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Team NZ Motorsport is pleased to announce its entry for the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour, which will take place this coming weekend (5-7 February) at Mt. Panorama Circuit. The team will enter its Porsche 997 GT3 Cup for Will Bamber, John Curran, Graeme Dowsett and Craig Smith in the Australian endurance race for what promises to be the biggest and most exciting challenge to date.

NZ002Team NZ Motorsport is a Singapore-registered racing team formed in 2013 with the ambition of nurturing promising young drivers to professional standards. The team has high ambitions in motorsport and has been putting in place a robust platform, starting from karting, to promote driver development.

The biggest step came with Team NZ Motorsport’s entry into sportscar racing and during our two very rewarding seasons so far (2014-2015) we have clearly surpassed all initial targets. Sensationally, Will, John and Graeme won the GTC Cup category of the 2014 Sepang 12 Hours on the team’s first ever entry into an endurance race, the trio of drivers putting in a faultless performance that was backed up by superb pitwork from the crew to take the victory.

They followed that win up with another striking performance, bagging the runners up spot in their return to the Sepang 12 Hours for the 2015 edition held late last year; two superb results which reaffirmed the team had made the right decisions for future success.

Now comes a new and even bigger challenge for Team NZ Motorsport, the world famous Bathurst 12 Hour. This event has rapidly grown into one of the key endurance races on the global sportscar calendar and, coupled with the legendary magic of the 6.213 km/23 turn Mt. Panorama Circuit, it represents a truly exciting and ambitious challenge.

The 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour also forms the first round of the inaugural ‘Intercontinental GT Challenge’, a three-round international series that will conclude with the Sepang 12 Hour this coming December, which is provisionally on the Team NZ Motorsport’s schedule again.

NZ003Although it was always a primary target for multiple reasons, the opportunity and discussions to enter Australia’s premier endurance race only began during the Sepang 12 Hours last month, the team having met with SRO, which is closely involved in running both events.

Submitting a late entry required immediate action, as the race was less than two months away. To drive at Bathurst was certainly a big pull for the drivers, Graeme admits to fond memories of sitting on the ‘Mountain’ watching the ‘Bathurst 1000’ while the Bathurst 12 Hour is now widely regarded as one the toughest and sought after ‘GT’ level endurance races in the world.

As usual Will, John and Graeme will share driving duties in the #77 Porsche while Craig Smith will join them for the first time. The quartet are ‘Bathurst Rookies’ but they bring some experience of endurance races certainly, the first three drivers having completed the Sepang 12 Hours together twice; but they have never raced at Mt. Panorama before so it’s going to be a very steep learning curve for everyone.

In fact it can be easily said that all four drivers are locked into a demanding learning curve. Will is the 21-year-old younger brother of 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber, John and Graeme are two amateur racers that have recently graduated to high level sportscar racing while Craig will be making his endurance racing debut, so everyone will be improving as they go and it’s going to be much the same story for all the other team members. Expect laptimes to come down with each session.

The Class B GT3 (Cup) category at the Bathurst 12 Hour looks like it’s going to be tough and highly competitive and the ambition for Team NZ Motorsport is to continue to learn, keep it all safe and quick, stay with the action and focus on getting to the finishline in the best possible position we can attain. We hope by the end of the 12 hours to have taken another step forward in building a competitive and professional team.

Contesting the most prestigious endurance races in the world is exactly where Team NZ Motorsport wants to be and everyone is now looking forward to getting out on track in Bathurst later this week.

Team NZ Motorsport will be supported at the 2016 Bathurst 12 Hour by Completion Products, Asia Pacific Spiral, Nakd Water, Motosure and Impact Speed Park.

The event gets underway this coming Friday (5 Feb) with four official practice sessions. A fifth practice session plus the 60-minute qualifying session are set to take place the following day (Saturday 6 Feb). The lights are scheduled to turn green on the Bathurst 12 Hour at 0545 on Sunday 7 Feb while the checkered flag will be waved at 1745 (both local times).

Qualifying and the full race will be shown on Live Stream at: http://www.bathurst12hour.com.au/stream-int

 

Ben Potter

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