Australian movie star Eric Bana will make a return to the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro this year.
The internationally renowned actor who has starred in such films as Chopper, Black Hawk Down, Hulk, Troy and Munich expressed his passion for cars in his 2009 movie Love the Beast, which he launched at last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
Mr Bana has competed in several Targa Tasmania events, the Porsche GT3 Challenge and Australian GT Championship, however the Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro has become the biggest race of the 41 year-old’s racing career.
The Melbourne born driver will return to the Event with 2009 teammates Tim Leahey and Peter Hill in the same Mitsubishi Evo X. Last year the team ran 6th in their class and 10th overall in their first Bathurst appearance and the team is hoping to better their result this year.
“At the end of the day we are better prepared than we were this time last year. Pete and Eric are a lot more advanced than they were last year and we are definitely in with a chance to win,” said Mr Leahey.
“Racing is relaxing for me now and doing it with Pete and Eric is great as we are close mates and it also gives us a chance to hang out.”
Mitsubishi is the reigning manufacturer, with Alan Heaphy’s Team Ralliart taking the last two Bathurst 12 Hour Enduro’s with Damien White and Rod Salmon at the wheel.
Sydney driver Bob Pearson is expected to enter a front running lineup in a two car Mitsubishi Evo X team, with a number of experienced Bathurst veterans to share the drive. Pearson has fully recovered from an accident during last years race and is keen to finish what he started 12 months ago.
BMW is expected to take the fight to Mitsubishi with the new 135i BMW joining the 2007 race winning 335i.
Also expected to be on the front row of the grid is the new Shelby Mustang GT500 to be driven by Melbourne hot shot Marcus Zukanovic. The car is unproven in race trim, however should be competitive given the horsepower and torque of the supercharged 5.4 litre V8 Ford. The car is undergoing final preparation at Zukanovics workshop in Melbourne. The driving line up for the Mustang is expected to be announced early next week, however odds on a well known International driver will be part of the team.
The Bathurst 12 Hour Showroom Enduro is also in its fourth year, with a grid of over 40 cars expected to compete. The race features production cars in a class structure representative of the mass road-going market. BMW, Mitsubishi, Ford, Holden, Nissan and Subaru are expected to compete for outright honors, while an Alternative Energy class is open to diesel, hybrid and LPG entries.
Prostate Cancer is the official charity of the event which runs from February 12 – 14. Tickets can be purchased by clicking on this link.