at the 12 Hour, Maranello Motorsport, narrowly missed pole to Maro Engel by less than a tenth of a second. Maranello went on to win the race itself. In 2015, Laurens Vanthoorset the fastest ever officially recorded time of Mount Panorama in qualifying. This time was only to last twelve months, with Shane Van Gisbergen beating the time by over one second in qualifying for the 2016 race.

Year Driver Vehicle Entrant Lap Time
2014 Maro Engel Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 Erebus Motorsport 2:03.8586
2015 Laurens Vanthoor Audi R8 LMS Ultra Phoenix Racing 2:02.5521
2016 Shane Van Gisbergen McLaren 650S GT3 Tekno Autosports 2:01.2860

Television coverage Edit

The entire 2015 and 2016 races were broadcast live on the Seven Network and 7mate, and were also streamed worldwide on the Bathurst 12 Hour website. At the 2013 event commentary was provided by the team from Radio Show Limited/Radio Le Mans who broadcast every session live on establishing an International audience for the event as well as underlining great interest in endurance racing from within Australia. Subsequently as TV channels became aware of the size of the audience, RSL provided their service to SBS in 2014 and Seven Network in 2015 - 2016 as well as hosting a free to air streming video player of qualifying and the race on the website. The race has been broadcast on Speed and SBS, and as a highlights package on SBS. The race was broadcast by Network Ten in the 1990s.

The estimated viewing audience for the 2014 race was over half a million people from 150 countries.

Event sponsors Edit

  • 1991–94: James Hardie
  • 2007–09: Wright Patton Shakespeare (WPS)
  • 2010–12: Armor All
  • 2013–18: Liqui Moly

See also Edit

Smallwikipedialogo.png This page uses some content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Bathurst 12 Hour. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Autopedia, the text of Wikipedia is available under the GNU Free Documentation License.

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