Entries closed for Bathurst 24-hour

Bathurst thriller in store as 24-Hour entry list closes with 52 starters. Ten cars from overseas are among 52 entries on the official list of starters announced today for the inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race on 16-17 November. Monaro, Porsche,...

Bathurst thriller in store as 24-Hour entry list closes with 52 starters.

Ten cars from overseas are among 52 entries on the official list of starters announced today for the inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour race on 16-17 November.

Monaro, Porsche, Lamborghini, Mosler, Viper and Ferrari will lead the chase for outright honours in a field featuring some of the world's best GT sportscar and production touring car teams.

The internationals will bring more than 30 drivers from Germany, Britain, New Zealand and Austria for a crack at the famous Mount Panorama circuit, 210 kilometres west of Sydney.

The line-up includes two of the biggest names in international sports car racing, Australian David Brabham, who has driven this season for the Panoz team in the American Le Mans Series, and Le Mans 24-Hour winner Stephane Ortelli, of France, who recently clinched the 2002 Porsche Supercup and FIA N-GT championships.

Australian-based front-runners will include two Ferrari 360GT coupes and a Porsche GT3 RS from PHR Scuderia, the factory-backed 7.0 litre Holden Monaro, Paul Stokell's Lamborghini Diablo and the 8.0-litre Chrysler Viper of D'arcy Russell.

Announcing the entry list today, Ross Palmer, Chairman and Chief Executive of organiser PROCAR Australia, said he was delighted so many cars had been secured for the inaugural event.

"We're working on a multi-year plan to build the Bathurst 24-Hour and to have such a strong entry for year one is a terrific achievement," Mr Palmer said.

"The entry list promises this will be a thrilling race, as well as a landmark one. There's real depth in this field, with teams such as Cirtek Motorsport, Seikel Motorsport, Rollcentre and Graham Nash Motorsport that have competed successfully in the world's biggest sportscar events and series," Mr Palmer said.

"And while we're looking forward to seeing them in action, they are eager to challenge our Australian teams on a world-famous track.

"They're going to discover that Australian motorsport is world-class, but whether their experience of endurance racing is worth more than our experience of Mount Panorama will

The race, scheduled to start at 4 pm on Saturday 16 November, is the first major round-the clock event for Australia, as well as a first for Mount Panorama.

It is being staged by PROCAR Australia in partnership with the Bathurst City Council and will be covered live by the Seven national television network, with highlights relayed throughout Britain, Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Also on the program at the three-day meeting will be a 2-Hour GTP Showroom Showdown for touring cars, which has attracted 46 starters, two sprint races for Ford and Holden V8 BRutes (20 entries) and HQ Holden sprint races (41 entries).

The 24-Hour entry covers around 35 different makes or models of car.

The most exotic will include Briton Martin Short's Mosler MT900R, a waist-high coupe built in The $500,000 car debuted recently in the British GT Championship and will arrive here by plane in the next couple of weeks.

Newly-crowned Australian GTP Champion Colin Osborne will resort to one of Australia's most successful and well-travelled sports cars for his Bathurst campaign.

Osborne's Toyota MR2 was raced first by Juan Manuel Fangio II and Neal Bates in the 1994 Bathurst 12-Hour and since then has covered around 30,000 racing kilometres, reaping several class championships along the way.

Other highlights include the first Australian racing appearance of Nissan's new 350Z coupe, which has been entered by Sydney's Nathan Pilkington, and a V8-powered Mitsubishi Magna running under Future Tourer regulations.

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 www.ticketmaster7.com. More information about the event is on the official website, www.bathurst24hr.com www.bathurst24hr.com.

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About this article
Series Road racing
Drivers David Brabham , Stéphane Ortelli , Juan Manuel Fangio , Martin Short , Neal Bates , Paul Stokell , Colin Osborne , Nathan Pilkington