September 21, 2016 | General


THE FAST Mercedes-Benz AMG A45 that impressed in the early stages of the 2016 Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour event has been confirmed to return in 2017. Prepared and run by experienced outfit Garth Walden Racing, the super quick AMG hatchback was the first of its kind to race in Australia and despite ultimately failing to finish, performed superbly on its debut appearance last Easter.Driven by Garth Walden and Ben Porter, the car started second, set the fastest lap and led the race early before retiring after 48 laps.Walden has confirmed the car will return in 2017 following the impressive debut performance.”We are very keen to return and show what the car is capable of with a year’s worth of development and experience,” the Porsche Carrera Cup racer and World Time Attack champion said.”Ron (Searle, the car owner), myself and the whole team are keen to be back to show what it can do. The car went into the race this year with absolutely no testing and no development, so while it was disappointing to not finish thanks to the issues we had, it wasn’t a massive surprise.”We were still able to show how fast the car was and that it will be a really good thing for the race. With the work we’ve already put in it will be more reliable and a faster car.”The Garth Walden Racing team has already tested the car, seeking to understand the issues that cost them dearly in 2016.”A lot of the durability issues with modern Production Cars are electronic and that’s what hurt us this year,” Walden explained.”We’ve been in touch with Mercedes Benz in Germany and they are assisting in getting the problems sorted. There is a lot of potential to unlock in the car and we’re already so far ahead of where we were for the 2016 race. Having that preparation will be invaluable and it will be good to go into the race without having a car that was finished the week before!”Walden’s Sydney-based outfit will be busy with more than just the AMG A45 next Easter, already having locked in four different customer cars for their 2017 attack.”The team is going to be very busy and our customers have been keen to embrace this event and be part of it next year,” Walden said.”It’s great that so many people are interested in the race and we’re really looking forward to being part of it.”The interest in the race, which will double as a round of the Australian Production Car series in 2017, has seen teams commit to the construction of new vehicles with several new cars expected to be announced in the next few months.Entries remain open until 10 March next year, while Early Bird entries close at the end of September.Visit for more information.