Rick Kelly will make a return to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour next tear to lead a star-studded line-up in a Castrol-backed Aston Martin GT3.
The 2006 Supercars champion will form a super line-up alongside DTM star Jake Dennis and five-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon in the R Motorsport entry.
Dennis returns with R Motorsport after leading a competitive campaign for the team at the 20119 Bathurst 12Hour, with the Briton finishing second on debut.
Kelly last competed in the once-round-the-clock race in 2016 and finished second in a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, while Kiwi ace Dixon will make his Bathurst 12 Hour debut.
It’s a formidable line-up, and Kelly was excited to join two of world motorsport’s leading lights at Mount Panorama, a scene of two Bathurst 1000 triumphs for the 36-year-old in 2003 and 2004.
“I couldn’t be more excited to be heading back to the Bathurst 12 Hour and to be joining the R-Motorsport Team in the Aston Martin,” said Kelly.
“Since my last 12 Hour campaign in 2016 I have been keeping a close eye on the event with a keen eye to returning, it’s such a great event with many different challenges to what I’m used to in the Supercar at Bathurst.
“Most drivers would agree that visiting Bathurst just once a year isn’t enough, having the chance to push the Aston across the top of the mountain is something that I’m really looking forward to.
“In places where we are on the brakes in the Supercar, these guys are on the throttle. It’s going to be an awesome challenge.
“I have been working the R Motorsport Team in the background for several months now to piece this project together and they have been a real pleasure to work with, so I’m really looking forward to being a part of their Team at the event.”
Kelly tested the Aston Martin for the first time in Portugal this week alongside Dennis and Dixon, and backed the two drivers to star on the big stage at the January 31-February 2 event, which will be broadcast live and ad-break free on Fox Sports.
“Getting the chance to visit Portugal and test the Aston is a real thrill, especially having the chance to share the car with Scott and Jake, two world class talents that will be a great asset to us as we piece together our attack on the mountain early next year,” said Kelly.
“I had to pinch myself when I saw the Aston for the first time with all three of our names above the door.
“Jake’s efforts last year were nothing short of impressive both in the race and also in qualifying, and I’m stoked to work with Scott again.
“We know him best for his Indy achievements but his efforts in our Supercar at the Gold Coast a few years back were outstanding considering he hadn’t driven that car before, so I’m sure he’ll be on top of the Aston in no time.”
Dennis, who has tested for the Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team, claimed pole for the 2019 race aboard his Aston Martin Vantage V12 GT3 only to be demoted to third following a pit lane speeding penalty.
He then lost out to Aussie Porsche ace Matt Campbell in the latter stages of the race, and is keen to rebound in 2020.
“My memories from last year are mixed,” said Dennis.
“The podium was good but I was super disappointed to loose out on the win with 10 mins to go.
“But if someone said to us at the start of the weekend that we would finish P2 with three rookies I would have taken it any day of the week.
“Having two experienced guys with me in the car is amazing and overwhelming. I can’t wait to start working with them and learn things off them.
“It’s a strong line up and I’m very excited to get things started there.”