TEAM NEWCASTLE READY FOR MOUNT PANORAMA RETURN

A MULTI-YEAR build-up will see Newcastle’s own racing team return to Mount Panorama this Easter.

‘Team Newcastle’ will field a VE Holden SSV Commodore in the 2020 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour as part of a bumper grid of 60-plus production cars set to contest the Easter Long Weekend classic in Bathurst.

Having contested the 2018 race only to be forced out with mechanical issues after just 41 laps, the squad has spent the last two years regrouping and planning their campaign for the 2020 race.

Backed by the Commodore Shop in Cardiff, owner James Herington will be joined by former Touring Car Masters racer Matt O’Brien and fellow Novocastrian Arthur Tsovolos aboard the Commodore this year.

Each have experience on the Mountain, while Herington and O’Brien were part of the 2018 attack.

“We’ve been contesting selected rounds of the New South Wales and Queensland Production Touring Car Series to prepare for Bathurst,” O’Brien said.

“We’ve been running selected endurance events for two years to fine-tune the car’s endurance ability, reliability and setup.

“It’s been a great chance to surround ourselves with the right people that can do the job come race weekend as well.

“We’re heading to Bathurst to give it everything we have and try and contest for a class victory. That’s the aim.”

The outfit’s Commodore SSV will contest the B2 class for high performance, rear-wheel drive – likely facing a host of similar opposition and a relatively level playing field.

In the meantime, they will be in the midst of what is building to be one of the largest grids in Bathurst’s long-distance racing history, with entries having topped the 60-car mark last week.

Entries remain open until March 6 with the previous record – 64 cars – likely under threat.

The Team Newcastle entry will be supported by a host of Newcastle-based businesses, including Commodore Shop, Mob Engines, Trick Signage, Guardian Fire Protection Services, Annex Biolube, Minelinx and Diff Trans.