Experienced team tackles Bathurst 12 Hour race
Legendary Australian race driver Tony Longhurst is confident his very experienced team is a realistic shot at victory in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race on Sunday 5 February.
The Gold Coast-based driver and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner said the driving line-up was the ultimate that could be assembled for the race, uniting former Formula 1 star Timo Glock with six-time Bathurst 1000 champion Mark Skaife and two-time winner Russell Ingall.
“This is potentially the strongest line-up of GT racers the world has ever seen,” said Tony, the brother of Riviera chairman and owner, Rodney Longhurst.
“Never before have so many Bathurst winners been in one team, let alone sharing a car … then to add Timo and his indisputable record in Formula 1, DTM racing in Europe and Sportscars, to the mix – it is a very strong combination,” he said.
“There is a real buzz leading up to the race and everyone I speak with – whether in racing or the marine industry – has been keeping a close eye on our development.”
The Bathurst 12 Hour race begins at 5.45am (Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time) on Sunday, with coverage continuing throughout the day, both on national television station 7mate and also internationally through the event’s live stream available at www.bathurst12hour.com.au.
Uniting Skaife and Ingall is remarkable given the pair is almost as famous for their longstanding rivalry as they are for their incredible on-track success.
“Who would have thought that myself and Mark Skaife would be pairing up together to do an endurance race? I would say nobody,” said Ingall who, incidentally, recently completed the repower and refurbishment of a Riviera M400.
“And when you look at someone like Tony Longhurst, who has been integral in putting this whole program together, and you look att he Bathurst wins between the three of us, you have a great team of people who know how to win Bathurst and are very passionate about racing – it’s going to be fantastic.”
Tony brings existing BMW heritage to the team, having won his class in the Bathurst 1000 in 1998 racing a BMW M3.
“It’s a long, long way. It’s a 12 Hour race, and it’s going to be a full field,” said Tony. “Twelve hours around Mount Panorama is a huge ask.”
Having only recently returned to competitive racing, Tony said the Bathurst 12 Hour is something of a full-circle journey from the beginnings of his career in the early 1980s.
“I started my career back in 1984 and this will be my last time at The Mountain,” he said. “And to do it with BMW, that’s very special for me. The best moments of my career have been in BMWs, but what a difference between the M6 GT3 and the 635 that I drove in 1984.
“It’s an amazing journey.”
Aside from his racing exploits, Tony is a passionate advocate for the Australian marine industry and has been spearheading the push to secure a Louis Vuitton Americas Cup World Series qualifying race to the Gold Coast.
His current BMW race car – which has major backing from Castrol Edge and Vodafone as well as the proud support of The Boat Works, Stefan Boating World, Club Marine Insurance, Alucobond, Gold Coast BMW and, of course, Riviera – will be on display at the Gold Coast International Boat Show & Marine Expo from 17-19 March here at the home of Riviera on Queensland’s Gold Coast.