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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Bathurst Friday Notebook

John Dagys’ Friday notebook from Mt. Panorama…

Photo: Audi

Photo: Audi

***Phoenix Racing’s tradition of sporting special Australian-themed liveries in the Bathurst 12 Hour continues, with the German squad’s Audi R8 LMS paying homage to community of indigenous people. A small group from the local indigenous community visited the team this weekend and preformed a traditional ceremony with the car.

***A number of new-generation GT3 cars, such as the Porsche 911 GT3 R, Ferrari 488 GT3, Mercedes-AMG GT3 and BMW M6 GT3, are not eligible this weekend due to not yet being homologated by the SRO. The Bathurst 12 Hour utilizes the SRO’s Balance of Performance system.

***The regulations prevented a few teams from fielding new machinery. AF Corse was reportedly looking to debut the new turbocharged Ferrari, while U.S.-based Australian David Calvert-Jones was planning to run the new Porsche with a stacked factory driver lineup.

***The No. 63 Erebus Motorsport Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 returned to action in Practice 3 following Maro Engel’s scrape with the wall in FP2. It was one of  a number of minor incidents during the day, with no major victims to the Mountain today.

***Unlike most GT3 championships, there’s a tire war at the Bathurst 12 Hour, with 22 cars fitted with Michelin and Pirelli supplying the remaining 15 entries. Michelin has brought 1,300 tires this weekend, with a staff of 16 people, including four overseas technicians.

***Newly appointed McLaren GT Sporting Manager Bas Leinders is at Bathurst, working his first race with the British manufacturer. The former Marc VDS Racing team manager is one of 15 McLaren GT employees on-site to support the four McLaren 650S GT3 competing this weekend.

***Romolo Liebchen’s final race as head of Audi Sport customer racing is this weekend. Liebchen’s first event under the customer racing division came at this very event in 2011, which was won by an Audi R8 LMS.

***Mika Salo, who returns to the No. 88 Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 GT3, is not expected to drive in any additional races this year, as the Finn focuses on his role as sporting director of SMP Racing. Salo, who has been overseeing the SMP F4 Championship and the team’s involvement in other single-seater ranks, told Sportscar365 that he will also be a play a sporting role in SMP’s LMP2 program this year in the WEC.

***This year’s race will see the debut of a brand-new timing and scoring interface, following a major infrastructure upgrade at the Mount Panorama circuit by the Bathurst Regional Council. Fans will be able to access several pages of new information, in addition to the main timing and scoring results page, at

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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