15 March 2022 | General

Triple Treat Suzuki Swift team aims for B6HR Podium Lock-Out

On the back of a double Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour Class E podium in 2021, Michael Hopp and Steve McHugh return to the mountain with three Suzuki Swift Sport entries to try and secure that top step this year.

New drivers, new combinations and a new naming rights sponsor with a livery that is aiming for gold – that’s the campaign for the Champ Suzuki Racing Team.

The popularity of the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour combined with the affordability of running in Class F (Compact) has seen an increase in demand, making the choice to run three Suzuki Swift Sport RS416, also know as the EZ model, very easy.

Car #155 – Steve McHugh, Michael Hopp and Daniel Natoli team up in the Suzuki that finished 2nd Class E in 2021.

Some minor improvements since last Bathurst 6 Hour with the car that Steve McHugh claimed 2021 Qld Production Cars Enduro, Sprint and Outright Class E Championships – and featured in Supercars Townsville Tin Tops coverage.

Michael Hopp paired up with Steve in the Endurance Series, finishing the series in 3rd after missing the Lakeside round due to a Tasmanian lockdown, allowing Ian Cowley to step in.

Daniel Natoli is bouncing back from a horrible crash in the Excel series last year and performed exceptionally well with Amar Sharma in a Ford Focus at the 2021 QPC QR300 night race, taking out a class win.

Car #255 – Ian Cowley, Matt Thewlis and new team member David Bailey – a long time racing partner with Matt Thewlis – team up in the car that finished 3rd Class E in 2021 despite suffering some engine troubles.

With the car all fixed and having a number of shakedowns, its ready to once again have the tag of the car to beat with this formidable combination.

Ian Cowley, a multiple Victorian Sports Sedan Champion and fresh from his drive at the recent Victorian Historic event at Phillip Island, is champing at the bit to get back in the Suzuki.

Late emergency call up saw Ian jump in the Suzuki at Lakeside last year for the 2nd Endurance round of the 2021 QPC Championship.

Matt Thewlis and David Bailey are fresh from their division win at the Wakefield 300 and are also looking forward to getting back in the Suzuki. Both drivers gave the Suzuki a shakedown at the recent Tampered Motorsport day at Sandown International Raceway.

Car #355 – Ian Aplin, Amar Sharma and Karlie Buccini – all new to the team and all rookies to tackle Mount Panorama for the first time.

Ian Aplin, part of the Victorian Sports Sedan scene, comes into the team to drive the Suzuki Swift Sport. The test day was a great opportunity to get used to the car and Ian thoroughly enjoyed himself.

“The car is comfortable, predictable and fast in the corners, bring on Bathurst,” Ian stated.

Amar Sharma is a regular in the QLD Excel Series and paired up with Daniel Natoli in the 2021 QPC QR300 Endurance round in a Ford Focus to claim a Class win.

Karlie Buccini an experienced and fierce competitor, is swapping the BMW she races in the QLD Production Car Series for the Suzuki Swift Sport at Bathurst.

“OMG, that was so much fun, so quick in the corners, I almost forgot how much fun the FWD cars are” Karlie said excitingly following her test day – comparing it to the Proton Satria she previously raced before moving to the BMW.

To be running three Suzuki Swift Sports is a massive undertaking and we cannot thank our partners enough; Champ Group, TEAM Group, Mackay Conveyor Equipment (MCE), Raceline, Motorsport Brakes, Field Mining Services, GTEHNIQ, Rally Spec and Petewell Engineering.

The 2022 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour will be staged at Mount Panorama between April 15-17, 2022.

Tickets, Camping and corporate tickets are now on sale – purchase online by clicking here.

The event will be shown live, ad-break free and on demand via Stan Sport.

(Team Media Release)