The #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes-AMG GT3 piloted by Kenny Habul, Jules Gounon and Luca Stolz took the chequered flag to win the 2023 LIQUI MOLY Bathhurst 12 Hour, Gounon bringing the #75 car home ahead of the #912 Manthey EMA Porsche GT3 R piloted by Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet and Thomas Preining. Campbell was at the wheel for the final stint.
The overall podium was completed by the #999 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM Mercedes of Maro Engel, Mikael Grenier and Raffaele Marciello.
In the Pro-Am class, victory went to the #65 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 driven by Chaz Mostert, Fraser Ross and Liam Talbot. Finishing second in class was the #777 The Bend Motorsport Park Audi of Christopher Mies, Ricardo Feller and Yasser Shahin with the #99 Boost Mobile Racing Mercedes completing the top three in the Pro-Am class.
Class honours in the Silver category went to the #10 MYLAND Audi driven by Daniel Gaunt, Dylan O’Keefe and Andrew Fawcett.
The Invitational class was won by the #111Racing/MRA Motorsport MARC 1 Mazda.
The race got underway in its traditional darkness with pole-sitter Maro Engel leading the field away from the grid in the #999 GruppeM Mercedes he shared with Grenier and Marciello.
There was drama after 32 minutes of racing when contact with Christopher Haase in the #74 Audi Sport entry pushed the R8 into the wall. Haase got the car back to the garage but the damage was such that the #74 car was retired.
Steve Grove, at the wheel of the #4 Grove Racing Pro-Am Porsche, suffered major damage to the rear of the 911 GT3R at Skyline, bringing out the safety car after just over two hours of racing.
The #6 Wall Racing Lamborghini also suffered significant damage after contact with the wall at The Cutting.
With three hours and 12 minutes of running, the #888 Supercheap Auto Racing Mercedes held the lead, Van Gisbergen ahead of Matt Campbell in the #912 Manthey EMA Porsche.
With just over eight and a half hours remaining, Aaron Cameron in the #44 Valmont Racing Mercedes had a major accident, bringing out the safety car for the third time. Cameron was leading the Silver class at the time but contact at the Spares Box Dipper pushed the young Australian into the wall, causing significant damage to the rear of the Mercedes.
The Dipper also caught out Scott Taylor in the #222 Mercedes, bringing out the safety car again.
With three hours 16 minutes remaining, the #888 Mercedes, running in 7th, was handed a drive-through penalty for a pitstop procedure, the team bringing a hand tool over the pitbox line during a pitstop.
With 65 minutes to go, Jules Gounon, at the wheel of the #75 Sun Energy 1 Mercedes, emerged from his pit stop to regain the lead ahead of Maro Engel in the #999 car. 20 minutes later contact between the pair saw Gounon off the circuit and Engel moving through to take the lead. Race control reviewed the incident and Engel was served with a drive-through penalty, returning Gounon to race lead and demoting Engel to third behind Matt Campbell in the #912 car.
As the race approached the final lap, Gounon held a 1.243 second advantage over Matt Campbell, Maro Engel holding on to third.
Gounon held on to the lead, despite being pushed hard by Matt Campbell, to take his third Bathurst victory and the second for Sun Energy 1. The top three were covered by just 1.5 seconds at the chequered flag.
The Intercontinental GT Challenge season continues at Kyalami for the Kyalami 9 Hour on February 23 – 25.