BMW’s second works entry in February’s Bathurst 12 Hour to be piloted by Bathurst legends Mark Skaife, Russell Ingall and Tony Longhurst.
Pairing Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall behind the Fox Sports commentary desk already seemed like successfully blending oil and water, but BMW has today confirmed the two will share a car for the first time at the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour with fellow Bathurst legend Tony Longhurst.
The trio will drive a second works Steve Richards Motorsport M6 GT3, joining the BMW-backed car driven by fellow Bathurst legend Richards in this year’s Australian GT Championship. The two other drivers for the Richards entry are yet to be confirmed.
Backed by Castrol and Vodafone, testing for the second works car has already begun, with a comprehensive preparation program planned for the trio ahead of the February race.
Skaife and Ingall were long-time foes until their Fox partnership, stemming from an infamous on-track bingle during the final round of the 2003 V8 Supercars Championship at Eastern Creek, which ended Skaife’s race and championship hopes.
The incident is most famous for the footage of Skaife approaching the track on foot with a clenched fist the next time Ingall passed, with Ingall responding by swerving towards Skaife. Both drivers were heavily penalised and didn’t speak for a decade after.
Longhurst is not without trackside infamy himself, having planted a few fists in then-teammate (and still- seated) Paul Morris’ helmeted face in 1994 after an on-track collision.
Longhurst has the strongest BMW pedigree of the trio, racing Bavarian-branded cars in the Australian Touring Car Championship.
Skaife has won the 1000km Bathurst race held in October six times (1991, 92, 01, 02, 05,10), once paired with Longhurst (2001), while Ingall has two (1995, 97) 1000km winner’s trophies.
Longhurst is also a dual 1000km-winner (plus 1988), and won the 2009 12-hour race in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo production racer.
Longhurst also has the strongest BMW pedigree of the trio, racing Bavarian-branded cars in the Australian Touring Car Championship between 1984 and 1987 and winning the 1994 Australian Super Touring Championship aboard a 318i.
The 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour will take place at the famous Mount Panorama circuit on February 5, 2017.
Can Skaife, Ingall and Longhurst survive 12 hours of racing without any biffo? Tell us what you think in the comments below.