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24 Feb 2018 13:23
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  •   Home > News > Motoring

    Whincup eyes Bathurst 12hr title defence

    Drivers from the around the world are gathering in Bathurst to contest Sunday's 12 Hour race at Mt Panorama.

    Supercars great Jamie Whincup is out to add another crown to his glittering resume with a successful title defence at the Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race.

    Whincup's record seventh Championship title win in Newcastle in November will go down as one of the most-dramatic finishes in Supercars history.

    He returns to the wheel in Sunday's Bathurst 12 Hour ahead of the Supercars season-opening Adelaide 500 from March 1-4.

    "It was a crazy year so I was very lucky to have a month off," Whincup said.

    "I drove the 12 Hour car last week and have had a little bit of Supercars duties as well.

    "It's good to be back racing again. We get the chance to have another go."

    Drivers from around the world join 11 leading Supercars drivers at the Mt Panorama circuit for the 12 Hour.

    The visitors are headed by world endurance champion Earl Bamber of New Zealand plus ex-Formula One drivers Timo Glock, Ivan Capelli, Markus Winklehock, Pedro Lamy and Tomas Enge and two-time German DTM winner Marco Wittmann.

    The home contingent includes Whincup, former Supercars champions Shane van Gisbergen, Craig Lowndes and Garth Tander, plus Scott McLaughlin, Chaz Mostert and reigning Bathurst 1000 champion David Reynolds.

    They are joined by rising stars including international Australian driver Matt Campbell and third-generation racers Aaron Seton and Matt Brabham.

    Mathias Lauda, the son of Formula One great Nikki Lauda, is also in the field, teamed up with Will Davison, Lamy and Paul Dalla in an Audi R8 pro-am outfit.

    "The 1000 is very unique and the 12 Hour is growing. To do it all around a track like Bathurst, one of the top-five tracks in the world, is a lot of fun," Whincup said.

    "All the Supercar guys know the track very well but not many of us know the (12 Hour) cars very well.

    "Aside from Chaz and SVG (Van Gisbergen), the rest of us are all fairly raw.

    "It's an interesting concept and it's a good challenge. And left-hand drive is always a trip out."

    Whincup and New Zealander Van Gisbergen staged an epic fight in the closing laps of last year's 12 Hour before the Kiwi crashed out.

    "That was unbelievable," recalled Whincup. "To race for 11-and-a-half hours and for it to come down to me and SVG was pretty cool.

    "To get to the end of that long day is very difficult but to get to the top step was very rewarding."

    The Bathurst 12 Hour starts at 5:45am on Sunday after practice sessions on Friday and Saturday; plus qualifying and a top-10 shootout on Saturday afternoon.


    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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