One of the most spectacular international contenders for this month's Bathurst 24-Hour race, the Mosler MT900R coupe of Briton Martin Short, will be flown to Australia this week while its team of drivers ponders how to tackle the daunting Mount ...
One of the most spectacular international contenders for this month's Bathurst 24-Hour race, the Mosler MT900R coupe of Briton Martin Short, will be flown to Australia this week while its team of drivers ponders how to tackle the daunting Mount Panorama circuit for the first time.
The Corvette-engined Mosler, built in Florida, will chase outright honors in the 16-17 November race against Porsche and BMWs from Britain, Europe and New Zealand and a host of Australian entrants, including a factory-backed Holden Monaro.
Owner Martin Short will share the Mosler with fellow Britons Mark Pashley and Charles Lamb and Sri Lankan ace Dilantha Malagamuwa.
They will be supported by three technicians from Short's team Rollcentre Racing, plus a local crew.
Although none of the drivers has seen Mount Panorama in person, Short says he has "driven" it on a computer racing game and now understands its daunting reputation.
"I got on a Playstation and did one lap and almost decided not to go to Australia," Short joked in an interview from his base in Cambridgeshire.
"The game is a very accurate representation and I can see why the track is so popular with drivers."
Short is particularly wary of the untested 7.0-litre Monaro, to be driven by Garth Tander, Steven Richards and Nathan Pretty, but says the Rollcentre team's plan will be to run a steady, safe race.
"The Monaro sounds like it's going to be fast, but a 24-hour race has little to do with how fast you go and all about keeping going," Short said.
"I think the bottom line at Bathurst will be don't crash and don't get involved in anyone else's crash.
"I'm very confident in the Mosler. I raced it in the last round of the Belcar sports car series at Zolder in Belgium a week ago and it went like a train; we could have done over three hours on the tyres."
Short and his team will arrive in Sydney next Sunday night and collect the car from Customs before heading to Bathurst.
The mid-engined Mosler uses a 5.7-litre, 420 kiloWatt Chev Corvette motor and sequential-shift Hewland gearbox and weighs 1020 kilograms in its British GTO Championship specification.
LUFF JUNIOR TARGETS TOP 10 WITH V8 MAGNA
Rising young Australian star Warren Luff is looking for a top-10 finish in the Bathurst 24-Hour aboard the only V8-powered Mitsubishi Magna in Australian racing.
Luff will share the Magna with Terry Bosnjak, who drives it in the Future Tourer series, and Nations Cup regular Ian Palmer.
Announcing a sponsorship deal with IT company Compuware and Ian Luff Motorvation Australia, Luff said the under-stressed Magna was a good prospect for the enduro.
"Future Tourers are properly-engineered race cars, but they're built simple and tough so teams can run a full season at low cost," said Luff, 26, from Sydney.
"It's an excellent package for Bathurst and our plan is just to keep going and be in the top 10 at the end."
Luff recently won the 2002 V8 BRute Series in a Ford Falcon XR8 ute and came 15th with Cameron McConville in a Commodore in the Bathurst 1000.
His father Ian will drive a Holden Commodore SS with Scott Loadsman, Rick Bates and David Russell.
VJ ANGELO AND BMW READY TO RACE
Australian expatriate businessman VJ Angelo is looking forward to racing his BMW M Coupe in the Bathurst 24-Hour after his first inspection of the circuit recently.
He has also tested his car at Oran Park near Sydney with teammates Ric Shaw and Hong Kong journalist Matthew Marsh.
After several years in Britain, Angelo returned to Australia several weeks ago and brought the BMW he had used in the Nurburgring 24-Hour in Germany last June.
"We've done a lot of work in England since then and I think the car will be very strong and reliable at Bathurst," he said.
"I went up to Bathurst 10 days ago for the first time in almost 20 years and I must say it was the most incredible eye-opener.
"The first thing that struck me was the steepness of the gradient up Mountain Straight and then the Skyline - it looks like if you launched off the mountain you'd end up in the valley below.
"The test at Oran Park went very well. Ric and Matthew did most of the laps and I think we're a great combination."
A second BMW M Coupe is being prepared for the race by Newcastle's Wayne Russell.
Australia's first major international 24-Hour race, the Bathurst 24-Hour will start at 4 pm on Saturday 16 November, after day and night qualifying sessions on Friday. Support events will be a 2-Hour GTP Showroom Showdown for GTP cars, and races on Friday and Saturday for V8 Brutes and HQ Holdens. Tickets, priced from $40 for two days, can be purchased through Ticketmaster7 by phoning 1300 136 122 or visiting www.ticketmaster7.com