***Key drivers and cars competing in this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour gathered at Skyline this morning for a photo shoot. The stunning backdrop served as the official kick-off for this year’s event, which has seen significant growth from what was a stunning 2014 event.
***A total of 28 GT3 cars are now set to do battle, following the late withdrawal of the second AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3, due to Piergiuseppe Perazzini having to undergo surgery. The Italian squad’s solo entry is being piloted by Davide Rigon, Michele Rugolo and Steve Wyatt, the same trio that claimed victory in December’s Gulf 12 Hours in Abu Dhabi.
***The GT3 category (Class A) has been split into Pro-Am and Am classes for the first time. At least one Bronze or Silver-rated driver is required in Pro-Am, with two amateur drivers mandated for the Am class. Eleven cars are entered in the Pro-Am class, including both factory M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3s.
***A total of 53 cars are set to take part across five base classes (GT3, Cup cars, GT4, Production-based invitational and non-production invitational). It adds up to 169 drivers hailing from 15 different countries, including former F1 drivers, GT World Champions and Le Mans 2inners.
***A pair of ex-GRAND-AM Mazda RX-8s are making their Bathurst debuts. Australian production racer Bruce Henley purchased three of the SpeedSource-built cars and will run two in the Invitational class this weekend. The third chassis, still in Dempsey Racing colors, is on hand as a spare.
***An increasing issue with kangaroos at Mt. Panorama has resulted in event promoters having to bring in “population control” personnel for the weekend, who will attempt to prevent skippys from entering the track. It’s understood snipers will be strategically located atop the mountain and will only shoot if absolutely necessary.
***Peter Kox’s Lamborghini was eliminated from last year’s event after the Dutchman had a run-in with a kangaroo in the opening laps, while the Bathurst 1000 was marred by a similar incident involving Nissan driver David Russell.
***Official on-track activity kicks off Friday at 8:15 a.m. local time for the first of four one-hour practice sessions. A final practice session is on tap for Saturday prior to qualifying in the early afternoon. Click Here for the full weekend schedule.