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Red Sea conflict forces team out of Bathurst 12 Hour

ONGOING disruptions in the Red Sea have had a ripple effect on the upcoming Repco Bathurst 12 Hour, forcing British team Garage 59 out of the event.

Global sea freight has been heavily affected by attacks by Yemen rebel group Houthi on cargo ships in the busy strait (which have come in response to Israel’s war on Gaza).

Garage 59 had been set to enter a pair of McLaren 720S GT3 Evos in next month’s 12 Hour but have publicly confirmed its withdrawal due to the Red Sea situation.

Co-owned by Andrew Kirkaldy, Alexander West and Chris Goodwin, the team – which fielded two Aston Martins in the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour – had been set to run two McLarens: one in the Pro class and one in Pro-Am.

“We had planned to be there (at Bathurst) this year,” Garage 59 wrote on social media.

“However the problems in the Red Sea meant that we had to turn around our cars in Singapore. Too high a risk of not making it back for the main European season. We will try again in ‘25.”

Bathurst 12 Hour event director Shane Rudzis lamented the news.

“It’s an unfortunate situation that’s outside of our control,” Rudzis told V8 Sleuth.

“Garage 59 were quite an early entrant for the 2024 race and had cars and equipment on the water, but long-haul sea freight requires a significant lead time and the very unfortunate situation in the Red Sea broke out well after they had sent equipment.

“The team’s concern, quite rightly, was that while their equipment and cars would have arrived in Australia, there was a high risk that it would have been significantly delayed returning to Europe which would have seriously impacted the start of their European season.

A Garage 59 Aston Martin at the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour. Pic: an1images.com / Dirk Klynsmith

“So that’s why they turned their container around in Singapore now.

“The other teams coming from Europe are in a position to have multiple sets of equipment or other resources, so it is not as risky for them to have resources stranded or delayed with these shipping issues that are having such a significant global impact.

“Garage 59 have to look after their own business first and we completely understand and support that.

“We’ve been in communication with Andy and the team and they are absolutely planning to return, so we’ll see them back in ‘25 which is hugely exciting.”

The 2024 Repco Bathurst 12 Hour will be held across February 16-18.

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