235 CARS TO TACKLE THE MOUNTAIN AT ARMOR ALL BATHURST 12 HOUR EVENT
MORE THAN 235 vehicles will compete at the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Event following conformation today of entries in the five support categories set to compete across the weekend.
209 entries have been received across the five categories, a record for the February 4-6 Event that this year will offer one of the most diverse programmes in Australian Motorsport - with almost every racing fan catered for.
HQ Holden's, Formula Vee, Group N Historic Touring Cars, Improved production and the Group C & A Historic Touring Cars will make up an action packed schedule alongside the exciting debut of GT Cars in the Armor All Bathurst 12 hour field.
The return of the Group C & A cars to the Mountain will undoubtedly be a highlight, the 20-car entry featuring everything from Group C Torana's and Commodores to Group A BMWs and Jaguars.
Smaller cars are also included in the mix and will feature one of Bathurst's true legends, 78-year-old Bob Holden.
Holden teamed with Rally ace Rauno Aaltonen in 1966 to win the Gallagher 500 - the forerunner to today's Bathurst 1000 - in a MINI Cooper, and continues his remarkable career to this day by competing in both production car and the Group C & A ranks.
Holden will team with Paul Nelson in an HSV Clubsport R8 in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour (a change from the Falcon originally nominated), but will also race a Ford Escort Mk 2 in the return of the 'big bangers' to the Mountain.
"It'll be great to be back at Bathurst, I can't wait. I love the place and I'm very excited to be racing there once again, especially in the #13 Escort," said Holden.
"There's a lot of history in the field, and I'm sure the racing will be great."
That history theme will continue throughout the weekend thanks to a packed field of Group N Historic Touring Cars, featuring classic metal from an era ranging from the early 1960s right through to the mid '70s.
The field features drivers from seven states and territories, driving vehicles ranging from XU1 Holden Torana's to Ford Mustangs and Capri's, to Alfa Romeo's and even a lone Volvo.
The Formula Vee entry list reads like a who's who of class talent, including reigning national number one Ben Porter, the super fast Daniel Reinhardt in the exciting, locally developed Sabre chassis and a host of young talent all looking to make their mark.
45 cars have nominated for the class that regularly features exciting slipstreaming battles both up and down the Mountain.
The best of the best from the HQ Holden world make up part of the mammoth 55-car nomination, class frontrunners like Kevin Stoopman, Gary Bonwick, John 'Spud' Wood all set to start.
As they have now done for many years, HQ's from all around Australia will travel to race on the famous Mountain circuit this February, Australia's category they 'couldn't kill' seemingly going from strength to strength at both state and national levels.
The biggest grid o f the weekend, however, is left to the staggering 58-car entry list received from the Improved Production Association.
The staggeringly diverse field features everything from the traditional Holden vs. Ford battle, right through to turbocharged four-wheel drive Mitsubishi's, old-school Datsuns, Suzuki Swifts and even several BMW's.
The grid includes last year's Bathurst race winners Leigh Forrest (Toyota Celica) and Ben Schootz (Mazda RX-7) and regular class frontrunners Ray Hislop (BF Falcon), David Skillender (Commodore), plus notable drivers like multiple Saloon Car national champion Bruce Heinrich and Touring Car Masters ace Phil Showers, in a BMW.
"The Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Event is about the overall package as much as the 12 Hour race itself, so we are naturally pleased to have had such an outstanding response throughout all five of the support categories competing," Event Director James O'Brien said.
"A quick glance through the entry lists reveals several strong names in each class, but plenty of others who could step up to challenge for victories. Each class is going to be very competitive and exciting for those at the circuit or watching online."
GT vehicles will join with production cars for the first time in 2011, with entries secured from Audi, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, Holden, Lotus, Mitsubishi, Mosler, Nissan, Porsche and Subaru.
Historic Group N Touring Cars, Group C & A Historic Touring Cars, Improved Production, HQ Holden's and Formula Vee will feature throughout Friday and Saturday's action, ensuring a racing program that caters to nearly every type of Australian Motorsport fan.