Bathurst 12 Hour

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Bathurst 12 Hour
Bathurst 12 hour logo.png
Mount Panorama Circuit Map Overview.PNG
Venue Mount Panorama Circuit
Corporate sponsor Liqui Moly
First race 1991
Duration 12 Hours
Most wins (driver) John Bowe (3)
Most wins (manufacturer) Mazda (4)

The Bathurst 12 Hour (formally known as the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour for sponsorship reasons) is an endurance race for GT and production cars held at the Mount Panorama Circuit, in Bathurst, Australia in February each year. The race was first held in 1991 for Series Production cars and moved to Eastern Creek Raceway in 1995 before being discontinued. The race was revived in 2007, again for production cars, before adding a new class for GT3 and other GT cars in 2011. This has led to unprecedented domestic and international exposure for the event. In all, thirteen races have taken place; twelve at Mount Panorama and one at Eastern Creek Raceway.


The event was inspired by the long-running Bathurst 1000 touring car race, which began at the Phillip Island circuit in Victoria in 1960 (before moving to Bathurst in 1963) as a race for standard production cars with minimal modifications. As the Bathurst 1000 evolved, the touring cars that raced in it moved further and further away from the minimal modifications of the original race. The Bathurst 12 Hour was intended to create the original feel of the Bathurst 1000, while providing a unique test in the longer race distance, rather than replicating the 1000 kilometre event.


The start of the 2011 race.
Cars on the grid prior to the start of the 2015 race.

Production origins (1991–95)[edit]

In 1990, Vincent Tesoriero, a race promoter and former Bathurst 1000 competitor, looked at the decline of Group A touring cars in Australia and saw an opportunity to run a 12-hour endurance race for Series Production cars at Mount Panorama. Tesoriero secured long time Bathurst 1000 sponsor James Hardie as a sponsor for the event in late 1990, leaving limited time to launch and organise the event for the Easter weekend in 1991. The race regulations were based on the Group 3E Series Production Car rules then in use in the Australian Production Car Championship for naturally aspirated four- and six-cylinder passenger sedans, but also allowed turbocharged and V8-engined cars which had been outlawed from the Production Car Championship in 1990. Despite the short deadline, twenty-four cars were entered for the first race, spread over six different classes based on engine capacity and sporting specification.[1] Exotic mid-engined sports cars and GT cars were not eligible to enter.

The race was originally scheduled to run from 9am to 9pm but this was disallowed by Bathurst Regional Council. The race would instead run from 5:15am to 5:15pm, with the final two hours televised by Network Ten. Despite the event's length, the competitors proved extremely reliable, with twenty cars finishing the race. The race was won by Allan Grice, Peter Fitzgerald and Nigel Arkell racing Fitzgerald's 1989 Production Car Championship specification Toyota Supra Turbo.[1]

In 1992, manufacturer-backed teams began to appear with large teams entered and funded by Mazda, Holden, Citroën and Peugeot. Porsche would also provide factory support from 1993 onwards. Honda, Nissan, Maserati, BMW and Lotus were also represented but not by factory-supported teams. The Mazda team would go on to dominate the event with the Mazda RX-7, winning four consecutive races from 1992 to 1995.

Facing rising costs, the 1995 event was moved from Bathurst to Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney, and from the Easter weekend to November, before the race was discontinued in 1996.[2]

Hiatus (1996–2006)[edit]

After no major race for production cars for a number of years, the concept was revived with the short lived Bathurst 24 Hour races in 2002 and 2003. The races were run by Nations Cup owners PROCAR and were dominated by the controversial Holden Monaro 427Cs of Garry Rogers Motorsport. The Monaros were controversial because of their use of the 7.0-litre, V8 engine rather than the 5.7-litre Gen III engines used by the Monaro CV8 road car. The Bathurst 24 Hour only lasted two years before PROCAR owner Ross Palmer was forced to abandon the race due to rising costs.

Revival (2007–10)[edit]

The Bathurst 12 Hour was successfully revived in 2007 as part of the Bathurst Motorsport Festival,[3] with the regulations close to its original concept as a race for production cars.[4] 32 cars were entered for the 2007 race,[5] which was won by Garry Holt, Paul Morris and Craig Baird in a BMW 335i.[6] The number of entries grew over the next three years, peaking at 49 in 2009, while the final race held strictly to production car regulations in 2010 attracted 42 entries.[4] The event itself grew in stature each year, firmly entrenching itself as one of the biggest race meetings at the start of the domestic Australian racing season, along with the Clipsal 500.

International expansion (2011–present)[edit]

In 2011, GT3-specification cars were allowed into the 12 hour race for the first time.[7] Despite this, the number of entries dropped dramatically as many of the production car teams decided not to race. Of the 26 cars that competed in 2011, just eight raced in the production car classes, compared with the 42 that made up the full 2010 field.[4][8] The German-based Joest Racing dominated the 2011 event, with the team's two Audi R8 LMS GT3s finishing first and second, a lap ahead of the third-placed Porsche.[9] 2012 saw another small field of just 25 cars. Audi won the race for the second consecutive year, this time with DTM and FIA GT1 team Phoenix Racing.[10]

The 2013 event ended the two-year run of poor entry numbers, with a record field of over 50 cars.[11] Another first for the event saw the opening round of the 2013 Australian GT Championship incorporated into the first hour of the race. The results of the GT Championship round were based on the positions of the cars that had elected to race for GT Championship points at the end of the first hour of racing. Teams could then either continue on and complete the full race, or withdraw their car after the first hour. Drivers were allowed to cross-enter between cars so that they could race one car in the one-hour GT Championship race and then drive another car that was entered for the full 12 hours.[12] Erebus Motorsport took the first win for an Australian team under the GT regulations with German drivers Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jäger and Alexander Roloff taking their Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG to victory.[13]

Maranello Motorsport took an emotional win in the 2014 event—the team's former driver Allan Simonsen was killed in a crash at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans—with V8 Supercar driver Craig Lowndes holding off a late charge from German driver Maximilian Buhk to take victory.[14] 2014 also saw the introduction of the Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy, named in honour of Simonsen, to be awarded to the fastest car in qualifying.[15] The 2015 race featured a record twenty safety car periods, the last coming just minutes from the end of the race. Katsumasa Chiyo, driving a Nissan GT-R, took the lead with two laps remaining to give Nissan its first major victory at Mount Panorama since the 1992 Bathurst 1000.[16]

In August 2015, the V8 Supercars-owned company Supercars Events purchased control of the Bathurst 12 Hour. This followed a date clash between the 2015 12 Hour and V8 Supercars' 2015 pre-season test day which saw V8 Supercar drivers, such as 2014 12 Hour-winner Lowndes, forced to take part in the test day and be unable to race in the 12 Hour.[17] With an increasing focus on the outright GT3 cars and a dwindling number of production cars in the race, the former organisers of the 12 Hour, Yeehah Events, announced the production car-based Bathurst 6 Hour for 2016, to restore a Bathurst endurance race for the production category. The 6 Hour will be part of the Bathurst Motor Festival.[18]


The BMW 335i which won the race in 2007 and 2010, pictured in 2013.
The Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 which won the 2015 race.
Year Drivers Vehicle Entrant Laps Distance
1991 Australia Nigel Arkell
Australia Peter Fitzgerald
Australia Allan Grice
Toyota Supra Turbo 242 1503.55 km
1992 Australia Mark Gibbs
Australia Charlie O'Brien
Australia Garry Waldon
Mazda RX-7 Australia Mazda Australia 254 1578.10 km
1993 Australia Alan Jones
Australia Garry Waldon
Mazda RX-7 Australia Mazda Australia 263 1634.02 km
1994 Australia Neil Crompton
Australia Gregg Hansford
Mazda RX-7 Australia Mazda Motorsport 262 1627.81 km
19951 Australia John Bowe
Australia Dick Johnson
Mazda RX-7 Australia Mazda Motorsport 409 1607.37 km

not held;
see Bathurst 24 Hour (2002–2003)
2007 New Zealand Craig Baird
Australia Garry Holt
Australia Paul Morris
BMW 335i Australia Eastern Creek Karts P/L 257 1596.74 km
2008 Australia Graham Alexander
Australia Rod Salmon
Australia Damien White
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX Australia 253 1571.89 km
2009 Australia Tony Longhurst
Australia Rod Salmon
Australia Damien White
Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X Australia Team Mitsubishi Ralliart Australia 239 1484.91 km
2010 Australia John Bowe
Australia Garry Holt
Australia Paul Morris
BMW 335i Australia Eastern Creek International Karting 2022 1255.03 km
2011 Germany Marc Basseng
Germany Christopher Mies
Hong Kong Darryl O'Young
Audi R8 GT3 LMS Germany Joest Racing 292 1814.20 km
2012 Germany Christer Jöns
Germany Christopher Mies
Hong Kong Darryl O'Young
Audi R8 GT3 LMS Germany Phoenix Racing 270 1677.51 km
2013 Germany Thomas Jäger
Germany Alexander Roloff
Germany Bernd Schneider
Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 Australia Erebus Motorsport 268 1665.08 km
2014 Australia John Bowe
Australia Peter Edwards
Australia Craig Lowndes
Finland Mika Salo
Ferrari 458 GT3 Australia Maranello Motorsport 296 1839.05 km
2015 Japan Katsumasa Chiyo
Belgium Wolfgang Reip
Germany Florian Strauss
Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 Japan NISMO Athlete Global Team 269 1671.30 km

^1 – The 1995 race was staged at Eastern Creek Raceway as the 1995 Eastern Creek 12 Hour.
^2 – The 2010 race was red flagged for an hour after a tree fell across the track and had to be removed.[19]

Multiple winners[edit]

By driver[edit]

Wins Driver Years
3 Australia John Bowe 1995, 2010, 2014
2 Australia Garry Waldon 1992, 1993
Australia Rod Salmon 2008, 2009
Australia Damien White 2008, 2009
Australia Garry Holt 2007, 2010
Australia Paul Morris 2007, 2010
Germany Christopher Mies 2011, 2012
Hong Kong Darryl O'Young 2011, 2012

By manufacturer[edit]

Wins Manufacturer Years
4 Japan Mazda 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
2 Japan Mitsubishi 2008, 2009
Germany BMW 2007, 2010
Germany Audi 2011, 2012

Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy[edit]

In 2014, a trophy was introduced for pole position, named after Allan Simonsen who died at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. Simonsen, who had raced several times in Australia as part of a long and varied career, held the Bathurst 12 Hour race lap record at the time as well as driving the fastest officially timed lap around Mount Panorama in a closed-wheel car.[15] The introduction of the trophy coincided with the relaxing of qualifying restrictions from previous years, with the removal of the minimum allowed lap time (two minutes and six seconds), therefore allowing a major improvement in qualifying times.[15] In 2014, Simonsen's former team at the 12 Hour, Maranello Motorsport, narrowly missed pole to Maro Engel by less than a tenth of a second.[20] Maranello went on to win the race itself. In 2015, Laurens Vanthoor set the fastest ever officially recorded time of Mount Panorama in qualifying.[21]

Year Driver Vehicle Entrant Lap Time
2014 Germany Maro Engel Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 Australia Erebus Motorsport 2:03.8586
2015 Belgium Laurens Vanthoor Audi R8 LMS Ultra Germany Phoenix Racing 2:02.5521

Television coverage[edit]

The entire 2015 race was broadcast live on the Seven Network and 7mate and was also streamed worldwide on the Bathurst 12 Hour website.[22] Commentary was provided by the team from Radio Le Mans. The race has previously been broadcast on Speed and SBS,[23] and as a highlights package on SBS.[24] The race was broadcast by Network Ten in the 1990s.[1]

The estimated viewing audience for the 2014 race was over half a million people from 150 countries.[23]

Event sponsors[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c McNally, Connor; Normoyle, Steve. "Easter Racing at Mount Panorama". Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  2. ^ Barnett, Josh (21 February 2012). "From Lowndes's Audi R8 to Brock's Peugeot, SPEED's ultimate guide to the Armor All Bathurst 12 hour". Fox Sports Australia. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  3. ^ "Alfa Romeo Submit the First Entry For 2008 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour". Italia Speed. 25 October 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b c "Armor All withdraws support from Bathurst 12 Hour". SpeedCafe. 3 May 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  5. ^ "WPS Bathurst 12 Hour - Qualifying". National Software. 7 April 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  6. ^ "WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Race". National Software. 8 April 2007. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  7. ^ "Australian GT cars confirmed for 12 Hour". SpeedCafe. 29 March 2010. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  8. ^ "Bathurst 12 Hour entry list released". SpeedCafe. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  9. ^ "Audi takes one-two in Bathurst 12 Hour". SpeedCafe. 6 February 2011. Retrieved 22 February 2012. 
  10. ^ "Team Phoenix picks up from Team Joest and delivers a second-straight Bathurst 12 Hour win for Audi". Fox Sports News. 26 February 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  11. ^ "Touring Car Star Showdown at Bathurst (+ Entry List)". Bathurst 12 Hour. 25 January 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  12. ^ "Aussie GT in 12 Hour Explained + Entry List". Bathurst 12 Hour. 21 December 2012. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  13. ^ "Erebus holds on for dramatic Bathurst 12 Hour victory". SpeedCafe. 10 February 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2013. 
  14. ^ "Ferrari Wins Bathurst 12-Hour Thriller". Bathurst 12 Hour. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  15. ^ a b c "New Format and Allan Simonsen Pole Position Trophy set for 2014 Bathurst Qualifying". Bathurst 12 Hour. 10 December 2013. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  16. ^ "Nismo Nissan GTR Wins the 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour". Bathurst 12 Hour. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  17. ^ Ottley, Stephen (1 August 2015). "V8 Supercars takes over Bathurst 12 Hour". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  18. ^ "Green light for Bathurst Easter 6 Hour race". SpeedCafe. 15 April 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 
  19. ^ "Fallen tree shortens Bathurst race". 14 February 2010. Retrieved 17 February 2015. 
  20. ^ "Erebus Steals Pole from Favourites on the Mountain". Bathurst 12 Hour. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  21. ^ "Vanthoor sets fastest-ever lap at Bathurst to snatch 12 Hours pole". 7 February 2015. Retrieved 3 September 2015. 
  22. ^ "2015 Bathurst 12 Hour: Live on Seven". Bathurst 12 Hour. 17 June 2014. Retrieved 17 June 2014. 
  23. ^ a b "Record Audiences Watch 12-Hour Thriller on the Mountain". Bathurst 12 Hour. 9 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  24. ^ "Free to Air and Online Coverage to Return in 2013". Bathurst 12 Hour. 24 July 2012. Retrieved 23 February 2013. 
  25. ^ "Liqui Moly extends Bathurst 12 Hour backing". SpeedCafe. 8 February 2015. Retrieved 1 September 2015. 

External links[edit]