Australian drivers have performed strongly in one of the world's biggest endurance motor races, the Nurburgring 24 hours in Germany -- and gained valuable experience for November's Bathurst 24-Hour at Mount Panorama.
Seven cars among 220 in the annual event, which finished early today Australian time, carried a total of 13 Australian drivers, most of whom race at home in the PROCAR Champ Series or Bathurst 24-Hour.
The highest-placed was Wayne Moore, who finished 36th outright and second in class with three German teammates in a diesel-engined Volkswagen Bora after qualifying 123rd.
The result was one of the best yet for Moore, a Nurburgring regular whose attempt at the 2003 Bathurst 24-Hour ended prematurely when a teammate crashed their BMW.
A two-car team of Mitsubishi Mirage RS hatchbacks shipped from Australia by class stalwart Mal Rose achieved a giant-killing result.
The Mirage drivers, Rose, Anthony Robson, Peter Leemhuis, Kevin Burton, Tony Alford and Australian Production Car Championship regular Adam Beechey, brought home one of their little 1.6 litre cars in 70th outright and second in class after starting in 205th position.
The second car, which had been qualified in 199th spot, crossed the finish line in 140th place.
Last year, Alford and Leemhuis finished 22nd at Bathurst in one of the mighty Mirages.
Australians Peter Boylan, Geoff Morgan and Peter Hansen teamed with German driver Frank Burgmann in a BMW 320i. They qualified an impressive 71st, but battled mechanical problems during the race to finish 144th.
Boylan, a leading runner in the Australian GT Performance Championship and interim promoter of the PROCAR Champ Series, spent part of his visit to the Nurburgring contacting potential entrants for the Bathurst 24-Hour on 19-21 November.
"Bathurst has modelled itself on the diverse classes and fun atmosphere of the Nurburgring event," Boylan said.
"Our race is well known over there now and some of the European drivers -- such as the Alzen brothers who took pole position at Nurburgring -- have already been to Mount Panorama.
"There was plenty of interest and I'm hopeful we have succeeded in attracting some drivers or teams."
V8 BRutes Series driver Denis Cribben, another Nurburgring regular, had a disappointing weekend.
His German-run BMW 323i qualified 137th but completed only 37 laps before retiring.
Cribben, Boylan and Beechey will be back behind the wheel next weekend in round four of the PROCAR Champ Series at Winton Motor Raceway, Victoria.
The Nurburgring 24-hour was won by Dirk and Jorg Muller, Pedro Lamy and Hans-Joachim Stuck, who covered 143 laps of the 24 kilometre circuit in a factory BMW M3 GTR coupe.