The world descends on Mount Panorama, Bathurst this week for the 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. Since its return as a race for production vehicles in 2007, the Event has grown and flourished to become one of the worlds key endurance races for GT vehicles, this year attracting a 54-car field from all corners of the globe. The 169 drivers nominated hail from 15 different countries and represent some of the very best in the sport, including former Formula 1 racers, GT world champions, Bathurst winners in both the 1000 and 12 Hour, and LeMans 24 Hour winners.

Underlining its growing significance on the local and international stage, the entire race will be broadcast live around Australia on the Seven Network this Sunday, February 8. A free live stream will keep international fans informed throughout the day. The role of key manufacturers is also growing with the local arms of premium global brands embracing the race as a way to promote their products. Amongst others, Audi, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz and Nissan will have strong factory representation both on and off the circuit this weekend, while other brands – including Ferrari – actively support their racing customers with trackside and media support.

RACE FACTS AND STATS:

EVENT: 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour

DATE: February 6-8, 2015

ENTRANTS:

Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour: 55
Improved Production: 57
Formula Ford: 49
Radical Australia Cup: 23

CLASS STRUCTURE:

Class A – GT3 ProAm / GT3 AM

Split into two sections, the outright GT3 Class is for GT3 vehicles up to and including all 2014 models. GT3 ProAm is for entries with two ‘seeded’ drivers whilst entrants with one or no seeded drivers will compete for the GT3 Amateur class.

Class B – GT3 Cup Cars

The ‘Porsche class’ – for Porsche’s 996, 997 GT3 models or Porsche Cup S models.

Class C – GT4

The baby GT category run to the global GT4 vehicles. Less modified and more production based than their GT3 counterparts.

Class D – Invitational (Production)

For ‘traditional’ production-based vehicles derived from an original road-going model. Includes a selection of BMW models (M3, 135i) plus more specialised endurance-specification vehicles derived from production vehicles like the BMW M3 GTR.

Class I – Invitational (non-Production)

For cars designed primarily for endurance racing and custom made as such – includes the MARC Cars Australia entries.

FACTS AND STATS:

Time to sit back and grab a coffee, here comes a plethora of Bathurst 12 Hour stats …..

  • The 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will mark the 13th running of a 12-hour race at Mount Panorama. The race was first held in 1991-1994 and returned to Bathurst in 2007.
  • The largest field to start the race was 55 cars in 1992, and the smallest 25, in 2012.
  • The 2015 entry of 54 cars should see it set a record for the largest field since the race’s return in 2007 under the current management.
  • Since its return in 2007, the race has averaged 37.1 starters and 25.7 finishers.
  • Despite the tough nature of the race, it has an excellent finishing rate. On average, 69% of all starters have finished the race each time it has been run since 2007. 25 of the 32 starters – or just over 75% of the grid – finished the 2007 race to give it the best finishing record of all.
  • In the GT era, since 2011, 19 finishers from 26 starters (73%) makes the ’11 field the most reliable. 28 of the 40 starters in 2014 finished the race.
  • The lap and distance records were set last year – the winning car completing 292 laps, or 1,839km.
  • The smallest distance covered was just 202 laps – 1255km – in 2010, thanks in part to a lengthy red-flag period that saw cars stopped at the top of the circuit after a tree fell across the track exiting Forrest Elbow.
  • On average, the race has seen 259 laps completed each year.
  • The fastest race was the 2014 thriller – run at an average speed of 153km/hr.
  • The slowest was 2010 at a relatively pedestrian 104km/hr average.
  • Since 2007 the race has been decided by a margin of one lap or more only twice – incidentally, both times in wet conditions.
  • In 2010 the Holt / Bowe / Morris BMW beat the Mitsubishi’s by more than the six-kilometre lap distance, while the same result occurred in 2013 when Erebus Motorsport gave Mercedes their first Bathurst victory.
  • When the race has seen a fight to the flag, the average margin of victory is a remarkably small 30.28s – absolutely nothing after 12 hours of brutal racing. The smallest margin of victory was set in 2014 when Craig Lowndes edged out Maxi Buhk’s Mercedes by 0.4138s in the remarkable fight to the flag.
  • Safety Cars naturally play a role in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour. On average, there has been eight safety car periods each race – circulating for an average of 27 laps.
  • The bruising 2013 race saw set most of the Safety Car records we have: a record 15 interruptions for a total of 43 laps behind the Safety Car. Tough race!
  • The most time spent behind the Safety Car, however, were recorded in that 2010 race. 42 of the 202 laps completed were logged under caution – just over 20% of the entire distance completed!
  • 2014 set the record for the most number of cars on the lead lap at the end – 5.
  • 2014 also set the record for the most number of different race leaders – 8 cars had a turn at the front across the record 292 lap distance.
  • On average, there are nearly 20 changes of lead (at the line) in each Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. The most (28) was set in 2011 and the least just 11 in 2010. The 2014 epic produced 21 changes of lead at the start line, and plenty more away from it!
  • The most dominant Bathurst 12 hour victory arguably came in 2012, when Christoper Mies, Christer Jons and Darryl O’Young took Audi to back-to-back victories.
  • The No. 1 Audi R8 LMS Ultra set records for the following that year:
    • Most consecutive laps led: 121
    • Most laps led overall (and most laps led by the leader): 168.
  • The 2014 race had records of its own. The No. 1 Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG led more than half of the race, heading the field for 167 of the first 193 laps, including a massive 82 lap stint in a row. They led none of the final 103 laps.
  • Meanwhile, the winning Maranello Ferrari led just 64 laps and didn’t even get to the lead until lap 197 – 66% of the way into the ultimate race distance. It was the least laps in front by the car that would ultimately win in the GT era.
  • (The record was just 62 laps led by the 2010 winners – though a higher percentage of the overall race was spent in front due to the fewer laps completed).
  • An Audi R8 LMS ultra has led at least two laps in every GT 12-hour run on the Mountain.
  • 2014 marked the first time that a Lamborghini and a McLaren had led the Bathurst 12 Hour.
  • 7 different brand have won the race: Toyota, Mazda, Mitsubishi, BMW, Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Ferrari.
  • With his win in 2014, John Bowe became the ninth driver to have won two Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour races, joining Garry Walden, Garry Holt, Paul Morris, Rod Salmon, Damien White, Darryl O’Young and Christoper Mies on the list.
  • Of those drivers, Bowe, Salmon, O’Young and Mies return this year to attempt to become the first three-time winner.
  • An all-Australian combination has never won the 12-hour in its GT format, though three of the four drivers in the 2014 winning car were locals, ably supported by Finnish ace, Mika Salo which proves the old adage: If you want to win, hire a Finn!
  • 27 drivers have won the Bathurst 12 hour race since its formation in 1991