PAUL Morris has done more laps of Mount Panorama than he would care to count, but when he began his preparations for the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour he felt like a newcomer.
Morris will join Morgan Haber and Chaz Mostert in a MARC Cars Australia BMW M6 GT3 at next February’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
He got a chance to get a feel for the BMW during the inaugural Challenge Bathurst, contesting the Group B Lightning Sprints on Thursday and Friday.
“It was my first time in the car, so I was just having a drive around really,” he said.
“For us it is just a matter of getting familiar with everything. It’s a completely new thing, so I will slowly creep along with it.
“I felt a little bit like a fish out of water, but you’ve just got to tell yourself to push yourself … I am just soaking it all in.”
Though Morris is still familiarising himself with the BMW, he is no stranger to being a team-mate of Mostert’s.
Two years ago the pair pulled off one of the more remarkable wins in the history of the Bathurst 1000 as they came from last to claim the chequered flag.
“That was a life changing experience for sure, Chaz got a win his second time here and I said to him ‘Mate I have been doing this for 25 years, so enjoy it, it might never happen again’,” Morris said.
“We have been working on the 12 Hour deal for about a month now, it’s great to be able to come here with Morgan and Chaz, they are two young guys who are really fast, so I think we are a chance of getting the result.”
While Mostert will be making his 12 Hour GT debut at the February 3-5 event, Haber earned a class podium at the Mount earlier this year in a MARC entry alongside Jake Camilleri and Aaron Seton.
Morris is a two-time outright Bathurst 12 Hour winner, having stood on the top of the podium in 2007 and 2010. Both those successes came behind the wheel of a BMW 335i – a very different car to the M6 GT3.
Changing the Bathurst 12 into a GT event and the class structure which offers chances to both professional drivers and part-timers is something Morris believes will ensure a strong future for the event.
“The manufacturer interest is really good, the fact that you have got BMW and Audi and Ferrari – those companies actively using motor sport to promote their road car range is great,” he said.