DOUBLE Bathurst 1000 winner Tony Longhurst will return to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour in 2018.
The Queenslander was confirmed yesterday to have ordered a BMW M4 GT4, with his car part of the first shipment of customer vehicles shipped from the BMW factory in Germany.
Longhurst’s car will be one of two initially coming to Australia, alongside the existing car already announced by Steve Richards’ BMW Team SRM.
Longhurst returned to Bathurst this year racing a Vodafone sponsored BMW M6 GT3 with Russell Ingall, Mark Skaife and Timo Glock.
The combination qualified in the top-10 and were running strongly in the race before finding the wall at the Dipper and ultimately retiring after 134 laps.
“The GT3 was hard to run and you need a cast of thousands to run it and with the GT4 we can run it up on a trailer and take to circuits for ride days to customers. That was particularly attractive,” Longhurst told Speedcafe.com.
“The first thing is to get through the Bathurst 12 Hour and I want to use it as a promotional tool for The Boat Works (Longhurst’s business).”
Longhurst also confirmed that third-generation driver Aaron Seton would join the squad for the 12-hour campaign.
The son of Touring Car hero Glenn Seton finished second in the Invitational class in this year’s event driving for MARC Cars Australia and has this year been racing in the one-make Toyota 86 series.
Both Australian-bound M4s are expected to arrive within two weeks.
“Today is a very special day for us. After intensive months of testing and development, the BMW M4 GT4 is now officially ready to race,” BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt said.
“I’m particularly pleased that we were able to deliver the first models to our customer teams at such an early stage. This means that our customers are now able to test the BMW M4 GT4 thoroughly and familiarize themselves with the car. This has laid the foundations to successful customer racing outings.”
GA and Grandstand Tickets and Camping remain on sale for the 2018 event, to be held between February 2-4.