BATHURST WINNING BMW RETURNS IN THREE-CAR GWS MOTORSPORT ATTACK
THE BATTLE FOR PRODUCTION CAR honours within the 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour is gathering strength following conformation of a three-car BMW team entered this week by GWS Motorsport.
One of the cars nominated by the successful operation is the same BMW 335i Turbo that won the 2007 and 2010 races outright, this year with Garry Holt, John Bowe and Paul Morris sharing the driving duties.
The car that ended Mitsubishi's shot at three wins in a row on the Mountain is known for its excellent fuel economy and reliability - a trademark of BMW and a key component to the vehicle's impressive victory in this years' dramatic rain-affected race.
This year, the GWS Personell-sponosred car will be driven by owner Peter O'Donnell, V8 Touring Car regular Matt Hansen and the experienced Christian D'Agostin.
The team will also enter a pair of BMW 130i models to battle for class victory once again.
"The car has a great deal of credibility at Bathurst and, from a Production Car perspective, we're looking to go very well," O'Donnell, a class winner on his Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour debut in 2009, said.
"We have a very strong team. Most of our drivers have been to Bathurst before and we know they are all capable. Garry Mennell from On Track Motorsport is preparing the cars and will put together the strongest group of people to work on them during the weekend, so all of our bases are covered.
"We're never going to beat the GT Cars, but that's not the goal. We want to go out and win our classes and I think we have the capability to do that."
O'Donnell said that in a GT car or in a Production car, racing at Bathurst was a rare opportunity.
"Bathurst is Bathurst and there is nothing else like it," He said.
"It's always a pleasure to race there. The production car classes should be quite competitive in their own right and it should be a great battle. We all can't wait."
One of Australia's most experienced production car racers, Allan Shephard, will head up the 130i attack, set to be joined by drivers including Commodore Cup regulars Garth Duffy and Geoff Fontaine. The team is yet to confirm final driver combinations and the remaining few drivers.
Whilst the 335i will compete in Class E, for high performance Rear Wheel Drive cars, the GWS Motorsport 130i entries will join an identical car in Class F, Production Performance.
The New Zealand-based Motorsport Services team of David Glasson, Dennis Roderick and Aaron Harris have already entered a similar 130i in the class and will look to offer their Aussie rivals a stern challenge next February.
The 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour is set to be the best yet and will include a broader vehicle eligibility list.
GT vehicles will join with production vehicles in 2011, with a total of 31 manufacturers eligible to compete in the around-the-clock Enduro at Mount Panorama from 4 to 6 February 2011.
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.