ENTRY LIST ANNOUNCED FOR ARMOR ALL BATHURST 12 HOUR
GT COMPETITORS have clearly embraced the move to allow their vehicles to compete in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race, to be held at Mount Panorama next month.
20 GT cars across three classes will be joined by some of the best Production cars in the land at the February 4-6 Event, following confi rmation of the official entry list today.
Whilst the total grid of 28 cars is down on 2010 , the number of GT cars set to race is above the Event Organiser's expectations and promises a stunning race - with a clear favourite hard to pick.
The GT grid is headed by a team of champions assembled by current Australian GT Champion David Wall.
The V8 Supercar enduro co-driver will be joined in his Porsche GT3 Cup S by former GT champion Greg Crick and David's father, multiple Sports Sedan champion Des.
International GT standout Allan Simonsen will pilot a Ferrari F430 GT3 with Irishman Hector Lester and Luke Searle, with John Bowe in a similar car alongside Peter Edwards and Tim Leahey to be run by Maranello Motorsport.
The firepower-filled class also includes the two Audi Race Experience R8's, several strong Porsche contenders plus Dean Grant's V8-powered Mosler.
Class B is the domain solely of Porsche, including a 997 GT3 Cup car to be driven by Peter Boylan, Geoff Morgan and David Sieders, plus two New Zealand entries from the Motorsport Services team.
Class C is about variety, with BMW, Chevrolet Corvette, Lotus and Nissan all represented. Whilst the Nissan, Lotus and Corvette have battled in GT championship competition for several seasons, the BMW M3 to be driven by Beric Lynton, Matthew Mackelden and MINI challenge driver John Modystach has enduro pedigree and should contend.
The ranks of production cars feature quality entrants, topped by three cars well versed in fighting for class and outright victory in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour.
The High Performance Production Car class battle will be waged between the Alan East Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX of Leigh Burgess, Damien Flack and former Gold Star champion Neil McFadyen and a Subaru WRX STI to be steered by Rally ace Dean Herridge, John O'Dowd and Angus Kennard.
Keen to topple the four-wheel drive cars will be the defending champion BMW 335i Turbo, who will look to take its third chequered flag despite having a new driver line-up this year. That car will be driven by Peter O'Donnell, Matt Hansen and Christian D'Agostin.
The Production - Performance battle features three of the reliable BMW 130i models, plus Ryan McLeod's giant-killing Holden Astra VXR turbo and some Aussie muscle in the form of Paul Nelson and 1966 Bathurst winner Bob Holden - who teamed up to drive a tiny little Toyota Yaris last year - in a Ford XR8 Falcon.
In total the entry list features 12 marques, 17 different models and five international entries, plus a host of driving talent from Australia and around the world.
"The number of GT cars entered has exceeded my expectations," Event Director James O'Brien said.
"There is great variety and depth amongst this grid - it looks to me like there will be plenty of cars fighting for the win and that's what we want to see.
"We are especially looking forward to welcoming the five cars from overseas. We are very pleased to have international interest in the Event and I'm sure this will grow in the future.
"Clearly the number of production car entries is disappointing, reflecting a combination of factors such as the general economy, increased competition from other production car endurance races, ineligibility of some vehicles and the fact some did not want to compete alongside GT cars.
"However we are really looking forward to seeing the mix of GT and Production vehicles going head to head in what should be an exciting and competitive Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour across the board."
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.