FIVE REASONS TO WATCH THE BATHURST 6 HOUR

Two Bathurst 6 Hour contenders sit in pit lane with the TCR support class runners. Pic: Supplied

EASTER weekend is Australian production car racing’s time to shine.

The Bathurst 6 Hour was one of many events cancelled due to COVID-19 last year and makes a welcome return this weekend.

Here’s five reasons why we’ll be tuning in…

An old school enduro

Those who yearn for the variety, class battles, big grids and unpredictability of Bathursts of old; this race is for you.

In many ways it has the feel of the early days of both the Bathurst 1000 and the 12 Hour, before those events evolved into the highly professional shows they are today.

The entry list for the 6 Hour is 61 cars deep. Yep, that’s more than double that of the modern 1000… and there’s eight class battles to keep an eye on.

There are 15 manufacturers represented – BMW, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Ford, FPV, Volkswagen, Audi, HSV, Holden, Renault, Mazda, Subaru, Toyota, KIA and Suzuki – and in some cases, multiple models within the brand.

Each car has its own strengths and weaknesses and it’s production car racing, so reliability is truly tested. Throw in a mix of pro and amateur drivers and the outcome is anything but predictable…

SVG’s Triple Crown chase

Van Gisbergen aboard the BMW M4 he’ll race this weekend. Pic: Supplied

Speaking of drivers, there are no shortage of interesting stories to highlight, but let’s start with the headline act.

Shane van Gisbergen is co-driving a BMW M4. Forget the broken collarbone, this guy has won in Supercars, open-wheelers and rally cars in recent months and would love to add a production car victory to his list.

As the reigning Bathurst 1000 and a past Bathurst 12 Hour winner, he’s also shooting to become just the second driver behind Paul Morris to sweep Bathurst’s unofficial ‘Triple Crown’.

Veteran John Bowe could also earn that honour this weekend, although he looms as rather more of an outside chance aboard a HSV GTS.

Van Gisbergen isn’t the only Supercars star to keep an eye on either. Tim Slade (BMW M3) and Brodie Kostecki (Ford Mustang) are also in the field, the latter sharing with Morris himself.

Familiar names return

Steven Ellery with his sons and one of his former V8 Supercars. Pic: National Motor Racing Museum

There are a few familiar names from past Bathurst 1000s making a return to Mount Panorama; some with their next generation in tow.

Three-time Great Race podium getter Steven Ellery will share a BMW M3 with sons Tristan and Dalton, 13 years after his final start in the 1000.

Like Ellery, another to come out of the woodwork for Bathurst is Cameron McLean, who returns to racing to share one of the new Ford Mustangs in the field.

McLean made 12 starts in the Bathurst 1000 from 1997-2007, scoring four top-five finishes without a podium. Can he finally climb the rostrum on Sunday?

Two more sons of a Great Race veteran are tackling the 6 Hour for a good cause with Ben and Michael Kavich flying the flag for Race for a Cure, a charity founded by Ben’s wife Toula after her breast cancer diagnosis following the 2016-edition of the 6 Hour.

Ben and Michael are the sons of Tony Kavich, who campaigned a succession of Yellow Pages-backed Mazdas and Commodores in touring car racing in the 1980s – and Yellow Pages will again grace the panels of their #15 Mitsubishi.

And how good’s this? Jason Bargwanna and cousin Scott are fielding their two sons, Ben and Jude, in a VW Golf GTi almost 30 years after teaming up to win their class in the Great Race aboard a Toyota Corolla.

The undercard

Garth Tander will compete in the TCR and GT support races. Pic: Supplied

While the production cars take top billing, this is a multi-category race meeting with some big-ticket support races.

Chief among them is the Bathurst debut of TCR, which brings with it a heap of intrigue as to how the two-litre touring cars will fare at Mount Panorama, including what ultimate lap times they can produce.

Trans Am and Australian GT also continue their seasons this weekend; the latter providing a much-needed fix of Bathurst GT3 action following the cancellation of February’s annual Bathurst 12 Hour due to COVID-19.

Historic Touring Cars, Excels and the Radical Cup complete the program.

It’s on free to air…

The entire Bathurst 6 Hour will be televised live and free on 7mate on Sunday.

Between free-to-air TV and online streaming there will be in excess of 17 hours of live coverage across Saturday and Sunday.

The coverage will be headed by Mark Beretta, commentators Greg Rust, Matt Naulty and Richard Craill and the pit lane reporting team of Chris Stubbs, David Reynolds, Brad Hodge and Jess Dane.

TV details are as follows. Note: The 7plus coverage can be viewed through its dedicated app or directly via the www.7plus.com.au/ website.

The Bathurst 6 Hour gets underway at 11:15am local time on Sunday.

Saturday, 3 April
7mate
10:00am – 13:00pm – Includes TransAm Race 1 & 2, TCR Australia Races 1 & 2 and Hyundai Excels Race 3 

7plus
10:00am – 13:00pm – Includes TransAm Race 1 & 2, TCR Australia Races 1 & 2 and Hyundai Excels Race 3 
14:00pm – 17:30pm – includes GT World Challenge Race 1, Historic Touring Cars, Radical Australia and Bathurst 6 Hour qualifying. 

Sunday, 4 April

7mate:
10:00am – 17:30pm – Includes TCR Australia Race 3 & the 2021 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour

7plus:
08:00am – 17:30pm – Exclusive morning coverage includes TransAm Race 3 and GT World Challenge Race 2. 

Entry List: 2021 Bathurst 6 Hour

Car #ClassDriver ADriver BDriver CCar
1XBeric LyntonTim Leahey BMW M3
2EDavid WorrellAndrew McMaster Mazda 3 SP25
3CNicholas McLeodBen McLeodCameron McLeodHolden HSV Astra VXR
4A1Anthony SooleDylan Thomas BMW M4
5CDoug WestwoodCody Gillis BMW M3
6A1Rod SalmonSteve McLaughlanNeale MustonMercedes-Benz A45
7A2Tony QuinnGrant DenyerTim MilesFord Mustang GT
8XBradley CarrTim Slade BMW M3
9A1Hadrian MorrallTyler Mecklem Mitsubishi Lancer EVO
11DMitchell MaddrenMathew PayneMurray DowsettSubaru BRZ
13CColin OsborneRick Bates Renault Megane
14DLachlan MineeffThomas Sargent Toyota 86 GTS
15A1Michael KavichBen Kavich Mitsubishi Lancer EVO RS
16A2Jason SimesAnthony Levitt Mercedes-Benz AMG C63
17A1Jessy BryanCody DonaldAngelo MouzourisBMW M1
18A2Graeme MuirJamie Hodgson Holden HSV GTS
19A1Jimmy VernonMark Griffith Mitsubishi Lancer EVO RS
20CRobin LaceyMatilda MravicicPeter LaceyVW Scirocco
21XSimon HodgesMark Caine BMW M4
23A2Michael JamesAntonio AstutiRyan SuhleHolden HSV GTS
24DGraeme HeathDavid HassallStephen StockdaleToyota 86 GTS
25A2Coleby CowhamLindsay Kearns Ford Mustang GT
27XGrant SherrinDavid Russell BMW M4
28A2Bayley HallSteve HayCameron McLeanFord Mustang GT
29A2Darren ForrestPaul Razum Holden HSV R8 Clubsport
30A2Steve PittmanCraig BairdScott CameronHolden HSV VE
31CJosh HaynesKaide Lehmann Renault Megane
33A1Aaron McGillMichael Caine Ford Falcon GT-F
34XChristopher ManleyCalum Jones BMW M3
35EBrianna WilsonJake LougherPhilip AlexanderMazda 3-SP25
36DJames HollowayMichael HollowayDavid BrownToyota Celica
40B2James HeringtonArthur TsovolosDrew RussellHolden Commodore SSV
41XTony ViragJohn BoweBarry SternbeckHolden HSV GTS
42A1Garth WaldenMichael Auld Mercedes- Benz A45
43EMichael HoppSteve McHughMichael RiceSuzuki Swift Sport RS416
44A2Daniel CliftAshley Heffernan Holden HSV R8 Clubsport
45A1Michael SheargoldBrett HobsonOllie ShannonMercedes-Benz AMG
46EIan CowleyDaniel NatoliMatt ThewisSuzuki Swift Sport RS416
47CJohn FitzgeraldScott TurnerUrs MullerBMW 130i
48B1Scott GoreKeith Bensley BMW 135i
49A2Tony AlfordKyle Alford Ford Mustang
50A1Cem YucelIain Salteri Volkswagen Golf R
51CChris HoldtMadeline StewartDavid LingHolden HSV Astra VXR
52A1Mark EddyDean Grant Audi TTRS
53A2Robert CoulthardTrevor Symonds Holden CSV Monaro
55A1Daniel FlanaganMerrick Malouf Mitsubishi Lancer EVO RS
57A1Dimitri AgathosMatthew Boylan Mitsubishi EVO X RS
59A1Ian GeekieAnthony CarolanGrant StephensonBMW 1M
64A2Chris LillisJosh MuggletonMathew HoltHolden HSV Clubsport R8
67A1Jeremy GrayBroc FeeneyStephen RobinsonFord GTF
71DBen BargwannaJude Bargwanna VW Golf GTi
73B2Matthew Forbes-WilsonAshley SeisunMichael FernsHolden SSV Lowndes
77A1Zac RaddatzJack Winter Mitsubishi EVO 9
78DJason WalshAlan LetcherBen CrosslandKIA Proceed
82B1Peter O’DonnellPeter JohnstonGarry MennellBMW 335i
84CJames HayPaul HansellPatrick NavinVW Scirocco
86DRichard MorkRic ShawTom ShawToyota 86 GTS
89CDavid KruszaJake Williams BMW 135i
95A2George MiedeckePaul MorrisBrodie KosteckiFord Mustang GT
97XShane SmollenRob RubisShane van GisbergenBMW M4
99XSteven ElleryTristan ElleryDalton ElleryBMW M3