Entries have now officially opened for the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour, with reigning champions Maranello Motorsport among the crews to have confirmed plans to tackle Mount Panorama next February.
Maranello Motorsport won its second 12 Hour earlier this year thanks to Jamie Whincup, Craig Lowndes, and Toni Vilander, Whincup staving off a late challenge from Supercars teammate Shane van Gisbergen in the STM Mercedes.
The team is now looking to go back-to-back, confirming that it plans to enter its Ferrari 488 at next year’s race.
“We have supported the Bathurst 12 Hour every year since it became a GT race and we’re already working on our plans to come back next year,” said team owner Mark Coffey.
“Things didn’t go to plan when we tried to defend our 2014 win so we want to come back next year and see if we can go back-to-back, which has only been achieved once before in the GT era.
“The Bathurst 12 hour has become a ‘must win’ race on the GT schedule and we’re proud to represent Ferrari every year. It is our intention to do so again in 2018.”
The GT3 class will again be split into Pro, Pro-Am, and Am divisions, with 2017 Am winner Liam Talbot also putting his hand up for a return after finishing fourth outright this year in his Walkinshaw Porsche alongside John Martin and Duvashen Padayachee.
“Looking back at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, we had a perfect race,” he said.
“Our team made perfect pitstops and strategy and we showed what was possible with a win.
“I’m hopeful of a return next year and challenging more for an outright podium – after coming so close with fourth and the Am class win.”
There is also set to be an influx of GT4 cars, with the factory-backed BMW Team SRM open to fielding an GT4-spec M4 alongside its M6 GT3.
“It’s certainly our intention to enter the BMW M6 GT3 and, under the right circumstances, the brand-new BMW M4 GT4 in the 2017 race,” said team boss and driver Steve Richards.
“The BMW M4 GT4 made its racing debut at the Dubai 24 Hour race earlier this year and there are plans for a full customer racing programme in 2018.
“With the growth of GT4 around the world we’re working with BMW to make sure the car is in Australia, and racing it at Bathurst would be the ideal place to showcase the car, so that’s what we are working towards.”