Reigning Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom will join BMW Team SRM for the Bathurst 12 Hour, along with DTM champion Marco Wittmann and Formula 1 and DTM star Timo Glock.

The three new additions to the squad will be spread across the two entries. Glock will join Tony Longhurst, Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall in the ‘Bathurst Legends’ entry. Winterbottom and Wittmann, meanwhile, will be paired with team boss and lead driver Steve Richards in the #100 BMW Team SRM M6 GT3.

Both Wittmann and Glock join through the team’s involvement with BMW Motorsport in Europe. Wittmann cut his teeth in Formula BMW in Europe before a three-year stint in European Formula 3. He returned to the brand as a GT driver and DTM test driver in 2012, before being promoted to a DTM race seat in 2013. Wittman went on to win his first DTM title in 2014, backing this up with a second championship in 2016 aboard the BMW M4 DTM.

Glock also started his career in Formula BMW, before a long stint in open-wheelers that saw him win a GP2 title and spend five seasons as a full-time Formula 1 driver. After leaving F1 at the end of the 2012 season, he joined BMW’s DTM program, where he has raced for the last four seasons.

Winterbottom joins the team as the reigning Supercars champion, having broken through for his maiden title with Prodrive Racing Australia last season. ‘Frosty’ and Richards have prior form at Bathurst, the pair teaming up to win the Bathurst 1000 back in 2013. His addition to the team takes the total number of Great Race wins across the two line-ups to 15.

QUOTES

Steve Richards:

“It's fantastic that we can announce three exceptional drivers are joining BMW Team SRM for our two-car assault on the 2017 Bathurst 12 hour. Frosty and I have past experience at Bathurst, and share a career highlight together with our win there in 2013. Since then has added a Supercars championship to his CV, so there’s no doubt he’ll help us be in the hunt for a great result in February.

“BMW Group Australia has connected us with BMW Motorsport in Europe to help facilitate the inclusion of recently-crowned DTM champion Marco Wittmann in our driving lineup. As a two-time DTM winner for BMW, and with his experience driving the BMW M6 GT3, he will bring a huge amount to the table at Bathurst.

“With Timo joining Tony, Skaifey and Russell, I couldn't have possibly asked for a better lineup for BMW Team SRM to head to our first Bathurst 12 hour with.”

Mark Winterbottom:

“This is my first Bathurst 12 Hour, which is exciting. GT3 cars are obviously very cool to drive, and having all-professional line-ups in the top cars really makes it feel like a proper race to me. It’s changed my whole view on it. To have all these well-credentialed drivers going at it for 12 Hours, that’s going to be very cool to be a part of.

“Steve and I have had a lot of cracks at Bathurst together. We won together in 2013, which was incredible. That was the last time we raced there together, so we’re coming off the back of a win, technically. ‘Richo’ is easy to drive with, and working with him will make it an enjoyable week. It’s good when you know someone and you’ve worked with them before. I really enjoyed all the times we raced at Bathurst together in the past, and that was one of the things that made the decision easy for me.”

Marco Wittmann: 

“It is very exciting for me to be making my first start at the Bathurst 12 Hour. I have never been to Australia before, so there are a lot of new things awaiting me. And I am really looking forward to them. At the moment, I only know the circuit from computer games. It is iconic, and it’s sure to be a lot of fun to drive. I can hardly wait to do my first laps there in the BMW M6 GT3.

“I already know the car very well from my GT outings at the Nürburgring and in Daytona, and hope that I can use my experience to help the team.”

Timo Glock:

“It is fantastic to be back racing in Australia after a few years away. I love the country and the people. I always travelled to Formula 1 races a week early, in order to do a bit of sightseeing. The Australian GP in Melbourne was my favourite race. I have not driven at Bathurst before, but the circuit is legendary. I am really looking forward to the challenge and my first race in the BMW M6 GT3. Hopefully we can get a good result for BMW and the team.”

Kia has announced details of a range of upgrades to the Soul compact SUV, and the introduction of a powerful new 150kW 1.6-litre T-GDI engine variant, the most powerful Soul ever engineered by the Korean brand.

The Soul has received a light update to its exterior and interior design, and is now available with new safety and infotainment technologies. The upgraded Soul and Soul 1.6 T-GDI will be available across Europe immediately after its public unveiling at the 2016 Paris Motor Show (Mondial de l’Automobile) on September 29.

Soup for the Soul: Kia launches new 150kW Soul 1.6 T-GDI 

Kia has introduced a new version of the Soul to the line-up – the new Soul 1.6 T-GDI. Powered by Kia’s 150kW 1.6-litre T-GDI (turbo gasoline direct injection) engine from the cee’d GT and pro_cee’d GT, the new Soul 1.6 T-GDI is the most powerful Soul that Kia has ever produced. With the new engine, the car will accelerate from 0-to-100 kph in 7.8 seconds, on to a top speed of 200 kph. Producing CO2 emissions of 156 g/km, the Soul 1.6 T-GDI is also capable of 6.9 L/100 km fuel efficiency.

The engine transmits its power to the front wheels through Kia’s advanced new seven-speed double-clutch transmission (7DCT), providing instant gear changes and decisive acceleration at all speeds. A new Drive Mode Selector – available across the Soul range on models equipped with the 7DCT – lets Soul T-GDI drivers switch between Normal, Eco and Sport modes, each subtly adapting the level of steering assistance available, to allow for normal, light or heavy steering depending on driver preference and driving conditions.

The Soul 1.6 T-GDI is differentiated from conventional models in the Soul range with a series of exterior modifications, including a bolder front bumper and air intake grille design, twin exhaust pipes at the rear, and its own 10-spoke 18-inch aluminium alloy wheel design. The model features the T-GDI engine badge on the tailgate, as well as a unique red Soul model logo. Completing the sportier appearance of the T-GDI model are red highlights to the front bumper and side sills.

Kia has also made changes to the interior of the Soul 1.6 T-GDI. The powerful new model features its own distinctive cabin colour scheme, with black cloth and leather upholstery paired with orange stitching. A D-shaped steering wheel and orange highlights throughout the cabin, including orange metal paint on the gearstick, add further purpose to the design of the Soul 1.6 T-GDI’s interior.

The Soul 1.6 T-GDI is available with larger optional brakes than the standard Soul. As standard, the car is fitted with 300 mm ventilated front discs, and is available with 320 mm discs. The solid rear discs remain the same size, at 262 mm in diameter. The revised brakes reduce the stopping distance of the Turbo model slightly, to 35.3 metres when stopping from 100 kph (down from 35.5 metres), with the changes primarily made to ensure fade-free braking power under consistent use.

Design and technology upgrades to the Kia Soul range

The Kia Soul range has received a series of upgrades to further enhance its appeal among buyers.

These include updates to its exterior appearance, with remodelled front and rear bumpers with a metallic skid plate for a more robust appearance. The Soul’s front bumper houses optional bi-function HID (high-intensity discharge) headlights with LED daytime running lights, and an updated finish to Kia’s signature ‘tiger-nose’ grille. The rear of the car features newly-designed fog lamps and reflectors for greater illumination for following road users. The upgraded Soul is available with three new metallic exterior paint finishes – Mysterious Blue, Russet Brown, and Wild Orange – with white contrast roof and door mirror caps available with Mysterious Blue and Russet Brown. Buyers can specify optional new 10-spoke 16- and 17-inch aluminium alloy wheel designs.

In the cabin, the upgraded Soul benefits from the introduction of unique cloth upholstery, available with a single or two-tone colour scheme (black, black and grey, black and brown). The ambience of the cabin has also been enhanced with the introduction of new gloss black and metallic highlights and switchgear. In addition, buyers can choose a new Orange design pack, which features orange-and-grey upholstery, grey stitching and orange highlights throughout the cabin.

New exterior customisation options are open to buyers, with new ‘Urban Active’ and ‘Red Zone’ design packs. Urban Active emphasises the car’s compact SUV credentials, with a series of cosmetic enhancements including a gloss black finish to front and rear wheel arches, and a body kit for front and rear bumpers and side sills. The Red Zone pack provides owners with a set of red highlights to the grille, front and rear bumpers and sills, a red roof, and a small red rear spoiler.

New technologies will further enhance the appeal of the Soul, with buyers able to choose from Kia’s latest 5.0-, 7.0- or 8.0-inch colour touchscreen infotainment HMI (human-machine interface). The new HMI systems provide smartphone-style touchscreen control over the audio-visual navigation system, and is available with Apple CarPlay™ (for iPhone 5 or newer) and Android Auto™ (for Android 5.0 Lollipop or newer) for full smartphone integration. The new colour HMI systems also house a rear-view parking camera, and a new USB port has been added to the rear of the cabin, allowing back-seat passengers to charge mobile devices on the move.

The front passenger seat is also now available with eight-way power adjustment, and drivers can benefit from new rain-sensing windscreen wipers and, in models equipped with 7DCT, the new Drive Mode Selector. Safety is also improved in the Soul with the adoption of Blind Spot Detection (BSD) with Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA) for the first time, giving drivers better all-round visibility on motorways and during low-speed parking manoeuvres.

2017 Kia Soul and Soul 1.6 T-GDI on sale from beginning of October 

The upgraded Kia Soul and the new Soul 1.6 T-GDI will be available from Kia’s European dealer network following its unveiling in Paris, with the company’s unique 7-Year, 150,000 km warranty as standard.

Nissan has announced changes to its product line-up in the Australian market. As a result of a regular review of its passenger car line-up, Nissan has decided that there is no longer an adequate business case for offering Micra for sale in the Australian market. Nissan will also rationalise its Pulsar offering, concentrating on its Pulsar sedan models and removing the hatch grades from the Pulsar range.

The Patrol wagon (Y61) and Patrol cab chassis (UY61) have also now entered ‘run out’ phase, succeeded by the Patrol V8 (Y62) that launched in the Australian market in February 2013. Affected models remain on sale in Nissan dealerships across Australia, with the expectation that remaining stock will sell out in the latter part of the 2016 calendar year.

All three decisions are only relevant for the Australian market and do not affect any other Nissan markets globally.

“These decisions are in line with our commitment to running a robust business in Australia, led by strong products including QASHQAI, X-TRAIL and Navara,” said Nissan Motor Co. (Australia) Managing Director and CEO Richard Emery. “Complete after-sales service and technical support for the affected models will continue to be available from our Australian authorised dealer network. Nissan is committed to maintaining a strong and healthy business in Australia, which includes our national sales company, Nissan Financial Services, Nissan Casting Australia plant, field quality centre and motorsport activities.”

Nissan has confirmed that Alex Buncombe, Katsumasa Chiyo and Wolfgang Reip will return to Mount Panorama for the 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour race, driving for its NISMO Athlete Global Team. The trio will line-up in the #35 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 as the team seeks to build on the speed and potential shown at last year’s edition of the endurance event where Buncombe, Chiyo and Reip were joined by Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercar driver Rick Kelly in the team’s driver line-up. The 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour is one of the first events in an enormous year of motorsport for Nissan, with participation in top categories across the globe. 2014, also the 30th anniversary of NISMO, saw the manufacturer score 42 wins and 82 podiums globally, including championship victory for the factory NISMO team in the Super GT Championship with Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda in the #23 MOTUL AUTECH GT-R (Nissan GT-R NISMO GT500).

Last year’s Bathurst 12 Hour was the first time a factory-entered Nissan GT-R had raced at Bathurst since Mark Skaife and Jim Richards scored back-to-back Bathurst 1000 victories in 1991 and 1992.
Despite being the first attempt at the Bathurst 12 Hour, the strength and speed of both team and car was clear throughout the event, with the NISMO Athlete Global Team qualifying in fifth position in a quality field. After a solid start to the race, the car was unfortunately withdrawn after sustaining heavy damage in an incident at McPhillamy Park in the third hour of the race on lap 59.

Buncombe, the longest serving NISMO Athlete in Nissan’s global GT3 program that is also the training ground for Nissan GT Academy graduates, will be making his third Bathurst start in 12 months, having also teamed up with Todd Kelly in the Nissan Motorsport V8 Supercar team at last year’s Bathurst 1000. Buncombe also partnered Kelly at the Sandown 500 and Gold Coast 600 endurance events in 2014.

Chiyo returns to Mount Panorama with a wealth of new experience, having been based in Europe for most of 2014 as part of the Nissan GT Academy Team RJN squad in the Blancpain Endurance Series by virtue of the NISMO Global Driver Exchange program. Chiyo raced the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in major GT events such as the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Spa 24 Hours, Bathurst 12 Hour and Macau GT Cup. Chiyo is one of the young rising stars of Japanese motorsport, winning the Japanese Formula 3 Championship N Class title in 2011.
Reip, the 2012 Nissan GT Academy Europe winner, who enters only his third year of motorsport in 2015, is one of the shining examples of Nissan’s gamer-to-racer mantra. Despite having no motorsport experience just three years ago, the Belgian driver’s CV already includes feats such as driving the first fully-electric lap of Le Mans and second place at the 2014 British GT Championship event at his home circuit of Spa-Franchorchamps. The 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour will be held at the Mount Panorama circuit on 6-8 February 2015. Check YouTube for video content from the event and follow on Facebook at NISMO Australia.

Quotes

Alex Buncombe:
“I’m really looking forward to getting back to Bathurst. I feel we have some unfinished business there as we never got to show the full potential of the Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 in 2014,” said Buncombe.
“The circuit is simply amazing, like no other. You have to treat it with the upmost respect. My V8 Supercar experience from last year will put me in a better position this time so I can't wait to get back behind the wheel, especially as the flowing corners and long straights at Mount Panorama are just what the GT-R loves.
“The atmosphere at Mount Panorama is spectacular with the most enthusiastic fans I know. We showed very well last year in the running we had so my expectations are high - I would love to walk away with a podium.”

Katsumasa Chiyo:
“I’m really pleased to come back to the Bathurst 12 Hour race because last year our first challenge ended after only a couple of hours due to the big accident in my stint,” said Chiyo.
“I felt so sorry for the team. That’s why I’m really looking forward to racing again at Bathurst for the revenge.
“Unlike last year, I feel very confident because this isn’t my first time and I’ve learned a lot from last year. In addition, my team-mates Alex and ‘Wolfie’ are very trustable, we have good relationships and our team, NISMO Athlete Global Team, is very professional and reliable. But the only thing I’m sad about is that Rick can’t join this year due to a schedule clash.
“This event has many accidents during the race every year, so I think.it is one of the most difficult races. We definitely must drive carefully all the time, because we can’t know what will happen until the last second and we must be careful about kangaroos as well.
“Finally, I will do my best until finishing the race with all of the team for all our fans!”

Wolfgang Reip:
“Mount Panorama is one of the most magnificent tracks I have seen! It’s very difficult mentally; I would say it is as hard as the Nordschleife. I have raced on both and I would say that although Bathurst is shorter it is just as challenging,” said Reip.
“Racing at Bathurst as a European is a great feeling because not that many drivers get an opportunity like this during their career. It’s a privilege to be given that opportunity for the second time in a row alongside Alex and Chiyo.
“My expectations are always high for this event. We have a strong close-knit line-up and we can all push hard from the start. For sure it will be tough, due to the track itself and the amount of traffic we have to deal with but last year we were running in the Top 5 when the crash happened so we can expect at least as good as that. Let’s aim for a podium and we will see after 11 of the 12 hours where we are!”

Darren Cox - Global Head of Brand, Marketing & Sales, NISMO:
“It’s true that we have unfinished business at Mount Panorama,” said Cox.
“We want a good result in this historic event and we have a great team of people in place to make sure we meet our own high standards. It was important for us to give Al, Chiyo and Wolfie another shot at the Mountain and I think together they will get the best out of the GT-R.”

Jaguar has confirmed it will introduce an all-new model to the Jaguar line-up, to go on-sale in 2016, named the Jaguar F-PACE. Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar, commented: “We received such an overwhelmingly positive response to the C-X17 concept car last year that we just had to make it a reality.

“The Jaguar F-PACE, inspired by the F-TYPE, represents a perfectly judged balance of performance, style and practicality. It offers a unique combination of Jaguar sports car inspired exterior design, fused beautifully with a thoroughly practical and spacious luxury interior. The F-PACE is our family sports car.”

The Jaguar F-PACE couples class-leading interior space and exceptional on-road dynamics with five-seat usability to produce a true performance crossover. It will encapsulate everything that Jaguar stands for: beautiful design, precise handling, a supple ride, luxurious interior finishes and cutting-edge technology.

Speaking in Detroit, Andy Goss, Jaguar Land Rover Global Sales Director said: “In 2015 we will celebrate Jaguar’s 80th year. We have started it by announcing our first performance crossover which we consider to be the ultimate practical sports car - a car that builds on the marque’s founding ideals of Grace, Pace and Space to become one of the most innovative Jaguars we’ve ever developed. The F-PACE has now begun its engineering and development testing programme ahead of the new model going on sale in 2016.”

Further details of Jaguar’s all-new F-PACE will be revealed later this year