MARC Cars Australia has teamed with iconic Australian confectionary brand Darrell Lea for the launch of its first MARC Mazda 3 V8 that will compete at this weekend’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hours at Mount Panorama (February 6-8).
With support from the Tony Quinn-owned company and its Stix range of liquorice products, the new Mazda 3 V8 codenamed “Fuji” marks the Queensland-based team’s first step in expansion, which team owner Ryan McLeod says has been the primary goal since day one.
“Debuting the Mazda 3-bodied V8 cements what our aim has been all along, and that is to create the most sound, competitive and economic endurance race car platform that can compete under the guise of various manufacturers and body styles,” said McLeod.
The newly engineered MARC Mazda 3 V8 maintains the same 500hp, 5.0-litre Ford Coyote V8 engine package as the team’s three current MARC Ford Focus V8s. Those chassis, named “Amaroo”, “Bathurst” and “Catalunya”, originally debuted at the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour where they claimed a triple podium result. The team has since impressively taken class wins at the 24-hour endurance races of Zolder, Barcelona and most recently Dubai three weeks ago.
“The success that we’ve had with those Focus V8s in just 12 months has been beyond what we initially expected,” said McLeod. “But it’s also been a huge year of constant development to ensure we can grow as well. So to debut a new Mazda 3 bodyshell, to have the valued support from Tony Quinn and Darrell Lea, plus having all of our longterm MARC Cars drivers racing together who are just sensational, it’s the perfect way to begin the next chapter in the MARC Cars Australia story.”
The new #91 Mazda 3 V8 entry, with livery designed by ssMEDA, will debut in the hands of foundation MARC Cars endurance driver Jake Camilleri, along with fellow endurance racer Keith Kassulke who was part of the winning entry at the 2015 24 Hours of Dubai, plus highly regarded international Ivo Breukers from the Netherlands who heads to Australia fresh from the Rolex 24 at Daytona, USA.
The reigning Bathurst Class I champion team will also field two MARC Ford Focus V8s, which includes the newly built #92 Castrol-backed “Estoril” chassis to be campaigned by car owner and MARC Cars class podium finisher Mick Benton, fellow team steerer Hadrian Morrall who makes his fourth Bathurst 12 Hour start this weekend, and former V8 Supercar team owner Tim Miles.
The #93 “Catalunya” chassis – which was recently air freighted from Dubai before being repaired and prepared for the Bathurst 12 Hour – will be driven by former Aussie Racing Cars champion Adam Gowans, V8 Supercars development series driver Garry Jacobson and Formula 3 ace Ben Gersekowski.
“Mechanically all the cars are the same, from the engine, the driveline, the floorpan etc, but they just have different body panels. The team at Pace Innovations has been instrumental since they started working on the Mazda 3 design back in September. From scanning the road version of the car, to getting all of the body panels spot on to attach to the race car chassis, it’s been a huge team effort.
“We’ll build more MARC Mazda 3 V8s in future as well as develop other body styles down the road. The possibilities are endless with the platform we’ve created so it’s an exciting time for the team,” said McLeod.
The 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour commences with opening practice this Friday, qualifying on Saturday and the 14th running of the 12 Hour race starting at 5:50am on Sunday. The event will be televised live and in it’s entirety on the Seven Network.
For more information on MARC Cars Australia head to www.marccars.com.au