When Queensland-based MARC Cars Australia lines up for the 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour on Sunday, it will be with the largest team operation at the Mount Panorama circuit this weekend (February 3-5).
The largest field of cars and drivers since the MARC Cars concept was born four years ago, 23 drivers will form not just an impressive driving squad across seven entries and two classes, but will be one of the largest ever to tackle the iconic endurance race and the first event on the 2017 Australian motorsport calendar.
With the driver line-up boasting four 2016 national championship-winning drivers, an Australian touring car champion, Bathurst 1000 winner and a twice-Bathurst 12 Hour champion among the team, team owner Ryan McLeod says he’s proud of the mammoth effort which everyone has made to ensure the team’s expansion is a success.
“It’s definitely a logistical effort but we have fantastic crew who’ve been with us over the years, so everyone’s experienced in the MARC system to keep it a well-oiled machine, “ said McLeod.
“Our biggest lineup here at Bathurst was five cars last year, but every time you add a car it’s just like adding another Lego block, really. We break it down into three two-car teams plus the GT3 outfit as a standalone garage, and then the MARC engineering team oversees all of it as the backbone of the operation.”
The team’s star driver lineup is being lead by Australian Formula Ford Champion Leanne Tander, Australian Formula 4 and Toyota 86 Series Champion Will Brown, Australian Production Car Champion Beric Lynton, Australian GT Trophy MARC Cars class winner Jake Camilleri, 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner Chaz Mostert, two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winner Rod Salmon plus the late addition of 1993 Australian Touring Car Champion Glenn Seton.
Seton, who will both engineer the #92 Castrol-backed MARC Focus V8 as well as be reserve driver alongside son Aaron, Hadrian Morrall and car owner Mick Benton, says he’s super impressed with how the operation has come together.
“It’s a pretty big task to manage and put this all together,” said Seton. “Not only do you have to manage the cars and drivers but you’ve got to carry all the spares, you have to be organised with tyre management, there’s small things like radios and catering and accommodation and the list just goes on. So it’s very impressive to be a part of a weekend like this.
“But getting them to the point where they’re ready back at the workshop is a big enough task let alone being at the race weekend where you have to keep them all going around, and then managing all of the drivers to stay on the black stuff. But the good thing with these MARC cars is that they’re such a well-built and reliable car, and having them all virtually the same makes the job a bit easier.”
A total of 84 team members have made the trek to Mount Panorama for MARC Cars Australia, including multiple Bathurst 12 Hour winning team manager Alan Heaphy who will oversees Car #54, plus ex V8 Supercars title-winning engineer Paul Forgie for Car #90.
With each MARC Cars entry at the Bathurst 12 Hour given 18 new Pirelli tyres for Class and 48 for Class A GT3 Am, 156 tyres and rims will need to be fitted across the weekend – not including wet tyres – while 9500 litres of fuel will keep the team running on track.
Five transporters have brought not only the seven entered racecars running in both the GT3 Am and Invitational classes, but also five spare engines, numerous gearboxes, and enough spare parts to repair all six MARC Cars in Class I should they need it during the race.
The 2017 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour continues tomorrow with the final practice session and qualifying in the morning, before the official race start on Sunday February 5 at 5.45am.
- One BMW M6 GT3 in Class A (GT3 Am)
- Six MARC Cars in Class I (Invitational)
- 84 team members
- 23 drivers
- 5 trucks
- 5 spare engines
- 108 new slick Pirelli tyres for Class I entries and 48 for Class A GT3 Am
- 1500 Litres of fuel per car (including 900 just for the race) = 9500 Litres total
- $2.1m worth of cars
- 200 new team shirts and 150 new team hats
- Glenn and Aaron Seton (Car #92) form one of only two father-son combinations at this this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour (the other being the Miedecke family)
- Leanne Tander (Car #94) is the only female driver in this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, while also being the only driver with a spouse (Garth Tander) on the starting grid
Drivers: Chaz Mostert, Morgan Haber and Max Twigg
Car: BMW M6 GT3
Engineer: Paul Forgie
Drivers: Keith Kassulke, Will Brown and Rod Salmon
Car: MARC Focus V8 “Amaroo”
Engineer: Tim Newton
Drivers: Mick Benton, Hadrian Morrall, Aaron Seton and Glenn Seton
Car: MARC Focus V8 “Estoril”
Engineer: Glenn Seton
Drivers: Jake Camilleri, Jack Smith and Rob Thomson
Car: MARC Mazda 3 “Goodwood”
Engineer: Mark Robertson
Drivers: Leanne Tander, Nick Rowe, Gerard McLeod and Tim Leahey
Car: MARC Mazda 3 “Hockenheim”
Engineer: Jordan Yeomans
Drivers: Geoff Taunton, Jason Busk and Bryce Fullwood
Car: MARC Focus V8 “Catalunya”
Engineer: Allan Peters
Drivers: Tony Alford, Beric Lynton and Jeffrey Smith
Car: MARC Focus V8 “Daytona”
Engineer: Alan Heaphy