International interest in Bathurst 24-Hour running strongly. INTERNATIONAL interest in the inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race is continuing to run strongly, with enquiries received recently from teams in Britain, Europe and the United ...
International interest in Bathurst 24-Hour running strongly.
INTERNATIONAL interest in the inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race is continuing to run strongly, with enquiries received recently from teams in Britain, Europe and the United States.
Bathurst 24-Hour Event Manager Brian Lawrence says that, given the level of interest, up to 15 cars will make the journey to compete on the world-famous Mount Panorama circuit.
"We're in almost daily contact at this stage with overseas teams. They are getting closer and closer to concluding their deals for drivers and sponsors and we expect their official entries shortly," he said.
Prospective entrants include teams run by Britons Martin Short, Graham Nash and Willie Moore.
Lawrence says all should be considered outright contenders for Bathurst.
"Willie ran a BMW M3 among the top 10 at the Nurburgring 24 -hour in June and is a top-flight team operator," he said.
"The car has had extensive work done since then and Willie tells me he is currently finalising his driver line-up."
Graham Nash Motorsport is looking to run two Porsche GT3 coupes and will have leading British driver Mike Newton in the team.
British GTO series competitor Martin Short is currently seeking a suitable car for Bathurst.
Short has been running a TVR in the GTO series. It was heavily damaged by another driver in a crash at the Oulton Park circuit, and although repaired now, Lawrence says the British team owner wants to run a different car in Australia.
"We're also talking to a number of Porsche teams, who are serious to the point of already booking shipping containers," Lawrence continued.
"These include, from Europe, Cirtek Motorsport and Phoenix Motorsport - the team that runs Aussie Will Davison in the German Porsche Supercup series - is looking at two cars.
"Peter Seikel Motorsport, which has bases both in Britain and Atlanta, Georgia, intends to have Kiwi Andrew Bagnall along with its regular Porsche endurance drivers.
"We're also negotiating with a Houston-based team for two Ferraris and when their entry comes through there will be an extremely interesting story in the drivers they'll bring to Australia."
AUSSIE TEAMS KEEN TO TAKE ON INTERNATIONALS
LOCAL competitors are relishing the prospect of competing in the Bathurst 24-Hour and are confident of strong performances from cars representing the GT Performance and GT Production Car categories.
Teams which have confirmed their intention to run include Brett Peters Motorsport, from Queensland, and Team Yamaha, run by Victorian Trevor Haines.
Peters will contest the inaugural enduro with a brand new Subaru Impreza STi, in place of the car in which he won last year's Australian GT Performance Championship and in which he has been a front-runner this season.
He'll debut the car, built by team manager Rod Dawson, at the Phillip Island championship round on 20-22 September and plans to have its development well-sorted before Bathurst.
"We felt the latest model STi was the way to go for Bathurst," Peters said.
"It will be more attractive for our sponsors and it has some mechanical advantages, such as a stronger, six-speed gearbox, bigger brakes and stiffer body shell that will definitely contribute to its reliability.
"We'll be competing in Group Five, but I'm hoping the reliability of our production car will allow us to fight above our weight against faster but more fragile cars.
"We're going to Bathurst determined to do well, but even to compete in such an event is going to be a great motorsport adventure. I'm looking forward to it immensely."
Peters will have three co-drivers. He has confirmed experienced GTP drivers Gary Deane and Robert Rubis for the team, but has yet to sign the number four.
Buoyant after a strong run in the Sandown 500, Team Yamaha is confident its 5.6 litre Ford Falcon TE50 will be tough enough for the Bathurst 24-Hour.
The Tickford Falcon was the only V8 production car to complete Sandown and the team was delighted with its reliability and consistency.
"We could have fitted another four tyres and done another 500 kms," said owner and lead driver Trevor Haines. "It was as strong on Sunday afternoon as it was in the first practice session on Friday."
Haines will be joined at Bathurst by 2000 GTP champion Mark King, who will park his usual Mitsubishi Evo VII for the event, and experienced driver and Michelin racing tyre distributor Trevor Sheumack.
"We have a number of expressions of interest for the fourth seat and will announce that soon."
Also part of the local contingent will be cars from the Sports Touring, V8 Touring and 6-Cylinder Touring classes of the Australian GT Production Car Championship and several Future Tourers, the 420-horsepower V8 touring cars built around late model Holden Commodore, Ford Falcon and Mitsubishi Magna bodyshells.
Motorsport experts say the Future Tourers could be the Bathurst dark horses, as they are fully-engineered race cars with relatively unstressed powertrains.
GREAT VALUE IN BATHURST 24-HOUR TICKETS
IT will cost as little as $40 for a ticket to watch the inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race.
The pre-purchase concession price of $40 buys an adult weekend General Admission pass, allowing the holder to watch the exciting support races before the start of the main event at 4 pm on Saturday 16 November, right through to the end at 4 pm on Sunday.
Just $9 more buys entry on Friday also to see qualifying in the support categories and two night qualifying sessions for 24-Hour competitors.
The support program features the GTP 2-Hour Showroom Showdown on Saturday and races for V8 BRutes and Holden HQs.
Determined fans who can't tear themselves away from Mount Panorama during the Bathurst 24-Hour can reserve fully-serviced camp sites in several areas.
Tickets can be purchased over the phone from Ticketmaster7 or on the internet through www.bathurst24hr.com.
The Bathurst website also carries information on the camping facilities, which can be booked either by phoning the Campground Coordinator on (02) 6205 0665, or writing to Locked Bag 2001, Civic Square, ACT 2608.
HOLDEN HQ DRIVERS EXEMPLIFY MOTORSPORT SPIRIT
A RECENT call for volunteers to help run the Bathurst 24-Hour race has resulted in an offer from an unusual quarter - competitors.
Up to 55 Holden HQ drivers, who will compete in three rsupport events over Friday and Saturday, have offered through their association to be part of the contingent of around 600 volunteer officials.
"This is an incredible gesture in the true spirit of motorsport," said Bathurst 24-Hour Manager Brian Lawrence.
"Drivers wouldn't get to race anywhere if it weren't for volunteer officials and it's traditional to show their appreciation with a wave to the flag marshals on the cool-down lap.
"But it shows real dedication to the sport to climb the fence, so to speak, and join the regular officials in all sorts of roles to ensure the 24-Hour runs smoothly.
"This shows they are true racing enthusiasts."
Positions for volunteer officials are still available.
CAMS-qualified officials are needed for many tasks, including flag marshalling, pit lane control, timekeeping and technical scrutineering of race cars.
Officials are needed not only to work around the clock on the enduro, but also on the support sessions that start at 8 am on Friday and 8.45 am on Saturday.
Flag marshals will man 35 positions around the circuit for almost 32 hours continuously until the end of the Bathurst 24-Hour at 4 pm on Sunday.
Applications to join the volunteer officials' crew can be made by contacting Janine Smith at IMG Motorsports on (07) 5588 8852, or by submitting the application form available at www.bathurst24hr.com.
LET THERE BE LIGHT ON THE MOUNTAIN
DRIVERS in the Bathurst 24-Hour will have to rely mainly on their cars' headlights, but certain points around Mount Panorama will be lit during the night hours on 16-17 November.
Existing permanent lighting will assist vision on pit straight while lights installed in public areas between the Cutting and Forrests Elbow for the 12-hour races in the early nineties also will be employed. Gravel traps will be illuminated with temporary floodlights.
An assessment of the effect of this permanent lighting will be made during the Bathurst 1000 meeting next month.
The experience of driving at night and dealing with the headlights of overtaking competitors will be a new one for many Australian competitors, although familiar for internationals.
The first chance to drive at night will be in practice session starting at 6.25 pm on Friday night.