AUSTRALIA and the world has tuned in to watch Nissan’s iconic GT-R return to the top of the podium at Mount Panorama during the 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour. As a national Australian TV audience watched the entire race on the Seven Network for the first time, fans from 149 countries watched at least some part of the live streaming coverage provided via the Bathurst 12 Hour website.

Meanwhile the official Event ‘hashtag’ (#B12hr) trended nationally on Twitter in Australia for a majority of the race while also trending at key points in the United Kingdom and the United States as fans discussed the on-track action as it happened.Seven’s marathon coverage stretched from 5:30am to 6:00pm Australian Eastern Daylight time (AEDT) and was split between Seven and 7 mate.

15848787074_743a729a92_z-2Seven’s live coverage of the race dominated on Sunday on Seven and 7mate, the coverage peaking at 730,000 viewers across metropolitan and regional markets with an average metropolitan and regional combined audience of 396,000.

Across the five major metropolitan markets, the Bathurst 12 Hour delivered an average audience of 238,000 viewers on Seven and a peak audience of 368,000. 7mate’s coverage delivered an average audience of 98,000 viewers and a peak audience of 229,000 viewers across the five major metropolitan markets.

Event organisers announced a record three-day attendance of 32,297 people, up 6,166 (more than 20%) on 2014 and more than 40% higher than the 2013 figure. More than 12,000 people were at the circuit on Sunday to watch the race unfold. More than 1,800 camping sites were filled with the paddock campground sold out for the first time in the history of the Event. Alternate sites, including the Max Cameron campground behind turn one, were opened to cater for demand.

More than 400 volunteer officials signed on to work at the Event, a record number and nearly double the number received for the initial Bathurst 12 Hour race run in 2007. The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour continues to grow its online presence with a record level of social media and online interaction boosting the race this year.

15848786874_1472fa5a53_z-2Unique website visits were up more than 40% on 2014 with more than one million pages viewed across the race weekend – half of them on race day alone. Demonstrating the growing international audience following the race, 53% of all web traffic came from overseas. More than 100,000 unique viewers watched some part of the free live streaming coverage of the race provided on the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour website, a strong number given the availability of live, free-to-air television in Australia throughout the race.

During the 12-hours of the race itself the #B12hr hashtag directly reached 2.7 million twitter accounts. More than 23,000 tweets utilising the hashtag were lodged during the race from 4,400 unique authors. Meanwhile, more than half a million people were reached via the Bathurst 12-Hour Facebook page across the three days the cars were on track.

On track, 50 cars started the 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour following three withdrawals prior to the start of the race.

Defending champions Maranello Motorsport (Ferrari) and Wall Racing (Porsche) each withdrew a vehicle from the field after substantial impacts at the top of Mount Panorama on Friday, while New Zealand outfit GT3 Endurance were forced to withdraw one of their two Porsche GT3 Cup entries after several members of their driving squad were unfortunately hospitalised following a road traffic accident on Thursday.

34 of the 50 starters were classified as finishers following a bruising race that saw 20 separate appearances from the Mercedes Benz Safety Car. Belgian Audi star Laurens Vanthoor set two separate records in his quest for Bathurst victory; the first being the quickest lap ever officially recorded at Mount Panorama: the 2m02.5521s that secured him the Allan Simonsen Pole Position trophy and a new marker for others to target.

His 2m03.3091s marker set on lap 29 of the race also stands as the new GT lap record at the circuit, toppling Shane van Gisbergen’s 2014 marker set in a McLaren by 0.54 seconds and showing both the rapid evolution of GT3 machinery and the remarkable talent within this year’s field.

Five different brands finished inside the top five and on the lead lap ultimately crossing the line separated by less than four seconds following the two-lap dash to the line. Vehicles representing seven different manufacturers filled the top seven places at the end of the race.

The top four spots were filled by cars powered by four different engines, the winning Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 sporting a turbocharged V6, the second-placed Audi R8 LMS Ultra a mid-mounted V10, the third-placed Craft Bamboo Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 a soaring V12 with the Bentley Continental GT3 that just missed out on a podium utilising V8 power.

The 2016 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will again be held in early February with a final date to be confirmed soon.

The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour 2015 was proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.

Ben Potter

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