BEN COLLINS, famous for his role as ‘The Stig’ on worldwide smash TV show Top Gear, will join Maranello Motorsport in 2015 as the team seeks back-to-back victories in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The team has also confirmed that Tony D’Alberto will join Collins and Mika Salo in the Ferrari next February 6-8.
D’Alberto will brings significant Mount Panorama experience to the Maranello squad thanks to years of experience in the Bathurst 1000. He also raced a Maranello Motorsport Ferrari in the Townsville Australian GT round in July this year, winning a race with regular team driver John Bowe.
The Victorian was entered in the 2014 12-hour however did not start after his car was crashed in practice and withdrawn from the race.
British driver Collins has multiple LeMans 24 Hour starts to his credit and this year raced with RAM Racing in the World Endurance Championship, driving a Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 car.
Alongside his lengthy racing CV, Collins currently works as a TV presenter, author and highly-skilled stunt driver for several high-profile motion pictures, including the James Bond franchise.
Collins will make his second visit to Bathurst after competing in the 2009 Bathurst 1000 with Kelly Racing.
The pair are looking forward to joining Salo and the defending Bathurst 12-hour winners next February.
"The Le Mans 24 and Macau Guia Circuits are the most challenging and enjoyable tracks I’ve raced on, but Bathurst takes it to another level,” Collins said.
“To be racing in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour with reigning Champions Maranello Motorsport is a fantastic opportunity for me.
“Bathurst is intense because, like Macau, it punishes the slightest transgression, and like Le Mans your focus has to be impregnable for a lot of laps. I’ve loved racing the Ferrari 458 GT in the World Endurance Championship this year and I cannot wait to ride one over the mountain."
D’Alberto said he was keen to challenge for victory at Bathurst with the defending champions.
“I’m really grateful for opportunity to be with the reigning champion team. Maranello Motorsport has assembled a great line-up of drives which should make for an exciting event for us. I’m really pleased to be part of the event and the team.
“The Ferrari is a great car to drive and it’s good that I already have experience working with the team after working with them in Townsville earlier this year. It will be great to work with Mika and Ben to try and deliver a Bathurst win.”
Maranello Motorsport team owner Mark Coffey said he was pleased to secure a pair of experienced drivers to join his team’s bid for back-to-back Bathurst wins.
“With John Bowe and Peter Edwards moving over to the Flying B Racing Bentley program, we needed to make sure we could build a team that could ensure the Ferrari remained an outright contender in 2015,” he explained.
“When Ben contacted us we went very quickly from having never met before to having him locked in to the team. He’s been great to work with so far and we’re looking forward to have him as part of the team alongside Mika.
“It is very difficult to find drivers with both experience in Ferraris and at Mount Panorama and Ben ticks both boxes. He’s proven to be highly capable and has a lot of experience and we’re certain he’s the right guy to help take us back to the top of the podium.
“Tony’s record speaks for itself and in the last year he’s raced Ferrari’s in Australian GT and at Bathurst. He understands endurance racing and what is required and I know he’ll fit right in with Mika and Ben next February.
“We’re very confident that we have secured the three best possible drivers under the regulations that will help us return to the top of the podium. We want to win it more this year than we did coming into this year’s race!’
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour 2015 is proudly supported by the NSW Government through its tourism and major events agency Destination NSW.
Maranello Motorsport Team Release