Bathurst, 3 February 2017 - Just one week after the 24 Hours of Daytona, official Ferrari driver Toni Vilander is in Bathurst, Australia, to compete in one of the most prestigious 12 Hours of the season. Indeed there will be a Ferrari present on Sunday at the Mount Panorama circuit.
The 488 GT3 of Mark Coffey's Maranello Motorsport will be there. In 2014 this team gave the Prancing Horse its first and only victory in the Australian classic founded in 1991. The team based in Richmond, Virginia, triumphed three years ago with a 458 Italia driven by former Formula 1 driver Mika Salo with Australians John Bowe, Peter Edwards and Craig Lowndes.
This is Toni Vilander's debut in the Bathurst 12 Hour. The Finn will team up with two greats of Australian motorsport both from Melbourne. One is Craig Lowndes, 42, a winner with Ferrari in 2014, whose first victory was 1994 when he was the new Australian Formula Ford champion. He has also won one V8 Supercars and two Australian Touring Car Championships. Jamie Whincup will complete the trio making his debut at Bathurst and with Ferrari. The 33 year old has six wins to his name in the V8 Supercars championship and the 2002 Australian Formula Ford.
The 6.2-kilometre long Mount Panorama track, considered one of the most difficult in the world, has been dubbed "Blue Hell", just like the "Green Hell" of the old Nürburgring. Ferrari won the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2014, but has two other victories to its credit on this circuit. The first was in 1968 with Australia's Bill Brown at the wheel of a 350 P4 of Scuderia Veloce. The most recent was in 2015 in the Prodsport championship with the 458 Italia of DeFelice Homes crewed by Tony DeFelice and the Dane Benny Simonsen.
The Bathurst 12 Hour will begin with free practices on Friday, which will be followed by qualifying on Saturday. The race will start at 5:45 am on Sunday morning, Australian time (7:45 pm CET on Saturday) and will end at the stroke of the twelfth hour. It will be livestreamed at www.Bathurst12Hours.com.au