We are living in a golden age of GT sports car racing. People may scoff at that sentence, saying that the IMSA GTO/GTU era was better, or perhaps the sixties with Ford vs. Ferrari, then Porsche vs. Ferrari at Le Mans, or some will even state that the golden era was inhabited by the silhouettes and prototypes of the 1990s. While I will agree that those periods were absolutely epic, with the passage of time, I believe we’ll have the perspective to announce the current crop of FIA GT3 cars as among the best racing that has ever occurred, and 2014 is shaping up to be the worldwide breakout year for it. One only has to look as far back as the 24 hours of Daytona to see some excellent (albeit slightly modified) GT3 racing. There are GT3 cars available for sale from Aston Martin, Bentley, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes AMG, Nissan, Porsche, Ginetta, SRT, and even Callaway (soon). The remainder of the North American Endurance Championship GTD class should shake out pretty well, and when you add in all of the Creventic 24h series races, the Stephane Ratel promoted Blancpain Endurance and Sprint series, plus one-off events like the Nurburgring 24, the Spa 24, and this weekend’s Bathurst 12 hour, we’re living in the best time for GT sports car racing.
Bathurst, for a lot of us, is equated more with the 1000 km event for the Australian V8 Supercars, which is responsible for a lot of the circuit’s legendary status. Since the early 1990s, however, the circuit has played host to a 12 hour event for sports cars, too. Initially, the race was for production sports cars, but as of 2011, the rules were updated to include FIA GT3 and GT4 class competitors as well, and this year, the race is absolutely flush with them. International teams have come from across the globe to converge on the hill in the Australian countryside, including Germany’s Phoenix Racing Audi, and HTP Motorsport Mercedes, AF Corse’s Ferraris out of Italy, and Anglo-Americans in the form of United Autosport’s Audi. NISMO will be bringing a GT-R GT3, and Erebus Motorsport is toting over a pair of Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 to attempt the overall victory. Even Hooniverse favorite Brighty will be showing up to compete in a Audi R8 LMS Ultra #5.
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