THEY MAY BE FIGHTING for supremacy in the age-old Holden versus Ford battle, but the Saloon Cars racing at the 2011 Bathurst Motor Festival this Easter will now have something higher to aim for.
Saloon Car organisers have inaugurated the Ashley Cooper 2011 Bathurst Saloon Car Challenge, to honour the life of the former Saloon Car, Commodore Cup and V8 Supercar racer across the April 22-24 long weekend.
The series will support the 'Donate Life' cause, aiming to raise awareness about organ donation. As an organ donor, Cooper's organs helped save the lives of six people with differing illnesses following his untimely passing in a racing crash in 2008 - among them a six-year old Girl who received his liver.
"We have been in discussions with Donate Life to appear on the banners on all competing cars," Saloon Car organiser Wayne Patten explained.
"It's a good initiative that supports a great friend of Saloon Cars and Motorsport in general. Bobby McGee has been instrumental in putting this all together and we think it will add another level to what will already be a fantastic weekend of Saloon Car racing at Mount Panorama for the Bathurst Motor Festival."
An 'Ashley Cooper Dinner' will be held at Bathurst's Panthers League's club on Easter Saturday night, with heart transplant recipient Tony Warrener - the man behind the legendary Bathurst TAFE Smash Repair team - a guest speaker.
Warrener received a heart transplant in 1999 and recently retired from the Smash Repair program.
Saloon Cars feature six-cylinder Holden Commodores and Ford Falcons going doorhandle to doorhandle every lap in the classic Holden versus Ford battle that is iconic to Australian Motorsport.
Event organisers are expecting a capacity grid for the Bathurst Challenge, and whilst it will be a stand-alone Event several National Championship-contending drivers are expected to enter in what could be the strongest field of the year.
Meanwhile, car club displays are set to enhance the Bathurst Motor Festival Event with opportunities for proud owners to display their pride and joy's at the circuit across the three-day Event.
As well as the on-track action, featuring upwards of 300 vehicles in five race and two regularity categories, off track action will also make up a significant portion of the Festival giving patrons even more to see and do.
Those participating in Car Club displays will also have an opportunity to take place in a parade lap of the circuit itself.
Car Clubs interested in organising a display should contact the Event directly via the Event website.
The Bathurst Motor Festival will be held at Mount Panorama on April 22-24 and will feature a range of diverse racing and regularity categories, including the Aussie Racing Cars, Commodore Cup, NSW Production Sports Cars, Formula Ford 1600 and Saloon Cars, plus two regularity classes from the Porsche Club of NSW and the NSW Road Racing Club.
Entry to the Bathurst Motor Festival will be by 'bank note' donation - anything from $5 upwards - with proceeds going directly to the Cancer Council of New South Wales and their Relay for Life program.
Multiple positions for Event Volunteers are still available with information available via the Event website.