Bathurst 12 Hour a GT spectacle this weekend

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Its flagship race is held in October, but for Mount Panorama, February is also a big month with the annual Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour this weekend.

The endurance race is held on the same course as the Australian V8 Supercars race in the iconic Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000. The 12-hour race features a heavy mix of GT3 contenders from manufacturers such as Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Nissan, McLaren, Lamborghini, Ferrari and Porsche to name but a few.

Erebus Motorsport won the race overall in 2013, with the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 driven by Bernd Schneider, Thomas Jaeger and Alexander Roloff. Schneider and Erebus are back to defend the title in 2014, with co-drivers Maro Engel and Nicolas Bastian.

V8 drivers competing include Craig Lowndes, Will Davison, Jason Bright, Warren Luff, Rick Kelly, Craig Baird, Steve Richards, Dean Canto, Tony D’Alberto and Karl Reindler. Audi aces Rene Rast and Markus Winkelhock make the trek to Australia after competing in the Rolex 24 at Daytona two weekends ago.

Others of note include Oliver Gavin and Americans Patrick Long and Kevin Gleason.

The full entry list can be found here, via the series official website. Coverage from the circuit can be found on the Sportscar365 site, with full live radio coverage from Radio Le Mans.

IndyCar 2017 driver review: Ed Carpenter

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MotorSportsTalk continues its annual review of the Verizon IndyCar Series drivers that raced in 2017. The 2017 season behind the wheel was better for Ed Carpenter than either of the last two years, but still wasn’t ideal results-wise in his six oval starts.

Ed Carpenter, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Chevrolet

  • 2016: 25th Place (5 Starts), Best Finish 18th, Best Start 5th, 0 Top-5, 0 Top-10, 1 Lap Led, 11.2 Avg. Start, 21.8 Avg. Finish
  • 2017: 22nd Place (6 Starts), Best Finish 7th, Best Start 2nd, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10, 5 Laps Led, 11.3 Avg. Start, 12.3 Avg. Finish

Ed Carpenter’s 2017 season was largely one of frustration, both behind the wheel and as a team owner.

While a respectable turnaround in results occurred – Carpenter finished between seventh and 12th in five of his six oval races after a nightmare season of ending 18th or worse in each of his 2016 starts – this is still not what he sets out to strive for in the races he does. Lost opportunities loomed larger than any official result he or the Ed Carpenter Racing team achieved.

Carpenter and new teammate JR Hildebrand, in for the departed Josef Newgarden, dominated preseason testing in Phoenix but Hildebrand could only muster third in the race, Carpenter a season-best seventh. Then at Indianapolis, Carpenter (second) and Hildebrand (sixth) flew the flag for Chevrolet in qualifying and practice pace, but they fell to 11th and 16th on race day owing to a front-wing change and late-race penalty for passing before a restart.

Both drivers got collected in incidents at Texas. Hildebrand qualified and finished a season-best second in Iowa but that result came only after the ECR crew rebuilt his car from a crash in practice. Then Carpenter had a practice crash in Pocono and despite a rapid rebuild, they missed the clock to qualify by mere minutes and were unable to do so. Carpenter’s spin on a slick Gateway track at the start of the race sent him over Will Power’s nose assembly in one of the scarier looking incidents of the year, although fortunately he was OK.

In a similar refrain as we often write, it’s not that Carpenter’s lost his ability to drive and he remains one of the series’ savviest and smartest people in the paddock. There have been a lot of extenuating circumstances of late, and it almost felt as though this team had “empty nest” components. Since September, Carpenter has had to secure his team’s future with a move away from its Speedway, Ind. shop, line up Spencer Pigot for a full-time drive replacing Hildebrand in the No. 21 car, find a new road/street course driver in the No. 20 car, and manage both driving and owning himself.