Optus may throw money at Usain Bolt and Marky Mark and Thorpey, Telstra may throw money at Jessica Mauboy and Jimmy Barnes and Magda Szubanski, but Vodafone is throwing money at a car. Australia’s reddest telco is sponsoring a brand new BMW M6 GT3 to next year’s Bathurst 12 Hour alongside BMW Team SRM, and it looks mean.
It’s Vodafone’s first high-profile return to Mount Panorama since a 2011 stunt with F1 star Jenson Button and McLaren Mercedes, and the company will campaign with co-sponsor Castrol and Steve Richards Motorsport. The driver roster for this car is pretty damn serious, too — with 10 Bathurst 1000 wins across the three drivers in Mark Skaife, Russell Ingall and Tony Longhurst.
The M6 GT3 is a beast even sans livery. Race-prepped it runs a 4.4-litre twin-turbo V8 with peak power in the region of 436kW, body panels made entirely from carbon fibre and a full FIA-spec roll cage. You can buy one yourself if you’re especially keen, if you have a GT race series to run it in and you have multiple hundreds of thousands of dollars to throw away every race weekend.
The car’s in testing now to get its suspension and aero and drivetrain tuned as much as possible for the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour, which runs on the weekend of 3-5 February that year.