MALAYSIAN TRIP BRINGS RESULTS FOR ARMOR ALL BATHURST 12 HOUR
BATHURST REGIONAL COUNCILLOR WARREN AUBIN has hailed a promotional trip to Malaysia as a massive step forward in growing the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race next year.
Cr Aubin and Event Director James O'Brien made the trip to the annual Merdeka Millennium Endurance Race (MMER) at Sepang last weekend as a marketing initiative to drive overseas interest in the Bathurst race.
The two events now share similar rules packages following the addition of GT vehicles to the eligibility list for the 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour.
The trip literally paid off as one team signed up to enter the race on the spot, whilst several others expressed serious intent to race and are likely to commit when entries officially open on September 1.
Team Porsche Club Singapore owner Mok Weng Sun was the first to put pen to paper, confirming that he would bring a Porsche 911 GT3 R to Bathurst next year.
At Sepang the PCS outfit had Queensland-based Kiwi Craig Baird sharing the driving duties.
"James and I went to Sepang with the intention of spreading the word about Bathurst and the 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 hour - to say we were blown away by the response we received is an understatement," Cr Aubin said.
"Our goal was to have at least one team confirm that they would attend and the enthusiastic response Mok Weng Sun and his team had to our Event ensured we achieved our goal . That alone ensured that the trip more than covered its costs but the overall benefit will be much more substantial.
"I didn't have one team say to me 'no, we're not coming'. Everyone was very positive and genuinely interested in the opportunity to race at Mount Panorama."
Other teams to express a strong desire to compete include the two-car Petronas BMW Z4 outfit and the works-supported Audi Team Joest squad, who have returned to Germany to pencil in Bathurst on their 2011 calendar for one of their stunning R8 supercars.
Cr Aubin said the economic benefits derived from the international participants proved the value in the Event opening up its class structure to GT vehicles from both here and abroad.
"Audi were very enthusiastic and told us they would go back to Germany and ask to include the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour in their budget for 2011.
"We're talking about one of the best GT teams in the world, so to have them even interested in racing in our Event is a massive coup. Petronas BMW were equally enthusiastic about bringing two cars down in February, plus a team of more than thirty people.
"That alone would be a massive injection into the local economy via accommodation, restaurants and local services. Bathurst could be a very full town in February, 2011."
Whilst in Malaysia the Bathurst 'party' handed out Event Information packs about both the Race and the Bathurst region, ensuring teams had all the information they required to consider competing in 2011.
A meeting with the Sepang Circuit CEO also discussed cross promotional initiatives between the Events including an invitation for a Malaysian party to visit Bathurst next February.
"The benefits in exposure for the Bathurst region are going to be substantial," Cr Aubin said.
"The 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour will be held on February 4-6, 2011, and will be broadcast online around the world and in a three-hour highlights package on ONE HD across Australia.