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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Gounon to Lead SunEnergy1 Lineup in Bathurst 12H

Kenny Habul-led effort returns to Mount Panorama in fight for overall victory…

Photo: Bathurst 12H

SunEnergy1 Racing has confirmed its return to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour and the four drivers that will spearhead its effort this year, including a defending race winner.

Runner-up in 2018, the U.S.-flagged team will field a Mercedes AMG GT3 Evo in the race, with support from Triple Eight Race Engineering.

Team owner/driver Kenny Habul will lead the attack as he makes his fourth 12 Hour start, with Martin Konrad, Luca Stolz and defending race winner Jules Gounon completing the driving squad.

Habul said his second-place finish in 2018 remains his ‘prized trophy’ among his motorsport successes.

“It’s my favorite race in the world and in my opinion the best track in the world,” he said.

“I’ve done OK racing around the GT series’, Suzuka, Spa, South Africa and Daytona, but to me it’s the most special, it’s the most difficult.

“I grew up going to the races there and I worked with Brock as a teenager in ’87, and worked with teams in the 90s and I even bought the property there on Conrod, which I haven’t seen yet!

“It’s been tough not being there for a couple of years, but it’s my favorite track and favorite race and I’m excited.”

The SunEnergy1 driver said he was pleased with the combination of car, team and talent assembled for his 12-Hour attack this year.

“We’re still with AMG, they’ve been good to be. I won the Pro-Am trophy with SRO [in IGTC] last year which was nice,” he said.

“I’ve got a good group of drivers around me I like, the same group of AMG drivers around me.

“Whenever there’s a Pro-Am race I always drive with Martin Konrad, he’s quick and fast.

“Luca Stolz is a great guy, super-fast and then Jules Gounon who used to be Bentley factory team but is now with AMG.

“We like each other, we get along and everyone is pretty similar on the setup.

“Congrats to the series and everyone in the race to make it a Pro-Am race, it makes it so much better for us rather than me going up against the Pro’s.

“I’m excited. I’m thankful it’s back on and I know everyone is keen to get there.”

While all four drivers have competed together throughout their careers, Habul and Gounon recently joined forces to finish third in the 24H Dubai in January.

Gounon’s third and most recent visit to Mount Panorama saw him win the race with the now-defunct Bentley Team M-Sport squad.

He finished 16th on debut with Bentley in 2018 before finishing eighth the following year.

The Frenchman was key to Bentley’s 2020 victory after surviving a late-race puncture and looming weather to cross the line first.

Stolz will also make his fourth 12-hour start this year, having already stood on the podium at Mount Panorama.

The 26-year-old German finished third in the 2018 race driving for Black Swan Racing, ironically one position behind Habul’s team in a dramatic race that was ended under a red flag.

Now a Mercedes-AMG factory driver, Stolz will split his time between GT World Challenge Europe commitments and DTM this year.

Konrad was part of SunEnergy1 Racing’s 2020 12-Hour campaign, his first start on the Mountain.

The SunEnergy1 Racing team entry will be supported by Triple Eight, which will field an identical Mercedes entry to be driven by Prince Jeffri Ibrahim, Shane van Gisbergen and Broc Feeney.

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