TWO NEW additions to the 2018 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour support race program have been confirmed today.
Historic Formula Ford Racing and the increasingly popular Hyundai Excel one-make class will join the program next Easter (30 March – 1 April 2018), alongside regular Easter staples Group N Historic Touring Cars, Production Sports Cars and the Porsche Club of NSW Regularity.
2018 will mark the first time that Formula Ford racing has ventured to Mount Panorama since 2015, and the first for the purely historic class that caters for cars built up to 1989.
It is expected the Bathurst event will attract a full grid of cars from Australia and even some overseas entrants.
“It’s a great opportunity to showcase Historic Formula Ford, because it will be the first time there has been an all-historic race at Bathurst,” said Historic Formula Ford Australia Secretary Scott Blake.
“Historic cars have run in the past alongside the modern cars, but this time the historic vehicles will be in the spotlight.”
Three classes of Historic Formula Fords will be eligible to participate: Fa (pre-1978), Fb (1978-1983) and Fc (1984-1989) eras. All cars are powered by the venerable 1600cc Kent Ford motor, which was a mainstay of all Formula Ford competition up until 2006.
The booming Series X3 Excel class will add another different dimension to the event, with the state-level category now featuring full grids in almost every state in Australia.
“We’ve worked really hard over the last few years to grow our competitor base in NSW, and Excel racing all of Australia has exploded in popularity over the last 24 months,” said Series X3 NSW President Michael Ridings.
“It really is becoming one of the most accessible options for competing in motorsport, and our competitors are thrilled to have the opportunity to compete at the undisputed Holy Grail of Australian motorsport.
“We are most grateful to James O’Brien and the entire Bathurst 6 Hour management team and can’t wait to arrive with a big field of cars and put on a spectacular show next Easter.”
Emily Duggan holds the fastest official time for a Hyundai Excel around Mount Panorama, recording a 3:00.674 at last year’s Challenge Bathurst event in November.
“I really enjoyed my first experience at Mount Panorama, dancing the car across the top of the Mountain was breathtaking and I fell in love with the circuit at first sight,” she said.
“I can’t wait to compete against a full field of Excel rivals – all the cars are extremely competitive and at a track like Bathurst it's going to be about smoothness and bravery across the top of the Mountain.”
Classic Touring Cars from the 1960s and 1970s will return to the Mountain in the form of the Group N Historic Touring Cars, with another full grid expected to compete.
“When people think about motor racing at Mount Panorama, Historic Touring Cars (Group N) immediately springs to mind,” said Category Manager, Nic van den Berg.
“These production type touring cars, manufactured prior to 31st December 1964, and touring cars of a make and model which competed in Australia between 1st January 1965 and 31st December 1972, when Minis, Ford Cortinas, EH Holdens and the like, did battle with General Motors and Ford V8s at the Mount Panorama circuit.
“Iconic vehicles from the era will be competing at the HiTec Oils event in 2018, with an expected full grid of 55 cars, coming from all corners of Australia.
“Competitors, including the likes of Tilley, Stubbard, Neville, Macri, Mann and Whiteside will do battle on Australia’s premier racing circuit.”
While Group N, Historic Formula Ford and the Excels will each feature three sprint races, the return of Production Sports Cars to the Mountain will see an exotic field of Sports and GT vehicles contest a pair of one-hour enduro races.
The Porsche Club of NSW will also return with a full field of competitors looking to challenge themselves by competing against the clock in their regularity competition.
The bumper support program will lead into the third running of the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour to run on Easter Sunday.