More than 10 international teams are bidding for a start in the Bathurst 24-hour sports and touring car race in November as nominations continue to arrive in the final days before the entry deadline. Nominations already have exceeded the...
More than 10 international teams are bidding for a start in the Bathurst 24-hour sports and touring car race in November as nominations continue to arrive in the final days before the entry deadline.
Nominations already have exceeded the limit of 55 cars that will be accepted for the race on 22-23 November.
John Cowley, Deputy Executive Chairman of event organiser PROCAR Australia, said today he expects to receive around 60 entries by the time nominations close on Wednesday 1 October.
A starting list of 55 cars is expected to be declared soon after.
"Right now in Europe and Britain, there are drivers, teams and sponsors doing last-minute deals to come Down Under for a race that already has earned a 'must-do' reputation after just one year," Mr Cowley said.
"But next Wednesday at midnight is the absolute deadline for teams. The event regulations don't permit late team entries under any circumstances, although I've no doubt some entrants will still be finalising their driver line-ups at the last moment."
The latest overseas entrants include veteran German endurance experts Jurgen and Uwe Alzen, in a Porsche GT3 Supercup, Swedish drivers in a Saab 9-3 and a Volvo S60, and British teams CDL Motorsport,, with a TVR Tuscan R, and Cirtek Motorsport, with a Porsche GT3 RS.
Cirtek will run the same Porsche with which it led last year's inaugural Bathurst 24-Hour for 15 hours, but for a new owner, Australian Peter Hills.
One of Cirtek's drivers from last year, recent Le Mans 24-Hour runner-up David Brabham, has not confirmed his plans yet.
Earlier entrants included two of last year's starters, the second-placed Mosler MT900R of Briton Martin Short and Graham Nash Motorsport's Porsche GT3 RS, which will have British GT Champion Tommy Erdos, of Brazil, among its driver line-up.
The internationals will face a strong field of Australian-based competitors, including Holden's two 7.0 litre Monaros with Peter Brock and seven V8 Supercar drivers, Team Lamborghini Australia's Diablo GTR for Paul Stokell and three others, PHR Scuderia with four entries including a car for John Bowe, a Porsche GT3 RS from Peter Floyd and two Maseratis from the Melbourne-based team of Rod Wilson.
Mr Cowley said this year's Bathurst 24-Hour would be far more competitive, with last year's entrants benefiting from their experience and high-quality new entrants attracted to the challenge of one of the world's most famous tracks.
"It's going to be a cracker. There will be at least 10 or 15 cars capable of an outright podium finish and some tough battles in the classes," he said.
"This is shaping to be an event no-ne should miss -- one of the world's most daunting and famous tracks, top teams from Europe and Australia, exotic cars such as Ferrari Lamborghini, Maserati, Viper, BMW and Monaro, and the challenge of racing from 2 pm one day to 2 pm the next."
Entries also close on Wednesday for cars in the three support race categories.
The support program will feature the traditional 2-Hour Showroom Showdown for GT Performance and Production Cars on the Saturday, the final round of the Australian Porsche Drivers Challenge and a three-leg feature event for V8 BRutes, with a finale for two-driver teams.
The 24-Hour race will be the centrepiece of a huge weekend of entertainment at Bathurst.
Other attractions are planned to include a ute muster, a country music concert featuring singer (and V8 BRute driver) Adam Brand and special entertainment in the Bathurst city centre.
The Channel Seven television network will devote more than 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.
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.