THE EASTER BUNNY will be extra busy in the Bathurst region on Easter Sunday this year.
A record number of entries have been received from the seven competing categories at the 2015 Bathurst Motor Festival, to be held across the Easter long weekend (3-5 April) at the famous Mount Panorama Circuit. 363 entries have been lodged with Event organisers, up from the previous record of 323 set last year.
Showing the lure of Bathurst and the rare opportunities that exist to compete on the mountain, the average grid size across the weekend will be in excess of 50 cars. A capacity 55-car NSW Production Sports Car field will tackle a pair of one-hour endurance races that will look somewhat similar in both size and shape to the recent Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
Several top 12-hour teams have lodged entries to gain more Mountain miles this Easter including the two-car Jamec-PEM Audi R8 LMS Ultra squad headed by Steven McLaughlin and two-time Bathurst 12-Hour champion Christoper Mies. Fellow double 12-Hour winner Rod Salmon has entered his Audi while Class B runners-up Grove Racing will again feature – Carrera Cup racer Stephen Grove to drive his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car with his high-school student son, Brenton.
12-hour entrants Vicious Rumour Racing (Tony Defelice), Daytona Sports Cars (Ben Schoots / Hamish Hardeman) and Nicholas Creswell and Nicholas Marentis (Porsche 997) also feature in the bumper sports car field. The 16-year-old son of Australian Touring car hero Glenn Seton, Aaron, will also get a taste of Mount panorama in GT Machinery when he fronts in a Scott Taylor Motorsport-entered Porsche.
The return of Heritage Touring Cars – from the famous Bathurst Group C and A era that stretched from 1974 through to the end of 1992 – has drawn a remarkable 51-car entry that will return some of the most iconic cars from Bathurst’s history to the circuit. Headlining the class will be seven-time Bathurst 1000 champion Jim Richards, who will drive a Group C BMW 653 CSi – the car famous for introducing the Seven Network’s innovative ‘periscope’ camera to their coverage in 1983.
The six-cylinder BMW has recently been restored and will make its competitive return to the circuit for the first time in more than 30 years this Easter. The field includes current Touring Car Masters racer Carey McMahon (Nissan Skyline R32), Terry Lawler’s ex-GIO Racing Skyline GT-R, Ed Singleton in his ex-Allan Grice, STP / Roadways Racing VH Commodore Group C, Bill Pye in his ex-Dick Johnson Racing / Greens Tuff Ford Mustang, David Towe in a JPS BMW M3 and champion driver Mark Eddy racing an ex-Gibson Motorsport Skyline HR31.
The Gibson Motorsport brand will have a massive presence at the circuit with the team continuing to prepare and run the Nissan products that dominated the Bathurst 1000 in the early 1990s. The Heritage Touring Cars will contest three, 25-minute races across the weekend. Forty six cars will contest two one-hour NSW Production Touring Car races that bring the spirit of ‘race on Sunday, sell on Monday’ back to Bathurst.
The Production Car field includes everything from Mitsubishi’s famous Lancer EVO models to V8-powered HSVs and Toyota’s nimble 86 sports car. Amongst the competitive field entered, Dylan Thomas (EVO X), Adam Proctor (Subaru STi), the father-son combination of Shane and Rob Marshall (EVO X) and Matthew Holt (HSV GTS) are all expected to be contenders.
A 53-car Holden-versus-Ford battle will take on a series of sprint races for Australian Saloon Car Competitors, the grid featuring a host of national-level competitors taking on state racers from Victoria, West Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. Jason Leoncini, Travis Lindorff, Kane Baxter-Smith, two-time national champ Simon Tabinor and V8 Touring Cars racer Matt Palmer are all expected to feature.
In Group N, TCM racer Brad Tilley (Ford Mustang), Camaro racer Dean Neville and West Aussie Ford Mustang ace Darryl Hansen are likely to be standouts amongst a massive 50-car field of historic touring and sports cars from the 1960s and early 1970s. Fifty three cars will tackle a trio of races for the NSW Road Racing Club’s ‘combined sedans’ field, a step up to competitive racing for the club following several season of running an extremely popular regularity competition at the Bathurst Motor Festival.
The Porsche Club of NSW has received a capacity 55-car nomination for their regularity competition. The 2015 Bathurst Motor Festival will be held over the Easter Long weekend (April 3-5) and features three days of affordable on and off track excitement at the famous Mount Panorama circuit.
Entry to the circuit will be free to spectators with a bank note donation to official event charity, Legacy.
For more information about the 2015 Event please visit www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au