LOWNDESY magic - it is the sort of x-factor that any team boss would love to have when it comes to an endurance race at Mount Panorama and it is why Earl Bamber is delighted to pull off a coup in recruiting Craig Lowndes for the Bathurst 12 Hour.
The seven-times Bathurst 1000 victor and two-time Bathurst 12 Hour champion has been lured to join the Earl Bamber Motorsport (EBM) assault at the 12 Hour later this month, Lowndes revealed as part of a star driver line-up.
Lowndes will join factory Porsche drivers Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor behind the wheel of the Porsche 911 GT3 R.
While Lowndes has previously steered a Nissan Pulsar, Audi R8, Ferrari 458 and Mercedes-AMG his eight prior Bathurst 12 Hour campaigns, this year's January 31-February 2 event will mark the first time he has steered a Porsche GT3 car.
Many 12 Hour pundits had expected Lowndes would once more be part of the yet to be announced Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-AMG driver up which will tackle the 2020 12 Hour.
Last year Lowndes joined fellow Supercars stars Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen in placing fourth outright in Triple Eight's maiden Bathurst 12 Hour.
But the chance to drive for EBM, who won the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour with the previous generation 911 GT3 R, lured Lowndes to Bamber's outfit.
"I'm really excited to be joining the Porsche family for the Bathurst 12 Hour, teaming up with factory drivers Earl and Laurens," Lowndes said.
"Earl Bamber Motorsport is the reigning race-winning team, so it's exciting to help them defend their title.
"Earl and I have been team-mates in the past and get on extremely well, so with a Belgian in the mix, it should also be a bit of fun too. It's my first time racing in a Porsche and the new evolution 911 GT3 R looks like a weapon, I can't wait."
While Lowndes' record in the enduro - he not only enjoyed 12 Hour wins for Maranello 2014 and 2017, but placed second outright in 2011 and first in class in his 1994 debut - is strong, both Bamber and Vanthoor are talented drivers as well.
The combination promises to be one of the strongest on the 40-car grid.
New Zealand native Bamber enjoyed great success with Vanthoor in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship (IWSC) in the US last year, winning the GTLM championship sharing a factory 911 RSR.
"As a team we really very excited to go to the event. Obviously last year was amazing to win the race, so to be able to return as defending champions for Porsche will be something special," Bamber said.
"As a driver, it will be awesome to team up with Laurens as we had a lot of success in America last year and follow each other all around the world racing.
"We are both really excited to have a legend in Craig Lowndes join the team and drive our car. He is the most successful Bathurst driver on the grid, so hopefully he can bring us some of that Lowndesy magic during the Bathurst 12 Hour weekend.
"The prospect of taking the new generation 911 GT3 R to Bathurst is also going to be something incredible too."
Vanthoor, who was part of the team which won the inaugural Intercontinental GT Challenge, is also excited about being teamed with Lowndes.
"I'm very excited to drive for Earl's team. As his team-mate I have been following EBM closely the last couple of years and this is a great opportunity to be part of, teaming up with a Bathurst legend such as Craig," he said.
"Winning Bathurst is still a dream of mine and I have come close to date, but hope to succeed this year."
This year's Bathurst 12 Hour begins before sunrise on Sunday, February 2, at 5.45am.