Bathurst 12: Event newsletter 2009-01-23

NISSAN RETURNS TO THE MOUNTAIN FOR WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR Rising stars Jonathan Webb and Josh Hunt will join with the experienced Paul Stokell in their quest to take Nissan to the top of the podium at the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro at...

NISSAN RETURNS TO THE MOUNTAIN FOR WPS BATHURST 12 HOUR

Rising stars Jonathan Webb and Josh Hunt will join with the experienced Paul Stokell in their quest to take Nissan to the top of the podium at the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro at Mount Panorama, Bathurst on February 20-22.

Not since Jim Richards and Mark Skaife claimed the 1992 Bathurst 1000 in controversial circumstances has Nissan captured an outright victory at Australia's most famous circuit. However, the trio is focused putting an end to the manufacturers' winless streak during next month's once around the clock encounter aboard the John Struik-owned Nissan 350Z currently being prepared by Rod Smith Racing.

"The car is quite quick, I think the aim is definitely a class win and anything above that will be a bonus, an outright win is certainly not out of the question," said Stokell.

"If we can find a good pace that we are all comfortable with and are able to stick to a race plan without pushing too hard I think we will be in for a good showing.

"Both young guys are proven talents have done some laps around Bathurst and the Nissan brand is always well regarded as being reliable so we're hoping that this will shine through at the Event."

Hunt, who is currently looking to finalise his 2009 plans to include the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, is excited about his first start in the WPS Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro.

"I'm just ecstatic to be driving in the 12 hour at Bathurst. Getting race miles around there is very difficult, so to get so many laps around there in one weekend is going to be very beneficial for me," said Hunt.

"With it being a 12 hour race it will present a heap of challenges that I haven't come up against before but I'm really looking forward to it.

"To be able to drive alongside someone with the experience of Paul is going to be great. It will be valuable to learn from him throughout the Event and hopefully we will be able to run close to the front of the field."

During 2008 Webb was one of Australia's busiest racing car drivers competing in the Fujitsu V8 Supercar Series, the endurance races of the V8 Supercar Championship Series and a pair of 24 hour races at Nurburgring and Dubai.

Like his counterparts, Webb believes the Nissan 350Z will be a competitive package for the 12 hour journey.

"We had a test day at Winton last week and it all went well. The Nissan seems really good, it has got some good power, great brakes and the handling is pretty neutral, as they are on the road," said Webb.

"I've done a couple of 24 hour and three 1000km races before but this will be my first 12 hour stint, so like Josh it will be a new experience for me.

"The three of us have been around and done a quite a lot so I think that experience should put us in good shape. Just like a 24 hour race I can see the 12 hour race being all about sticking to a good plan and strategy while adapting quickly where necessary."

The 2009 WPS Bathurst Showroom Enduro will be held at Mount Panorama on February 20-22.

The 2008 WPS 12 Hour Showroom Enduro attracted in excess of 100 drivers across 37 entries from various parts of Australia and New Zealand with the Mitsubishi Evo 9 of Damien White, Graham Alexander and Rod Salmon taking the victory.

-credit: bathurst12hour.com.au

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Series CAMS
Drivers Jim Richards , Mark Skaife , Rod Salmon , Josh Hunt , Graham Alexander , Damien White