DOUBLE UP FOR LOTUS IN WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR
For the first time in the revived endurance event's history, a Lotus will hit Mount Panorama for the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour.
In fact, not one but two of the esteemed marque are listed for entry, with Victoria's Mark O'Connor and Queensland's Robert Thomson entering a Lotus Exige each for the race around the clock.
Mark O'Connor, Andrew Fisher and Richard Buttrose will pilot the official Lotus Cars Australia entry, also supported by Kumho Tyres.
All former competitors in the Lotus Trophy series, the friendly foes have now combined to form a formidable team for their WPS Bathurst 12 Hour assault, with each holding a considerable amount of motoring experience to their name.
"We are very excited to be representing such a legendary brand at such a legendary race track," enthused car-owner O'Connor.
"Richard, Andrew and I have all competed against each other in the Lotus Trophy as well as in Australian Performance Cars, and with Richard setting the fastest lap of the 2005 Lotus series Bathurst race and Andrew taking the V8 Ute Rookie of the Year Award last year, I think we will make a pretty good combination aboard the Lotus.
"The thing about the Lotus is that whilst it gives a lot away in speed on the straights, it has a lot across the top of the Mountain and has a high fuel efficiency, so we believe the longer endurance format will really play into our hands.
"In the Performance Cars at Bathurst the Lotus was blown away by the higher performance cars, however with the longer distance we think we can get some of our own back with our use of tyres, brakes and fuel lending us an edge.
"Having said that though -- the distance will be an interesting factor with limited enduro experience between us - the longest race I have done before now was one hour and I thought that was long!"
O'Connor's Lotus Cars Australia entry will be joined on the grid by Thomson's Queensland House and Land.com/Grove Fruit Juice/One of a Kind Media Group/Bennet Carroll Solicitors Exige, race prepared by Mick Todd and Lee Knappet for the hands of performance car racer Thomson, V8 Ute's Greg Willis, Performance Car racer Tim Poulton and motoring identity Guy Gibbons.
"We are really excited to get out there on the Mount Panorama circuit and just demonstrate the attributes of these great cars that are as close to a race car for the road that you will get," said Thomson.
"We think the car will be strong, although it won't be the fastest car on the track it will be competitive due to its fuel consumption compared to the heavier and faster cars, and so we expect to be required to complete less fuel stops.
"Hopefully, we can run a good, reliable and consistent race, keeping the car in good condition with consistent times that will not hurt it, and just try and keep out of trouble which with 12 hours around a circuit such as Mount Panorama can be easier said than done!"
The 2008 WPS Bathurst Motor Festival will be held at Mount Panorama on February 8-10, incorporating the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour on Sunday February 10.
Tickets can be purchased from Ticketek on 13 28 49 with discounted pricing available to patrons who purchase prior to the event. All patrons receive free entry to the Bathurst National Motor Racing Museum with each ticket, and children under 12 are free when they enter with a paying adult.
Access to the top of Mount Panorama will be open throughout the three day Event, with patrons able to catch a shuttle or drive their own car to the Mountain top for a unique viewing point of the track, with the Big Screen ensuring they miss none of the action.