Bathurst 12H: Event news 2010-02-02

Bright/Simonsen/Zukanovic to share 12 Hour Shelby Mustang Team Action Racing have announced V8 Supercar driver, Jason Bright as the third driver in the newly built Shelby Mustang GT 500 to compete in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom...

Bright/Simonsen/Zukanovic to share 12 Hour Shelby Mustang

Team Action Racing have announced V8 Supercar driver, Jason Bright as the third driver in the newly built Shelby Mustang GT 500 to compete in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro, 12 – 14 February at Mount Panorama.

Not only will it be the Mustang's first appearance at the Event but also Bright's who is looking forward to the experience.

"I think the Bathurst 12 hour is a really good production car event and when you've got a car like I've got to drive around there for 12 hours, I think it could be a really great day; I'm looking forward to the challenge.

"Obviously this is a very different mindset to the sprint races I'm more used to; you do have to nurse the car along a lot more. Also I haven't done a race in a production-based car before so there's probably as much for me to learn as anything. We're certainly a bit of a dark horse. I think the car has lots of potential but we'll have minimal track time before we go to the Event so we're going in a little bit blind, however I am looking forward to working with Marcus and Allan."

Bright will add the Shelby Mustang drive and the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour to his long resume of Motorsport history, including; Formula Fords, Formula Holden, Australian Touring Cars, Champ Car and an Aston Martin which he raced in his only other 12 hour appearance in Sebring, where he placed 4th outright and 2nd in the GT class.

The car owned and built by Michael Zukanovic will not only have Bright in the star studded driver line-up but Zukanovic's son Marcus who is also a current Fujitsu driver and V8 Ute Champion. Marcus and Jason will also be joined by the 2009 Asian Le Mans GT2 Champion, Allan Simonsen.

Danish born, Simonsen raced alongside Zukanovic in the 2005 Australian V8 Ute Racing Series and is no stranger to endurance races having contested 12 V8 Supercar enduros over the last 7 years, 3 Le Mans 24 Hour, Dubai 24 Hour, Daytona 24 Hour events and the 2003 Bathurst 24 Hour. Simonsen currently races in the European and Le Mans Series, British GT Championship however this will be his first time at the Bathurst 12 Hour in a Mustang which was shipped from the USA to Zukanovic's workshop last October.

Michael and Marcus have been hard at work on the car ever since and believe with the ability of the Mustang and the driver line-up it will be a sure front runner in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Field. With 373 kilowatts and 648 nm of torque, the supercharged 5.4 litre V8 will be quick over a lap, however unknown over a 12 hour endurance distance.

"Since we received the car we've focused on building a really strong outright package. We're hoping it will deliver the goods. I also wanted a draw-card lineup and we've got that with Allan and Jason. It was really important for me to have guys like that along. They will be super quick and have significant experience with enduro events and the strategy thereof. Personally, as a driver, I need to re-launch myself into the sport and what better way of doing it than benchmarking yourself against top professionals. We believe the Mustang has the potential to put those turbo 4WD cars back in their box and entertain the crowds," said Marcus Zukanovic.

The Ford Mustang brand has had a long and chequered history in Australian motor racing with Norm Beechey, Bob Jane and Ian ‘Pete" Geoghegan dominating the Australian Touring Car Championship in the mid 60's. Geoghegan won four Championships back to back from 1966 to 1969 all Mustang mounted.

Allan Moffat's arrival in 1969 with the famous Coca Cola Trans AM Mustang significantly raised the bar for local improved tourer racing and the Canadian's on track clashes with Bob Jane were legendary.

Moffat and Geoghegan also staged one of the greatest ever duels seen at Mt Panorama during the 1972 Easter Monday Australian Touring Car Championship round. Geoghegan's new Ford Falcon 635 bhp GTHO Improved Touring car and Moffats Mustang swapped the lead at least twice on every lap for almost all 13 laps with Geoghegan narrowly winning after Moffat turned on the windscreen wipers to clear oil from his windscreen. The windscreen was so badly smeered with oil leaking from the cantankerous Falcon's catch tank, Moffat had to undo his seat belts and look out of the driver side window while hitting 270 kph down Conrod Straight. The Mustang/Falcon stoush has gone down in history as "one of the greatest ever" touring car races.

Dick Johnson also kept the Mustang brand at the forefront of Australian Touring Car Racing during the mid eighties with his green Group A "Greens Tuff" Mustang, finishing second to Jim Richards in the 1985 Australian Touring Car Championship.

The name Mustang was suggested by Ford executive stylist John Najjar because he was an aficionado of the P-51 Mustang fighter plane of World War II. Matched with the Mustang "pony" emblem, the "Stang" logo was born and the brand has achieved legendary status.

Since its competition launch in 1964 - winning the Tour De France International Rally with a 1st and 2nd in class, the Ford Mustang is one of the great competition classics of all time and its return to Mt Panorama for the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Enduro will be something special for all Ford fans.

The Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro is in its 4th year, with a grid of 46 cars entered. The race features production cars in a class structure representative of the mass road-going market. BMW, Mitsubishi, Ford, Holden, Nissan and Subaru will compete for outright honors.

Prostate Cancer is the official charity of the Event and the race will be televised in a 3 hour special on the SEVEN Network, through Fox Sports, New Zealand and other International Markets.

-source: bathurst 12h

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Series CAMS
Drivers Jason Bright , Jim Richards , Allan Simonsen , Bob Jane , Marcus Zukanovic , Allan Moffat , Dick Johnson