Two drivers involved in two of the best storylines from the 2016 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship are the latest to add their names to the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour field this February.
Tim Slade, who broke through for his maiden Supercars victories at Winton last May will be joined by Wilson Security Sandown 500 winner Warren Luff in a McLaren 650S GT3 entered by Objective Racing.
Luff won the dramatic Sandown enduro last year racing with Garth Tander, the pair sneaking home in front despite their HRT Commodore sporting a badly damaged front guard in the closing stages. Slade’s breakthrough Supercars win, racing for new team Brad Jones Racing, at the county Victorian circuit came after years of trying and prior stints at Stone Brothers Racing and Walkinshaw Racing.
Both have become experienced hands at the 12-Hour enduro and will be joined by Objective Racing team owner Tony Walls and experienced Supercars and GT ace Alex Davison in the four-driver squad.
Slade returns for his second drive with Walls in the McLaren – though an early race non-finish last year means the Freightliner Racing driver will be looking for a bit more seat time in 2017.
“The main aim I to go longer and get some laps in the race this year!” Slade said.
“It’s an event I really enjoy doing. It’s a mega track in a mega car especially with the amount of high-speed grip they have. It makes it pretty enjoyable.
“It’s also good to get some miles in a race car before our season starts. There’s not quite the same level of pressure at the 12-hour as there is starting the year in the Supercar at Clipsal and that makes it even more enjoyable.
“Tony leaves no expense spared which is always a nice feeling, coming into an operation like that. Andy (McElrea) runs a really good operation and from that perspective everything is as good as it could be.
“It will also be good to work with my old engineer, Wes McDougall, who was with me the entire time I was at SBR.”
Slade said the driving combination put the McLaren outfit in a strong position to challenge for the prestigious BRM Cronographes Pro/Am Cup this year.
“Tony did a really good job in the practice sessions last year and had some very quick times that made him one on of the quickest ‘Am’ guys out there. That gave us a lot of confidence going into the race,” he explained.
“Luffy drives the McLaren all the time and there’s no doubting his experience and speed. Alex is a proven guy and though he hasn’t driven the car it won’t take long for him to get up to speed.
“Our aim last year was to win ProAm and this year is no different.
“It’s a massive event with lots of factory teams and drivers. It’s very cool to be part of it.”