Maseratis join Bathurst 24

MASERATI will join the line-up of European thoroughbred cars in the Bathurst 24-Hour race next November, following the purchase of two Trofeo competition coupes by a Melbourne team. New owner Motorsport Innovations plans to upgrade the ...

MASERATI will join the line-up of European thoroughbred cars in the Bathurst 24-Hour race next November, following the purchase of two Trofeo competition coupes by a Melbourne team.

New owner Motorsport Innovations plans to upgrade the Italian-built cars for the race on 22-23 November and is advertising internationally for drivers.

The 4.2 litre V8-powered Maseratis contested the first two rounds of this year's Donut King Australian Nations Cup Championship in the Group Two class.

At Bathurst, they will be eligible for the equivalent Class B, in company with the Ferrari 360 Challenge, Lamborghini Diablo SVR, Ford Mustang Cobra RA and Porsche GT3 Cup.

Team owner Rod Wilson said he had already received strong support from the Australian Maserati importer since finalising the cars' purchase last week and was confident of fielding a highly-competitive entry at Bathurst.

"We have advertised overseas with a package that should be very appealing to international drivers who want to tackle one of the world's most exciting tracks," Wilson said.

"In cooperation with Maserati we intend to take advantage of some engine and aerodynamic upgrades available to us to ensure the Trofeos are fully competitive.

"I have already presented the idea to competitors in the European Maserati Trofeo one-make championship and, with a competitive and reliable car, I'm confident they will find the opportunity to race on Mount Panorama highly attractive.

"I've told the European drivers the Bathurst 24-Hour is a 'must-do' event."

A total of eight drivers will be needed to get the two-car team through more than 500 laps, or 3000 kilometres, in the round-the-clock race.

Wilson said he hoped to enter one or both Maserati Trofeos in remaining rounds of the Nations Cup series in order to get set-up and driving experience.

Bathurst 24-Hour organiser PROCAR Australia will accept up to 55 entries across six classes for GT sports cars and production-based touring cars.

Around 40 nominations have been received already, with entries not due to close officially until 1 October.

The Bathurst 24-Hour will start on the 6.3 km Mount Panorama circuit -- usually a public road - at 2 pm on Saturday 22 November, after practice and qualifying on the previous day and evening.

The Channel Seven television network will devote at least seven hours' live coverage to the race, 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. An international television package is being negotiated.

Support events will include a 2-Hour Showroom Showdown for production touring cars, races for V8 BRutes and the Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge, plus a giant trackside ute muster.

Tickets to the Bathurst 24-Hour are on sale from $32 for adults through Ticketmaster7, on ph. 1300 136 122 or www.ticketmaster7.com.au.

-www.bathurst24hr.com-

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Series Supercars
Drivers Rod Wilson