BATHURST is famous for having the Holden-versus-Ford rivalry at its core – but another major battle of the brands will feature when the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour takes to Mount Panorama this Easter.
The debut of the brand-new Production Car enduro will bring one of the sport’s most famous rivalries – that between Mitsubishi and Subaru – back to Bathurst after years of the two iconic Japanese brands going head to head in rallying.
While a host of Mitsubishi Lancer Evolutions have been entered for the race, Sydney team AP Motorsport has built a brand-new Subaru Impreza WRX STi to take on the otherwise dominant EVOs.
Headed by multiple Sports Racer and Formula Vee champion Adam Proctor, AP Racing hopes their new ride will be a competitive runner in the High Performance all-wheel-drive outright class this March 25-27.
“The latest WRX is significantly lighter, more powerful and a much better base as a racing car compared to the older model,” Proctor explained.
“It’s a much better thing than what we have had and we knew that to beat the Mitsubishi’s we would have to do something different – not try and do the same as everyone else.
“On paper the new Subaru looks like it has the goods so we’re the ones doing something different to try and beat them. The handling is a huge improvement – we don’t have the grunt of the Mitsubishi’s and BMWs but we hope we can make up with that in handling.”
The Sydneysider raced a 2005 model early last year before deciding to upgrade to the latest version last year, the new ride making its debut in the NSW Production Touring Cars class late last year.
“There’s a lot to learn about the new car and it has a lot more technology in it compared to the older car,” he explained.
“Being a four-wheel-drive car there’s a computer to control the centre diff – it’s a matter of learning those systems and making them work. Racing the car is the best way to test because you can experiment with things and see how they work in competition.
“We have tried to cover every area of the car to improve speed, handling and reliability and it’s been built with the best of everything.”
Proctor will be joined by Mark McHenry for the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour enduro.
“He has been pretty involved in building the car and he will jump in and do the race with us – it’s a bucket list thing.
“We’re looking at the possibility of a third driver but it comes down to budget. Racing with a mate is a ‘bucket list’ kind of thing so at this stage it’s going to be the two of us.
“The team we have is basically the same group of racers I’ve been racing with since day one it’s a big family-run team.”
Proctor’s Subaru will be entered in Class A1, for high-performance, turbocharged cars.
The inaugural Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour is expected to be contested at an outright level between the four-wheel-drive turbo cars and the rear-wheel-drive BMWs entered in the first of nine available classes.
More than 20 entries have been received in the A1 and A2 (high performance, normally aspirated) classes while the current overall entry list stands at more than 50 cars.
The Bathurst Motor Festival is proudly supported by the NSW Government as part of its Regional Flagship Events Program.
Entries close on February 19 ahead of the race on March 25-27. The race will be streamed live via www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au on Easter Sunday, with highlights to air on SBS Speedweek following the race.