Ingolstadt, February 1, 2016 – The Audi R8 LMS is facing a special challenge in Australia. In one of Audi Sport customer racing’s most important markets, the sports car will aim to continue its string of success in endurance racing. Following victories in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring and the Sepang 12 Hours last year, the GT3 sports car has already won the Dubai 24 Hours and the GTD class in the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona in 2016. On Sunday, February 7, the current generation of the R8 LMS will be tackling the Bathurst 12 Hour for the first time. The previous model clinched two victories there.
24 race cars from seven manufacturers are meeting in the most powerful class at Bathurst, with Audi being the most popular brand at the famous Mount Panorama circuit. Six customer teams will compete in a total of seven Audi R8 LMS race cars. No other manufacturer has as many cars in the field of the major Australian endurance race held on the challenging 6.213-kilometre roller-coaster track in New South Wales, and no other manufacturer has won there twice with a GT3 sports car.
“Since 2011, GT3 models have been permitted to form part of the field at Bathurst. A fierce competition has ensued ever since. During this time, Audi has impressed an increasing number of customers with its sports cars: they are no doubt excited about the upcoming premiere of the new car in Australia,” says Romolo Liebchen, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
Four different marques have won the 12-hour race in the past five years. Audi was victorious in 2011 and 2012, most recently with Team Phoenix Racing that will be on the grid again this year.
The livery of the Phoenix Audi takes its cue from the local Bathurst Wiradyuri Aboriginal Community, who contributed to the design. The goanna and the platypus are native animals to Australia, and feature prominently. The goanna is the Wiradyuri people’s totem, while the platypus is the most important dreaming story in the area. It is the first time a race car with an Australian Indigenous livery has ever competed in an international motorsport event.
Laurens Vanthoor (B) and Markus Winkelhock (D) – last year’s runners-up with a gap of just two seconds – are sharing the race car of the German team with local hero Alex Davison.
Among others, their challengers within the Audi brand lineup include Jamec Pem Racing, who won the Australian GT Championship last year. The squad is contesting the race with two new R8 LMS cars. In the cockpits: two-time Bathurst winner Christopher Mies, his German compatriot Christopher Haase and last year’s runner-up Marco Mapelli (I), plus Australians Steven McLaughlan and Garth Tander, who will be sharing driving duties with René Rast (D). The local Supabarn Supermarkets and Arris/GT Motorsport teams are relying on the new generation of the R8 LMS as well. Two of the proven previous models of the race car are completing the lineup of the brand with the four rings – Teams Hallmarc/Network Clothing and International Motorsport are contesting the event with the R8 LMS ultra.
Following the practice sessions on Friday, February 5 and qualifying on Saturday, February 6, the race will be held on Sunday, February 7, from 5:45 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. local time (7:45 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. CET).
Australian television channel Seven Network will be airing full-length coverage of the race, interested viewers around the globe can watch live streaming of the action on the internet: www.bathurst12hour.com.au
Updates will also be provided across the weekend on www.audimagazine.com.au
Audi teams at Bathurst
#2 Audi R8 LMS (Phoenix Racing)
Alex Davison/Laurens Vanthoor/Markus Winkelhock (AUS/B/D)
#3 Audi R8 LMS (Supabarn Supermarkets)
Shae Davies/James Koundouris/Theo Koundouris/Marcus Marshall (AUS/AUS/AUS/AUS)
#5 Audi R8 LMS (Arris/GT Motorsport/Pete & Co)
Nathan Antunes/Barton Mawer/Greg Taylor (AUS/AUS/AUS)
#9 Audi R8 LMS ultra (Hallmarc/Network Clothing)
Marc Cini/Mark Eddy/Christer Jöns (AUS/AUS/D)
#74 Audi R8 LMS (Jamec Pem Racing)
Christopher Haase/Marco Mapelli/Christopher Mies (D/I/D)
#75 Audi R8 LMS (Jamec Pem Racing)
Steven McLaughlan/René Rast/Garth Tander (AUS/D/AUS)
#82 Audi R8 LMS ultra (International Motorsport)
Rick Armstrong/Andrew Bagnall/Matt Halliday (NZ/NZ/NZ)