A NEW ZEALAND team has targeted success in both the GT and Production Car classes within the 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour endurance race, to be held on February 4 - 6 next year.
Hampton Downs based Motorsport Solutions contested the 2010 race with a solitary BMW 130i, finishing an outstanding 12th outright and third in their class. The team has become the first international outfit to commit to the 2011 event - even before entries officially open.
Team Manager David Taylor has confirmed the team will bring two Porsche 996 GT3 Cup cars from New Zealand to tackle the mountain, plus return with their existing BMW to aim for a class victory after their podium this year.
Allan Dippie and Scott O'Donnell have been confirmed as the lead drivers in each car, with co-drivers to be confirmed at a later date.
"We're really looking forward to coming back to Bathurst, this time with the Porsche's," David Taylor said.
"Allan and Scott have raced one of the 996s together at the Nurburgring 24 hour so for them it will be like putting on an old glove. Allan's car has been racing in the New Zealand endurance championship and recently finished 6th in the Pukekohe 6 hour - despite breaking a gear shifter during the race.
"We doubt the cars will compete on an outright level against the newer GT3 machinery, but like we did with the BMW we think a good result in our class (the 996 GT3 Cup Car is eligible for Class B - GT Challenge) is very possible. We're really looking forward to it.
"We are also planning to bring the BMW 130 over again and are talking to drivers about running that car. It's a great package and all we did to it this year was put tyres on it and filled it up with fuel. It went really well."
The Motorsport Solutions team has vast endurance racing experience, including past success at the famed Nurburgring 24 hour race in Germany, in New Zealand Porsche GT3 Cup and domestic endurance events. Taylor said that Bathurst, with its worldwide appeal, was a key race for their team to target.
"Before this year we had raced all around the world but a major endurance race at Bathurst was missing from the list. We had a great time this year with the BMW and we hope to get the same out of the 2011 event."
Event Director James O'Brien said that the interest from across the Tasman would only add to the diversity already seen throughout the Armor All Bathurst 12 hour event.
"New Zealanders have a long history of racing in endurance events at Mount Panorama," he said.
"We're very pleased to have this early vote of confidence from the Motorsport Solutions team and we look forward to welcoming them back to the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour next February with an expanded line up and a multi-car team. I am sure they will be one of the first teams to lodge their entry when they officially open this September."
The 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour will be broadcast on digital free-to-air sports channel ONE HD, following a new partnership between the event and the rapidly-growing broadcaster announced this year.
Vehicles from the Australian GT Championship will join with vehicles from the Australian Production Car (Manufacturers) Championship totalling 31 manufacturers eligible to compete in the around-the-clock Enduro at Mount Panorama on 4 to 6 February 2011.