BMW will return to the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2017 with a two-car works team managed by Steve Richards of Team SRM.
That’s not the only big-name taking part however, with Richards announcing previous Bathurst legends Mark Skaife, Russell Ingall, and Tony Longhurst as drivers for the 2017 race.
The trophy tally for the three drivers totals ten Bathurst 1000 wins, but their history is not without its rocky patches.
Ingall and Skaife’s 2003 Eastern Creek on-track altercation saw Skaife collecting a wall and wrecking his car after a collision with Ingall - on the following lap Ingall swerved towards Skaife, intensifying the situation.
According to the drivers that’s all in the past now. “It’s a very exciting project. It’s one of those things that came out of nowhere, really. Mark Skaife, winner of six Bathurst 1000s said.
“Who would have thought I’d have a teammate like Russell Ingall at some stage, and to be re- joining Tony Longhurst after winning in 2001 is fantastic.”
Team boss Steve Richards revealed that his team had begun discussions with BMW 12 months ago to the day of the announcement.
“I’m pretty excited by what this program has rolled out inside the last 12 months, and we go to Bathurst obviously looking to get on the podium, so it’s going to be a great effort.” Richards said.
Tony Longhurst holds three Bathurst wins, two at the Bathurst 1000 and one at the 2009 Bathurst 12 Hour, with the 2017 race to be his last official Bathurst race.
“I started my career back in 1984 with Jim Richards, and this will be my last time at The Mountain with Steve Richards. That’s pretty neat. And to do it with BMW, that’s very special for me.” Longhurst said.
“The best moments of my career have been in BMWs, but what a difference between the M6 GT3 and the 635 that I drove in 1984. It’s an amazing journey.”
Two time Bathurst 1000 winner, and 2005 V8 Supercar champion Russell Ingall described the GT3 involvement as an opportunity he has been looking forward to.
“It’s something that’s been on my bucket-list, and I was disappointed not to drive the previous year, but all the stars aligned.” Ingall said.
Unveiled in Melbourne, the new ‘Bathurst Legends’ M6 GT3 has already begun testing (above), with preparations set to continue between now and the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour held from the 3rd to the 5th of February.