SIX cars from the Australian Saloon Car ranks are set to revive the thrilling Holden versus Ford battle that Mount Panorama has come to expect over the past five decades when they race at the 2017 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour.
Entered in the invitational class, five Ford AU Falcons and a sole Holden VY Commodore will line up at the mountain, with a mix of experienced campaigners and Bathurst rookies set to hit the track.
2016 Bathurst 6 Hour Invitational Class champions Coleby Cowham and Lindsay Kearns will return to defend their title, this time aboard Cowham’s Escape Energy and Haymans Electrical Currumbin-supported Falcon.
“We'll be trying to do what we did last year and just pound around as fast and consistent as we can and see where we end up at the end of the race," said Cowham.
“There is a lot more competition this year in our class so it will be much harder."
Cowham and Kearns return to Bathurst for the second time this year, after they joined fellow Saloon Car racer Ashley Jarvis for the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour in a Porsche Cayman GT4, claiming third in class.
Jarvis will be joined again by brother Dion for the Easter Bathurst classic, and they are keen to make amends after engine issues put an end to their 2016 race after 29 laps in the Lighthouse Electrical AU Falcon. They will be assisted by their brother Brody Jarvis as crew chief and their father Paul Jarvis, who joins Bathurst rookie Bradley Carr in the RY.com.au AU Falcon.
“Excited is an understatement, it's been on my bucket list to race at Bathurst since I was a little kid," said Carr.
“The opportunity to compete in the 6 hour with such a talented list of teams and drivers is going to be a blast, especially having our own battle in class I between the fellow Saloon car entrants!"
Holden is represented by Victorian Warren Trewin, who lasy week launched an Air Force-themed livery on his VY Commodore supporting Legacy, a voluntary organisation caring for families of deceased Australian service men and women.
"This will be the first outing for this car after we started building it mid last year," explained Trewin after a series of test days assisted by Supercars endurance driver Chris Pither.
Trewin will be joined by New South Welshman Scott Cameron, both managing double duties over the weekend in the HQ Holden category.
"Both cars have Legacy onboard as well, so there maybe a bit of ‘slingshot engaged’ action down Conrod Straight if one of us needs a push."
Defending runner-up John McLeverty has retained his driver line-up, with brothers Michael and Brad Zacka joining him in the Zedtek Engineering AU Falcon. Meanwhile, Luke Andersen will be joined by second-generation Bathurst racer Chris Donnelly in the Property Mastermind Falcon.
The Saloon Car entrants form six of the 66-strong field to contest the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour across the Easter weekend, with the event doubling as the season opener for the 2017 Australian Production Car Series.