THE LEGENDARY Team Schnitzer will return to Mount Panorama in 2018 with a factory supported BMW M6GT3 and a star driving squad.
Like the BMW Team SRM entry, the Schnitzer entry features a mix of Australian talent and BMW works drivers; Chaz Mostert to be joined by double DTM champion Marco Wittmann and Brazilian ace Augusto Farfus.
Schnitzer are one of the most successful German-based racing teams and have been mainstays of BMW’s racing enterprises for four decades.
The team has won multiple domestic and World Touring Car title, as well as a majority of the major 24-hour endurance races, including those a Spa Francorchamps, The Nurburgring and LeMans. They have run factory supported BMWs in the DTM in recent years.
2018 won’t mark their first Bathurst start, however, with the team competing in the 1987 Bathurst 1000 when it was part of the World Touring Car Championship calendar.
The team ran a pair of BMW M3s; Emanuele Pirro and Roberto Raviglia finishing 12th while the sister car of Markus Oesterich and Roland Ratzenberger failed to finish.
Mostert made a splash at last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour in a privately-run BMW M6 GT3 when he qualified on the front row and led the early stages of the race.
The Queenslander and 2014 Bathurst 1000 winner has since made factory supported appearances in an AAI Motorsports BMW M6 GT3 at Asian Le Mans Series rounds in China and Japan, as well the FIA GT World Cup in Macau.
“I’m pumped to be heading back to the Bathurst 12 Hour and to be back in a BMW M6 GT3. To be doing it with such an iconic team and with a driver line-up that strong is incredible,” Mostert said.
“It’s a real honour, because I know that there are top level GT drivers all over the world doing their best to get on the Bathurst grid. I worked hard to get some more GT miles in my schedule this year, so hopefully that will be a bit of a leg-up for Bathurst too.
“These endurance events aren’t about being the quickest car out of the gate, it’s about us doing a solid job as a team, having the car prepped as well as possible, and settling on a set-up that will look after the tyres and brakes.
“It’s a bit like the Bathurst 1000; there are 99 things that can go wrong to everyone that goes right.
“We’re looking forward to having a red-hot crack. It’ll be awesome to try and get that trophy for BMW.”
Wittmann was another driver to star at last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, narrowly missing out on a front-row starting spot himself with the third-best time in the Pirelli Top 10 Shootout.
“I am really looking forward to racing at the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia again,” he said.
“For me it will be my first race of 2018. Last year, it definitely was one of the highlights of my season, a really cool experience.
“I think that last year we have been pretty competitive and the performance of the BMW M6 GT3 was very strong. We hope to be as strong again this year, and to maybe have a little bit more luck and to fight for a top result.
“I will travel to Australia in a very optimistic mood and am looking forward to a great start to the new year.”
Farfus, meanwhile, will be making his Bathurst debut, although he does have long-distance runs on the board after finishing second at the 24 Hours of Daytona back in 2015.
“It is an honour for me to drive in Bathurst. It will be my first participation in the Bathurst 12 Hour, and my second time in Australia,” he said.
“As I heard from many drivers, Bathurst is one of the coolest circuits in the world, so it will be a nice and big challenge for me.
“With Marco and Chaz in the car we have a really strong line-up, so I am really looking forward to it. I think that the track might suit our car, last year the BMW M6 GT3 had a strong pace there. Overall, I can’t wait to get there!”
The BMW Team SRM M6 GT3 driver line-up will be spearheaded by team owner and lead driver Steve Richards. The four-time Bathurst 1000 winner will be joined by ex-Formula 1 driver and DTM superstar Timo Glock, and Blancpain Endurance Cup race winner Phillip Eng.