5 days to go: Stokell leads last-minute Lamborghini bid for Bathurst 24-Hour. Lamborghini will add another exotic name to the field of crack contenders for next weekend's Bathurst 24-Hour race, following last-minute confirmation of an ...
5 days to go: Stokell leads last-minute Lamborghini bid for Bathurst 24-Hour.
Lamborghini will add another exotic name to the field of crack contenders for next weekend's Bathurst 24-Hour race, following last-minute confirmation of an entry from newly-crowned Nations Cup champions Team Lamborghini Australia.
TLA's champion driver Paul Stokell will lead the squad in a 6.0 litre Lamborghini Diablo GTR coupe for its first attempt at the round-the-clock marathon starting at 2 pm on Saturday.
The entry, in conjunction with fellow Nations Cup team Mark Coffey Racing and principal sponsor Donut King, also will see young Danish ace Allan Simonsen switch from his usual Ferrari, plus V8 Supercar driver Luke Youlden and possibly a fourth driver behind the wheel of the Lamborghini.
The team had withdrawn its original Bathurst entry, but re-considered and joined with Mark Coffey Racing as a result of popular pressure after it clinched the Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship three weeks ago.
One of the most charismatic cars in Australian motor racing, the hulking $700,000 Lamborghini will join a grid of around 50 GT and touring cars cars for the race, presented by Formula Green and Eagle Boys Pizza.
Up to 35 drivers and seven cars from Germany, Austria, Italy, the United Kingdom, the United States, Malaysia, New Zealand, Brazil and Denmark are due to arrive in Bathurst over the next few days.
Stokell said preparation of the Lamborghini at the team's Melbourne workshops had begun only a week ago, but he was confident the car would run the distance competitively against rivals representing Holden Monaro, Ferrari, Mosler, Porsche, Morgan and BMW.
"We've replaced everything -- the gearbox, differential, wheel bearings, and brakes -- but the car is as we've run it all year. It's in pretty good shape," he said.
"As long as we look after the car, it will be fine. We've just got to stay off the kerbs and stroke it around to the finish.
"I'm really looking forward to the race. I missed it last year and a lot of people have said they want to see the Lamborghini at Mount Panorama.
"The late start to preparation means Allan and Luke haven't had a chance to test the Diablo, but that shouldn't be a problem. They'll really only have to do one fast lap, in qualifying, and then it's a case of settling in for a long, long race."
Also in Melbourne, PHR Scuderia this weekend put the finishing touches to its new BMW M3 GTR, imported from California a week ago.
Team Manager Terry Little said mechanics had overcome an electrical problem that restricted an initial track test last Tuesday and had refurbished and repainted the V8 coupe.
John Bowe, Neil Crompton, Greg Crick and Indonesian team owner Maher Algadri are listed to drive the car, one of three entries from PHR Scuderia.
he Bathurst 24-Hour field will take a rolling start after the command "Drivers, start your engines", issued by Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, gets the warm-up lap under way.
The enduro will be preceded over Saturday and Friday by a program of support races for GT Performance and Production touring cars, V8 BRutes and Porsches.
The Channel Seven television network will devote more than seven hours' live coverage to the weekend, mixed with its telecast on Saturday night of the Rugby World Cup final match, which will be watched by fans on two giant screens at the top and bottom of Mount Panorama.
Tickets to the Bathurst 24-Hour are on sale from $30 for adults through Ticketmaster7, on ph. 1300 136 122 or www.ticketmaster7.com.au