USUALLY GWS Personnel Racing has been associated with Bathurst’s most enduring BMW 335i, the car that has done more laps and kilometres around Mt Panorama than any other.
The team will be back there again this weekend and again its drivers will share a BMW. But this time it is for the inaugural Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour race and the BMW is a 130i in Class C.
Team principle Peter O’Donnell will anchor the three driver team with two of his sons, James and Simon in a family affair. As usual the mountain assault will be overseen by Garry Mennell’s On Track Motorsport operation.
Out of the driver’s seat for some time, due to hip surgery, O’Donnell Senior is eager to again be racing. He has competed in six Bathurst 12 Hours with class podiums on five occasions after a win in 2009, a second in 2011, a third in 2012, a win in 2013 and second in 2014.
He has also had success in the Australian Manufacturers Championship, having been a long-time competitor in both the BMW 130i and the BMW 335i. “The 130 has been a great little car, very reliable, and will be a worthy class contender this Sunday,” he said.
“It will be a great introduction to endurance racing for James and Simon and what makes this so special is that I get to share the experience with them.”
James O’Donnell started his racing in 2014, with the Dubbo Kart Club. He scored a race win in his first race but laughing added, “There were only two in the race.” He started racing cars the following year, in the NSW Production Touring Car Championship, sharing the GWS Personnel BMW 130i with his brother, and that included two class victories.
“We have been in and around the pits since Dad got back into racing, being part of the refuelling guys, and assisting with driver changes. Having been in the pits for the past eight Bathurst 12 Hours, this will be the first time in the car and it is a dream come true it will be with our three O’Donnell names on the window,” James added.
Simon O’Donnell has been involved in karts and hillclimb in his early years. Then after spending some time out of the sport, he provided the link for his father to get back into motor racing in 2007 through one of his customers in Allan Shephard who raced an identical 130i.
I’ve been extremely proud of the achievements of Dad over the last eight years, especially the resilience displayed as not everything in motorsport is smooth sailing. It is now a dream come true to be able to race together with my two favourite race car drivers in the world Dad and Jimmy,” Simon said.
THE Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour enduro Easter Sunday has drawn over 50 entries and the diverse field includes representation from 13 different brands and more than 20 different vehicle models.
With twelve entries BMW is the best represented marque ahead of nine Mitsubishis, seven Holden Special Vehicles, six Toyotas and five Renaults.
The GWS Personnel Racing BMW 130i is competing in Performance Class C where it will be up against two BMW M3 E36s, one other BMW 130i, four Renault Meganes, and a Mazda RX8.
There will be two 50-minute practice sessions of Good Friday, at 8:30 am and 1:20 pm, another on Easter Saturday at 9:05 am and followed by two Qualifying sessions 2:50 pm and 4:00 pm.
The Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour will commence at noon on Easter Sunday and finish at 6:00 pm.