TWO BATHURST BROTHERS will team up to tackle the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour next Easter.
Local lads Blake Aubin, 22 and Kyle Aubin, 18, are the sons of Bathurst Regional Councillor and experienced racer Warren Aubin and were one of the first teams to submit an entry for Bathurst Motor Festival’s new showpiece race.
In doing so they will ensure that endurance racing at Mount Panorama returns to the days where privateer teams can realistically compete against bigger budget concerns without spending huge sums of money.
The Aubin family concern have entered a Renault Megane RS265 coupe and will race in Class C, for high performance front-wheel-drive vehicles.
“When I found out that there would be a six-hour production car race I went home and told the boys. They asked ‘can we go in it?’ and I didn’t think it would be that simple,” Warren Aubin said.
“They hang out for cars to be racing at Mt Panorama every year, it’s in their blood and I don’t think they ever thought they’d be able to race in a category at Mount Panorama.
“Turns out it really was that simple. This is an affordable way to go racing at Mount Panorama and for us to live our dreams of actually racing there.
“We’ve all grown up with it in our backyard and I raced in the Bathurst 12 Hour a few years ago because it was the goal of my life to race there.”
Aubin said the process to put together a Bathurst 6 Hour program has been relatively straightforward – and surprisingly affordable.
“We looked around for cars and settled on the Renault because it ticked all the boxes,” he explained.
“It’s a great car, a class contender and it’s relatively new and affordable for the performance it offers. The two boys put in together to buy the car and we’ve gone around to local business to get some sponsorship to run the event.
“Avis in Bathurst have sponsored us a tow vehicle and companies like the Bathurst RSL and Bathurst Real Estate have chipped in to make it happen. It really is a local concern.
“We’ve gone back to the grass roots and are doing things like running a raffle of products supplied by local businesses. We’ll be at both major shopping centres in Bathurst this December and January to sell tickets and raise some funds.
“This race really is open to anyone who has had the dream of racing at Mount Panorama.”
As well as putting together an appropriate vehicle and raising the funding to do the race, the Aubin boys have also had to gain the necessary licences that will enable them to compete at Mount Panorama.
Despite the fact that neither driver had any national level experience prior to this season, both will be properly licensed and qualified prior to the green lights on Sunday, 27 March next year.
“You have to race in three race meetings and then spend one race meeting on the flags before you can get off your ‘P’ plates,” Aubin explained.
“The boys have done a good job in the three races and they’ll actually be waving the flags at the 12-hour in February. Then they’ll be good to go.”
While at this stage only a two-driver concern, Aubin admitted that he’s working on getting himself back behind the wheel for the inaugural 6 Hour race and that either way the race would be a family and friends effort.
“I haven’t driven for a while so I’m chatting to CAMS about getting my license back. If I can I’ll probably have a drive but if not I’ll be the one in pit lane with the headset on and telling them to ‘drive faster’.
“A lot of the boys’ friends will be the pit crew. It’s a bonding session for mates and after the race is finished they’ll have a good time as well... if they finish!”
With the inaugural race already drawing more than 50 entries, Aubin – who is heavily involved in the promotion of the Mount Panorama facility thanks to his role within the Bathurst Regional Council – believes the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour is set to become another Bathurst classic.
“The race already has a lot of interest even though it’s the first time that it will be run,” he said.
“It’s going to become another iconic event on the calendar thanks to the format and the fact it really is returning endurance racing at Mount Panorama to its roots.
“People can associate with the cars they drive on the road with the ones on the track. It’s going to be a great thing and we can’t wait to be part of it.”
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour will be streamed live via the www.bathurstmotorfestival.com.au website with post-produced TV coverage to air on SBS Speedweek following the race.