19 December 2017

2017 Bathurst 12 Hour-winner Jamie Whincup switches to Mercedes-AMG for 2018

2017 Bathurst 12 Hour-winner Jamie Whincup switches to Mercedes-AMG for 2018

Recently crowned seven-time Supercars champion Jamie Whincup has confirmed he will return to defend his Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour victory – though he will drive for a different brand in 2018.

In 2017 Jamie Whincup shared the Bathurst 12 Hour-winning Maranello Motorsport Ferrari with Craig Lowndes and Toni Vilander. For the 2018 edition of the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge Whincup confirmed in an interview that he will partner expat Aussie Kenny Habul and Blancpain GT Series race winner Tristan Vautier in a Scott Taylor Motorsport-run Mercedes-AMG GT3 next February. STMs second car will likely run under Habul’s SunEnergy1 entry that the former Australian F3 racer uses in his US-based GT3 racing. Vautier was Habul’s regular co-driver throughout the 2017 season.

“I do have a deal, Scotty Taylor Motorsport is running a car for Kenny Habul. He does a lot of GT racing around the world and we’re going to run an AMG”, Whincup confirmed to Speedcafe.com. “The second-quickest car in the 2017 Bathurst 12-Hour was a Mercedes-AMG, so I’m jumping into that for the weekend.”

Habul raced in Australian Formula 3 in the early 2000s before moving to the United States, where he established large-scale Solar provider SunEnergy1. Originally from Queensland, Habul has raced in several tiers of NASCAR competition as well as the Pirelli World Challenge.

Vautier has built a strong record in GT racing following three years of competition in the Verizon IndyCar series. He’s raced in the Blancpain GT Series – driving one of the AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 – since 2015 and in 2017 he took the final endurance round in Barcelona.

The addition of the second STM car gives the Queensland-based team a strong two-car attack on next February’s race, having earlier confirmed Max Twigg, Tony D’Alberto and Craig Baird would drive the team’s other entry.

“We are ecstatic to have Jamie Whincup in the car, he won this year and he cemented the championship in Supercars, so you can’t get anyone more capable than him,” Team Owner Scott Taylor said. “There is some pretty strong competition out there but the key to the 12 Hour is being there for the first 11 hours, and then you are in a position to challenge.”

Six Mercedes-AMG GT3s are entered in the February 2-4 event.