MAYOR WELCOMES STARS AND CARS TO MOUNT PANORAMA
Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Paul Toole has welcomed the Armor All Bathurst 12 hour's stars and cars to the city ahead of this weekend's race.
Maranello Motorsports' John Bowe and and Peter Edwards joined rally ace Dean Herridge, five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Craig Lowndes, David Wall, and Warren Luff and others on pit lane with six cars representing a cross-section of the diverse field entered.
The field will feature drivers from around the globe, more than 50 international crew and team members and six vehicles from overseas as part of the 28 car field.
An Audi R8 LMS GT3, Ferrari F430 and Porsche GT3 Cup S sat alongside a Subaru WRX STi, BMW 335i and BMW 130i - a much different site to the usual Holden v Ford rivalry experienced on the Mountain.
2010 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour winner and two-time Bathurst 1000 champion John Bowe was happy to be back at Mount Panorama, a place he knows very well and has enjoyed much success.
"It's always really good to be at Bathurst. It is such a fantastic track," he said.
"It's one of the best tracks in the world. To have an opportunity to drive here in the Ferrari is something I wouldn't miss for quids. I am very happy."
With the ever changing weather on his mind, Bowe was looking forward to putting his Ferrari up against the other challengers in the field.
"The F430 is a great little car; I think it will go really well. The Audi guys are in a 2010 car - it's a works factory entry so you would have to say they are odds on favourite to win it - but it's a 12 hour race and it requires a lot more than out right speed to win. I think we are a great chance."
Rally champion Herridge echoed Bowe's excitement of being back at Mount Panorama.
"We are really looking forward to it, obviously it is always great to be back here, this is my third 12 hour," he said.
"It is great to be able to bring the car to Mount Panorama to have a run. I think if we have a good clean run and get everything under control we are a good chance in the production cars, that's our first aim."
While the drivers might be looking towards the race, Bathurst Regional Council Mayor Paul Toole sang the praises of the event and the benefit it brings for his city.
"We are very excited about the event here at Bathurst," he enthused.
"It is the first major event held at Mount Panorama this year. There is a real buzz of excitement around the town.
"The economic impact is very positive for the town; the teams have been here for the entire week, staying in the city, eating in the restaurants, filling up, buying their groceries and generating huge benefit and economic impact back to the city of Bathurst. We are very pleased and expecting a very big crowd this weekend."
The Armor All Bathurst 12 hour field kicks off tomorrow with practice one at 8:45am, with the first of five support categories on track from 7:15am.
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.
-source: bathurst 12hour