Steane Klose | Dec 15, 2011

In a return to the pre-V8 Supercar glory days, racing maestro Jim Richards is sliding back behind the wheel of one of his 1985 Championship-winning BMW 635 CSi cars at the 2012 Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport from March 9-11.

Richards will pilot the John Player Special team car against a field of former Group C and Group A touring cars from the 1970s and 1980s, in four Touring Car Revival races over the course of the weekend.

It will be his first race in a BMW for 24 years, that ‘other’ German performance car brand absorbing much of his attention following his retirement from touring car racing.

Participation in the Phillip Island Classic races is essential if drivers wish to qualify for major support category events (Group C and Group A Touring Cars) at the 2012 Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

The Australian F1 GP is being held the following week and ‘Gentleman Jim’ plans to be there with the 635 CSi.

“The BMW was a great car,” recalled Richards, who first drove the car in the final Surfers Paradise round of the 1982 Australian Touring Car Championship.

The Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport program will get underway on Friday March 9, with practice and qualifying for all categories.

jim richards bmw 02

There will be 33 events over the course of the weekend with up to 500 cars (a record number) expected to participate in the meeting.

The most popular categories to date include Production Sports Cars, with nearly 100 entries from Alfa Romeos, Corvettes, Lotus, MG V8s, Nissans, Panteras and Porsches, Historic Touring Cars, with more than 40 entries from pre-1973 cars so far and Regularity, with 75 entries for two separate groups.

A record grid of up to 38 high-powered open-wheeler racing cars, incorporating around 35 Formula 5000s and several former Formula One cars, is also expected, with entrants coming from as far afield as New Zealand, the USA, Canada and the UK.

The Phillip Island Classic Festival of Motorsport has been recognised internationally as one of the world’s greatest historic motorsport events.

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