FAR too often in motor sport, we see people taking part to make up the numbers. Even in Supercars – the pinnacle of Australian motor sport, it could be argued that there are some drivers that aren’t in the field based on pure talent.
The Bathurst 12-Hour is different, dismissing the notion that quantity and quality can’t co-exist, and shows you can have the best of both worlds. A star studded field of 124 drivers fills the 39 cars originally entered, and a record GT field sees 11 different marques.
There aren’t many other events or categories where you will see this kind of diversity, with Porsche, Audi, BMW, Bentley, McLaren, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Honda, Mercedes-AMG, Nissan, Lamborghini and the Aussie-built MARC cars all featuring.
The achievements of drivers in this year’s event are also plentiful. There’s a combination of Supercars champions, Bathurst 1000 winners, Le Mans outright champions, an Indy 500 winner and Indycar champion and a recent Daytona 24 Hour class winner.
Throw in some former Bathurst 12-hour champions, and it’s not easy to see that the experience levels are of the charts.
Don’t forget that between Craig Lowndes, Jamie Whincup, Shane van Gisbergen, Garth Tander and Rick Kelly, there are also a combined 13 ATCC/Supercars title wins, and a further 19 Bathurst 1000 wins.
Chaz Mostert, Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes David Reynolds, Nick Percat, Garth Tander and Rick Kelly have all stood on the top step at the Supercars event, while at least five of the current field has won the Bathurst 12-Hour before.
Earl Bamber and Romain Dumas have the strongest Le Mans credentials – both being outright champions in the past, while Scott Dixon has clinched both the Indy 500 and Indycar titles in recent years. Even the gentleman drivers are no slouches.
This event demands talent and commitment – and with so much on the line, there is no room for tyre kickers and amateurs. Not only is it a genuinely strong car count, but it’s backed up with plenty of skill and dedication.