THE ULTIMATE SHOWROOM SHOWDOWN: BATHURST 6 HOUR PREVIEW
This weekend marks the second running of the Bathurst 6 Hour, and the stakes have been significantly raised. Mercedes, Ford, BMW, Audi, Mitsubishi, FPV and Subaru are all in the outright class and all are a chance of taking victory at 5:30pm Sunday afternoon.
Reigning champions Chaz Mostert and Nathan Morcom will defend their title in a brand new and unknown Ford Focus RS, just like the now well-developed Mercedes Benz AMG A45 was last year.
Craig Baird will lead the Mercedes challenge, while the ever present challenge from Mitsubishi is led by CXC Racing who has installed Tim Slade and Karl Reindler to lead the team’s fortunes in a pair of Evo X’s. Last year’s third place getters, David Wall and John Bowe return in the same Alan East Motorsport Evo IX, while Ryan Simpson will be one to watch in another Evo.
90’s rally rivalry will be reignited on Mount Panorama’s bitumen, as Subaru will be represented in the top class by two young, quick crews. Carrera Cup driver James Abela and former Formula Ford champion and Toyota 86 frontrunner Cameron Hill lead the charge.
BMW has a great track record at the Mountain, winning the pre-GT 12 Hour twice, plus BMW 1M driver Beric Lynton is the reigning Australian Production Car Series champion. A variety of the German marque will head to the mountain, led by Lynton and co-driver Tim Leahey, but others to look out for will be the new M4 of the Sherrins and the fastest car on Friday last year, Luke Searle’s BMW M135i Hatchback, that had a disaster of a run last year. An Audi for ex-Australian GT champion Mark Eddy and Tony Alford completes the German attack.
The lone Aussie representative in the outright fight is the Jeremy Gray and Jason Gomersall FPV GT-F, which has tested successfully and should pull well up the Mountain. It is a shame that there are no VF HSVs entered to see a true Holden and Ford battle.
23 cars will line up in Class A1 alone, with 66 cars entered for the weekend, covering 18 different manufacturers and 35 different models. Many new cars within the classes should spice up the race with Alfa Romeo, Kia, Toyota, Honda and Renault represented, while American SCCA champion Michele Abbate will drive the Pedder’s Racing Toyota 86.
The support events consist of the Heritage Touring Cars, Production Sports, HQ’s, Group N and Porsche Regularity with big entries in each class.
The race starts at 11:30am EST on Sunday and is available via livestream at Bathurst6hour.com.au or if you miss any of the action you can read it in Auto Action 1708, out Thursday.
Date posted: April 12, 2017