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BMWs Bathurst 12-Hour assault

By Scott Newman, 24 Oct 2016 News

BMW’s Bathurst 12-Hour assault

High-profile recruits spearhead BMW’s Bathurst 2017 campaign

BMW is planning a major tilt at the 2017 Bathurst 12-Hour title with an M6 GT3 piloted by three legendary Australian drivers.

In a move few would have seen coming, Tony Longhurst will be joined by Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall, the former arch rivals putting aside past differences for the prospect of success at an event that has now established itself as one of the premier endurance races in the world.

Skaife, ingall and longhurstWhile all three have retired from full-time racing, with a combined 10 Bathurst 1000 victories between them there is a wealth of Mount Panorama experience and with an extensive test program between now and the 2017 Bathurst 12-Hour all three expect to be fully up to speed.

The car will be run by Steven Richards Motorsport, who will run a second M6 GT3 for the team boss and a pair of as-yet unnamed drivers. The team has been running the car in this year’s Australian GT Championship, a challenging debut year bringing a best result so far of ninth.

Bmw racing teamFor long-time BMW driver Tony Longhurst, the 2017 12-Hour will neatly bookend his Bathurst career having made his Mountain debut in 1984 in a BMW 635i alongside Jim Richards. Longhurst won his first 1000 in 1988 alongside Tomas Mezera before adding another win with Skaife in 2001.

Only Peter Brock and Jim Richards have tasted more success at Bathurst than Skaife, who alongside Larry Perkins and Craig Lowndes has six Bathurst 1000 titles to his name along with five Australian Touring Car Championships.

Cup winnersRussell Ingall has the most recent experience of the three, retiring from full-time V8 Supercar competition at the end of 2015 but continuing in a co-driver role alongside Rick Kelly for the 2016 endurance season.

The 2017 Bathurst 12-Hour takes place from February 3-5.