***Shipping delays have struck multiple teams in the paddock, primarily Bentley Team M-Sport, which is awaiting the arrival of its cars and equipment, as well as support equipment from Strakka Racing. However, concerns of a possible delay forced Manthey Racing to air-freight a spare Porsche 911 GT3 R to Australia at the last minute.
***As a result, a second Porsche, in the German squad’s signature yellow and green livery, is in the paddock this weekend.
***While M-Sport expects to receive its equipment early tomorrow morning, Guy Smith told Sportscar365 they have yet to make a seat for new Bentley Boy Jules Gounon, who makes his team debut alongside Smith and Steven Kane in the No. 17 Bentley Continental GT3.
***Both of the Nos. 22 and 74 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS cars are sporting factory colors this weekend, in addition to the two WRT entries.
***Alex Davison, who returns to Competition Motorsports for the first time since finishing runner-up in Class B, makes his Porsche GT3 debut. The Carrera Cup Australia veteran, however, has previous experience with Porsche’s 996-based 911 GT3 RSR. “At least there will be some similarities,” he told Sportscar365. It will feel more homely than hopping in other GT cars I’m not familiar with.”
***Davison, who was recently re-classified to Silver driver rating, takes the seat of Marc Lieb in the U.S.-based team’s lineup alongside David Calvert-Jones, Patrick Long and the recently named Porsche Young Professional, Matt Campbell, who has been elevated to Gold rating.
***Lieb, meanwhile, has moved over to Black Swan Racing’s Porsche, a car that is receiving technical and logistical support from Competition/McElrea Racing.
***All three of Manthey’s drivers: Romain Dumas, Dirk Werner and Fred Makowiecki, are set for their Bathurst debuts. Dumas, fresh off an overall podium finish in the Rolex 24 at Daytona, was confirmed on Wednesday to race Volkswagen’s new electric-powered prototype in the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb in June.
***More than 20 drivers arrived directly from last weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, including Kelvin van der Linde, Robin Frijns, Augusto Farfus, Alvaro Parente, Come Ledogar, Christopher Mies, Markus Winkelhock, Kenny Habul, Tristan Vautier, Phillip Eng, Romain Dumas, Fred Makowiecki, Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor, Patrick Long, Tim Pappas, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Luca Stolz, Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda.
***A handful of Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge competitors also made the trip Down Under, including Kuno Wittmer, Daren Jorgensen and Cameron Lawrence, who have teamed up in a BMW M4 GT4 with Brett Strom under the RHC-Lawrence/Strom banner.
***The BMW GT4 is being run by MARC Cars Australia, which has a massive eight-car effort in the Invitational class, including the competition debut of three new Ford Mustang-bodied MARC II V8s.
***Craft-Bamboo Racing is targeting an entry in the Suzuka 10 Hours, according to team director Darryl O’Young. It would come in addition to its planned return to the Blancpain GT Asia Series with two Porsche 911 GT3 Rs and a Porsche Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR.
***Bathurst marks the team’s first all-factory lineup in Earl Bamber, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, who were all part of Walkinshaw’s entry last year. “Hopefully we can do a lot more with Porsche in the future,” O’Young told Sportscar365. “It’s the third year of our relationship and has been going really well.”
***Craft-Bamboo makes its return to the Mountain for the first time since finishing on the overall podium in 2015, with an Aston Martin V12 Vantage GT3 driven by O’Young, Stefan Muecke and Alex MacDowall.
***O’Young told Sportscar365 they are not the customers of Porsche’s mid-engined 911 RSR that’s been sold to an Asian-based team. Proton Competition, Project 1 and Gulf Racing are the confirmed customers of the GTE-spec car so far.