Bathurst 12H: GWS Motorsport preview
GWS MOTORSPORT READY FOR BATHURST AND A BIG 2011
GWS MOTORSPORT have committed themselves to becoming the top Production Car racing team in the country this season after confirming their 2011 plans this week.
Not only will the BMW team run a strong three-car outfit in the forthcoming Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour, but the team will also contest the full 2011 Australian Manufacturers Championship for Production Cars with a two - and possibly three - car team.
The annual 12-hour endurance race at Bathurst offers the biggest challenge of the year for the team at the very first Event, however the driving squad assembled will be up to the challenge with a mix of speedy exuberance and endurance racing experience.
Sharing the GWS Personnel BMW 335i Turbo will be Parkes' Peter O'Donnell, V8 Touring Car regular Matt Hansen and experienced Touring Car and Commodore Cup racer Christian D'Agostin.
Car No. 28 is a two-time outright winner of the Armor All 12 Hour, including taking an upset win last year before being sold to GWS Motorsport, and will race in the High Performance - Production Class (D) next weekend.
The ever reliable BMW 130i entries in class E (Production Performance) will feature the combinations of Bruce Thomlinson, Geoff Fontaine and Richard Gartner in the #26 car, and experienced Production Car racer Allan Shephard, Geoff Fontaine and Historic Touring Car legend Paul Stubber in car no. 27.
Garry Menell from On Track Motorsport has again prepared all three vehicles ahead of the race and will provide the on-track support that has seen the outfit one of the best organised and most reliable outfits in the field.
Now into his fourth year of Production Car Racing, GWS Motorsports Peter O'Donnell - who finished 2nd in Class B of the 2010 Australian Manufacturers Championship - said he was confident the team would put up a strong fight on the Mountain once again.
"We have spent the last three months preparing the cars and getting everything ready for this race. The cars look fantastic and the driving line up we have secured is first class so we are feeling good about it," he said.
"It is shaping up to be a really exciting race. There aren't a lot of cars but we are up against some very strong Four-wheel drive Turbo cars in our class which will make it a great challenge. We know the capability and history of our car there and know what it is capable of.
"Garry and his team at On Track Motorsport have done a great job and we know that not only will the cars be reliable, but that we will have trouble free pit stops throughout the race and good strategy decisions, too.
"There are so many variables over the course of a 12 hour race at Bathurst. The GT cars will be very quick however if there is some inclement weather it brings the race back to us."
O'Donnell said the team was pleased to commit to the full championship so early in the season.
"As a rule we don't sit back and watch - we jump in and decide to go with something straight away and that's what we have done with the championship," He said.
"It will be an interesting year and we will wait and see how the competition stacks up, but we will run two cars at every round and possibly a third if we can find the right driver."
Well known Production car racer Allan Shephard, third in his class of last year's title race, will head up the combination driving the #27 Shire Conveyancer BMW 130i, and said the team has its sites firmly set on victory.
"There is a lot of experience in our team and we are aiming for a win in both classes," he said.
"In my car we have Paul Stubber and Garth Duffy driving with me. Paul and I have driven in the Nurburgring 24 hour and both the Bathurst 24 and 12 hour races so we know what it takes to win in races like this.
"We have a lot of experience with the 130i now and they have proved to be very easy to drive and very durable. Other than the other variables - like traffic - we know the cars are more than capable of doing the job."
GWS Motorsport will be supported by GWS Personnel, The Shire Conveyancer, Spinifex Australia and Carwash on Blaxland in their campaign to win at the Armor All Bathurst 12 hour.
-source: gws motorsport