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.

Dodge to celebrate 50th anniversary of Hemi motor at NHRA U.S. Nationals

Photo courtesy Fiat Chrysler Automobiles
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When this year’s NHRA U.S. Nationals plays out from August 29 through September 3 at Indianapolis Raceway Park, a lot of folks are going to be channeling one of the most famous lines in motorsports:

“Hey, that thing got a Hemi?”

Dodge and parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles on Thursday – on National Hemi Day, no less – announced that it will celebrate the Hemi’s 50th anniversary of Super Stock cars with the 18th annual Dodge Hemi Challenge during the U.S. Nationals.

Cars that will take part in the Challenge will be 1968 Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda cars – “The most iconic of the Mopar package cars,” touted a Dodge press release – in a head-to-head battle.

The Dart and Barracuda were purpose built for use solely on a drag strip. The 23 entrants in the Challenge will drive their personally owned versions of the ’68 ‘Cuda and Dart.

The winner of the Challenge – which will be held August 30-31 – will take home a $15,000 purse, while cash rewards will be available for all 16 drivers that qualify for final eliminations.

“The Dodge brand is proud to serve as title sponsor of the NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge, an event that spotlights the legacy and power of the 426 HEMI engine,” said Steve Beahm, Head of Passenger Cars, Dodge//SRT, Chrysler and FIAT, FCA North America.

Beahm added, “This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Dodge Dart and Plymouth Barracuda Super Stock cars that debuted back in 1968 and are still competing today, which makes our support of this edition of the HEMI Challenge extra special.”

One special incentive for contestants is the 42.6-pound NHRA Dodge HEMI Challenge trophy, created in the spirit of the 426 (cubic inch) HEMI engine.

Jimmy Daniels has won the Challenge the last two years and goes for a three-peat in this year’s race within a race. His father, Jim Daniels, won the race in 2010.

The Challenge’s all-time winningest driver is Charlie Westcott Jr. of Parma, Michigan, who captured the Challenge in six different years: 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012 and 2014.

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