Pennells will go on a Mini mission

CONFIRMED ENTRANTS: Bathurst driver David Pennells and Orange’s Trevor Keene with the car they will drive in next year’s inaugural Bathurst 6 Hour race at Mount Panorama. Photo: Phil Blatch 112815pbsixhr3MOTOR SPORT

WHEN the inaugural Bathurst 6 Hour hits the track for the first time next Easter at Mount Panorama, there will be an incredibly large number of drivers from the local region competing in a variety of cars.

The latest to confirm he will compete is Bathurst’s David Pennells, who has joined forces with another Central West driver in Trevor Keene plus 27-year-old Sydney product Dominic Martens. They will drive Keene’s Mini Cooper S.

Pennells joins fellow Bathurst driver Terry Nightingale, who will run with Dylan Thomas in a CXC Global Mitsubishi Evo X, and Aubin brothers Blake and Kyle in their Renault Megane for the new endurance race.

Pennells is a long time motor racing tragic, having picked up the bug from in the early 1970s when he drove in Bathurst Light Car Club events in his own Morris Cooper S.

“Having grown up with the Bathurst 1000 in its very early days with Production Touring Cars and several classes, this six hour race is so similar and to get the opportunity to compete in it is really great,” Pennells said.

“I always loved the Porsche make of car, and have owned and competed in a Boxster, a Carrera S, 994 Turbo which was a dedicated race car, and now a GT3 and a very rare 996 Turbo S.”

He has competed in those cars at Sydney Motorsport Park, Wakefield Park and in Victoria at Sandown Raceway, Winton Raceway and Phillip Island.

Apart from the Porsches, the well known local builder also raced a Formula Ford in the 2013-14 state championship.

He is familiar with the Mount Panorama track, having raced there for several years in numerous regularity events in various Porsches, while in 2014 he competed in the Formula Ford races at the Bathurst 12 Hour weekend.

“When I first heard of the six hour race I thought ‘This is for me’. I saw it as a real challenge, something different, and really it looks like being a great race, and it’s on the best Bathurst race weekend,” Pennells said.

“Trevor [Keene] is pretty competitive, his record is great, and I look forward to driving with him. And being in a Cooper S will take me back to where it all began.”

A 51-year-old from Orange, Keene started racing in 1985 behind the wheel of an Improved Production Holden Gemini, before switching to Production Touring Cars in 2002. He raced a series of Toyotas (MR2, Celica and Corolla), a Mazda 3 MPS and then the Mini Cooper S.

More recently, he has been driving in the Pulsar Challenge where he has had a number of race and round wins.

Keene has gained an incredible amount of experience in endurance racing, having competed in the Nurburgring 24 Hour race and Bathurst 24 Hour in 2004 when he was part of the driving team in a Toyota Celica which won their class and finished 16th outright.

Keene has also had multiple Bathurst 12 Hour starts, his best finish being a first in class and seventh outright driving the Mini.

On top of that, the Orange driver posted a class win in the 2007 Australian Production Car Championship.

With 12 years of racing behind him, Martens fits in well with his co-drivers. All three have a wealth of experience, with a total of almost 70 years racing between them.

The team manager will be Paul Nagle, former TAFE motor sport instructor in Bathurst.

It is expected another three Bathurst drivers will be confirmed entrants in the race soon.

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