GODZILLA RETURNS TO BATHURST ENDURO WEARING PINK
THE NISSAN GTR - the car that dominated the Bathurst 1000 in 1991 and 1992 and in the process earned the nickname 'Godzilla'- will look to make a triumphant return to endurance racing on Mount Panorama during the 2011 Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour.
Donut King Racing has confirmed the entry of the latest incarnation of the legendary Nissan supercar, to be driven by one of Australia's most experienced endurance driving squads.
The trio of Donut King Boss Tony Alford, Peter Leemhuis and Mal Rose will steer the bright pink car in an effort to return Godzilla to the Bathurst rostrum some 20 years after it last took the flag in an Endurance race on Mount Panorama.
The three have become one of the most experienced Australian combinations contesting long-distance Events around the world, having worked together consistently since 2004.
Since then they have teamed up to tackle the Nurburgring 24 Hour five times, the Dubai 24-Hour race four times and the Sepang 12 Hour on three occasions. In 2009 they took an HSV GTS to 11th outright in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, only missing out on a top ten finish within the last two hours.
Former V8 Supercar privateer champion Mal Rose is preparing the car for the race and is relishing the opportunity to tackle the Mountain in the Nissan GTR.
"Tony, Peter and I have been driving together for a long time and we know how each other work. We have achieved a lot in the races we have done together and the plan is to try and do the same at Bathurst," he said.
"Life is too short to miss out on opportunities to take part in races like this, so I've got the team together and we're going to have a go.
"Personally, this is an opportunity for me to see if I can build a car to go the distance. The Nissan is a heavy car so it will be taxing on brakes, tyres and fuel, especially, but at the same time we know it will be fast.
"Its strengths are power and how easy it is to drive quickly. Just about anyone could jump in and go fast in this car so that is a big advantage in such a long race."
The GTR will be entered in Class C, a 'race within a race' rapidly shaping up to be highly competitive.
The class will feature Paul Freestone's Corvette, several Lotus Exige S models and a BMW M3, offering some stern competition for the all-pink Nissan. Rose, however, believes the car and team are capable of going the distance. "Our mission is to get to the finish," he said.
"We know the strengths and the weaknesses of the car and its drivers and we know how to manage everything over the course of a race. There are no egos in the team and the crew working on the car are the same people who come away with us to the Nurburgring.
"In the past we have just missed out on a top ten driving a Holden Monaro. We think we can go better this year." Just four weeks remain until the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour gets underway at Mount Panorama from 4-6 February.
GT vehicles will join with production cars for the first time in 2011, with entries already secured from Ferrari, Mosler, Porsche, Lotus, Nissan, Chevrolet, BMW, Holden and Audi.
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.