The Bathurst 12 Hour race serves as the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge. First held in 1991, the Bathurst 12 Hour initially catered for production-based vehicles before becoming a race for international GT vehicles in 2011. The race has been held fifteen times, seven of them for GT3 vehicles. Now settled in the traditional date on the first weekend of February, the race represents the starting point for the Australian motorsport season. The Intercontinental GT Challenge, the world’s first racing series run for GT3 vehicles, was founded in 2016 by the SRO Motorsports Group led by Stéphane Ratel.
For most of the year, the characterful racetrack serves as a public road. The rollercoaster 6.213km Mount Panorama Circuit is nestled in the picturesque foothills of the Blue Mountains, and features 23 corners with gradients of up to 16 percent. But one of the oddities of the Bathurst 12 Hour, remains the 05h45 starting time, which means that the drivers get underway in the dark.
Porsche announced in 2017 that they would be supporting its international customer teams campaigning in the 911 GT3 R by providing works drivers and engineers, in its expanded 2018 GT racing program. At the season-opener, 60 vehicles would line up to compete in various categories, amongst them eleven Porsche 911 GT3 R, 911 GT3 Cup and Cayman GT4 Clubsport models.
Sebastian Golz, Project Manager 911 GT3 R, explained the regulations, “The regulations prohibit the use of evolutionary stages, which have been homologated for 2018. Therefore, in Bathurst, we’re fielding 2017-spec vehicles.”
Practice and qualifying did not go according to plan for the Porsche cars, and the teams were not able to tap into the full potential of the 911 GT3 R during the previous day’s qualifying, and so they took up the race from far down the grid.
Enjoy a lap with Matt Campbell aboard the #12 Competition Motorsports Porsche 911 GT3 R