TALENT FILLED TOYOTA PACK ALL SET FOR WPS 12 HOUR ASSAULT With six Australian Rally and three Australian Production Car Championships within the team, the pair of Colin Osborne Motorsport entries for this weekend's WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom...
TALENT FILLED TOYOTA PACK ALL SET FOR WPS 12 HOUR ASSAULT
With six Australian Rally and three Australian Production Car Championships within the team, the pair of Colin Osborne Motorsport entries for this weekend's WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro are considered to be two of the highest credentialed mounts.
The winners of the past three successive Australian Rally Championships - Neal Bates and Simon Evans - will join long-time Production car competitor and reigning National Champion, Colin Osborne, along with John Roeken, Stuart Jones and Trevor Keene in the six driver line-up aboard a pair of Toyota Celicas for the once around the clock encounter.
"As a team we've enjoyed a lot of success in Production Car racing - six class championships, two class wins in the last two 12 hour races and a win in the Production Car class at the 2003 12 hour. Then when you add in two drivers of the caliber of Neal and Simon along with the talent and experience of John, Stuart and Trevor, on paper it all looks promising," said Osborne.
"I'm very proud to have compiled such a talented pool of drivers but the thing now is to ensure that we run two cars that are capable of battling it out for the class victory."
Osborne, who has competed in the famous Nurburgring 24 hour race on four occasions in a Toyota Corolla -- including last year with Evans and Jones - believes that this year's WPS Bathurst 12 Hour race boasts the best line up for a Production Car race since the early nineties.
"This year's race has got some great teams and a strong line up of drivers and it is very pleasing to see, not only for this particular race but also for the future of Production Car racing in Australia.
"It's great to see so many of Australia's modern day top flight drivers putting their hand up to compete in this year's Event, not since the early nineties have we seen such a high caliber of drivers in a Production Car race - it's great to see some of the high profile competitors of the modern era competing in this weekend's race."
While confident of a good showing this weekend Osborne is aware of the ever-increasing level of competition throughout the classes in the 12 Hour race.
"While we will be aiming for our third consectutive 12 Hour Class win we are under no illusions of the level of competition within our class. It has really seemed to step up a level this year," said Osborne.
"Our cars are two of the oldest cars in the class so we will have to put our best foot forward and probably have a bit of luck on our side if we are going to win."
Bates and Evans finalised their preparations for the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour in the best possible way over the weekend, placing 1-2 in Rally Tasmania, in what was the last ARC Event with an official Toyota Factory entry.
Bates has secured 32 outright ARC wins in a career spanning more than 20 years and has also made 14 appearances in the World Rally Championship and finished third in the 1997 International Race of Champions. Since winning his first ARC title in 1993, Bates has also recorded outright victory in Targa Tasmania and claimed six Bathurst 12-hour class wins (including 2007 and 2008 under the revived format).
The 2009 WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro will be held at Mount Panorama on February 20-22 with an excess of 140 drivers across 48 entries set to take to the track. In addition to the 12 Hour race the Event will also incorporate the opening round of the 2009 Shannon's Nationals which will feature 263 entries across the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge, Saloon Cars, Formula Vee, HQ Holden's and Improved Production
As has been the case in previous years of the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro, live timing will be available across the weekend by logging on to www.bathurst12hour.com.au and clicking on the live timing tab.
The 2008 WPS 12 Hour Showroom Enduro was won by the Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Damien White, Graham Alexander and Rod Salmon.