FORMULA ONE INFLUENCE FOR BATHURST BOUND BMW TEAM
A BMW TEAM entered in the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour race has called on some Formula One know-how in its efforts to beat class rivals Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan and Lotus.
Entered in Class C, the Bruce Lynton BMW sponsored M3 to be driven by Beric Lynton, Matthew Mackelden and John Modystach faces some tough competition - but they also have the support of former F1 engineer Ralph Bellamy.
Bellamy's career spanned stints at McLaren, Brabham, Lotus, March and Lola before he returned to Australia where he continued his involvement in the sport via V8 Supercars and Super Touring - where he met Beric Lynton.
The BMW team hope that his input results in a successful campaign at next weekend's Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, where sound strategy calls and quick thinking are critical towards snaring a good result.
"Ralph is a very quiet guy, but he is very intense and incredibly detail orientated... nothing ever gets missed, so he is exactly the right guy to look after clowns like me, Beric and John," team driver Matt Mackelden said.
"Ralph has worked on V8 Supercar teams, as well the BMW Super Tourers which is where the relationship with Beric began. Since then he has been linked with Beric's' driving career including his recent Mini Challenge campaign.
"He is an amazing asset to this team, and if we come with a good result next week, it will be as a direct result of his leadership in the pits."
Mackelden, who spends his '9 to 5' working hours looking after the commercial arrangements of the successful V8 Ute Series, made his Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour debut in a V8 Ford Ute last year and won his class.
Keen to once again swap his business suit for one of the three-layer, fireproof variety, Mackelden said he was looking forward to the opportunity of racing some of motorsports biggest names this year.
"It's going to be exciting to race against such great names as Lowndes, Bowe, Luff and the likes... however the only view we will probably get will be their headlights, then their tail lights most of the day," Mackelden said.
"The M3 will be the slowest in the GT3 Class without doubt, however we have a car that is well proven in long distance events, its well sorted mechanically and we have a lot of confidence that it will just run around all day long without any major issues.
"Last year's race proved that nothing at Bathurst ever goes to script," he added.
"It's about running your own race, your own strategy and driving to your own abilities and seeing what that brings you in the end, in our case last year it brought the top step of the podium in our class!"
Co-drivers Lynton and Modystach are both experienced operators, Lynton now synonymous with driving a BMW in Production Car racing having driven the cars though the GTP, Performance Car and now the GT eras.
Modystach was one of the big improvers of the MINI Challenge series last year, finishing 5th in the championship behind the likes of Chris Alajajian, Glenn Seton and Paul Stokell.
GT vehicles will join with production cars for the first time in 2011, with entries secured from Audi, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, Holden, Lotus, Mitsubishi, Mosler, Nissan, Porsche and Subaru .
Historic Group N Touring Cars, Group C & A Historic Touring Cars, Improved Production, HQ Holden's and Formula Vee will feature throughout Friday and Saturday's action, ensuring a racing program that caters to nearly every type of Australian Motorsport fan.