Early start on Sunday
Audi will aim to add a fourth win to its Bathurst 12 Hour tally at this weekend’s race.
The most successful brand in the modern era of the Bathurst 12 Hour, Audi will have seven teams at Mount Panorama this weekend looking to add another victory in the endurance classic.
10 May, 2022
A new date, new start time and new rules are all features of this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour after falling victim to COVID last year like so many other sporting events. The teams return to Australia’s most sacred motorsport venue – Mount Panorama – this weekend as opposed to early February as has been the timing in the past. With the new date comes an earlier start time of 5:15am for the race on Sunday that will see the contestants race in darkness for well over an hour – significantly longer than ever before. To help drivers and teams acclimatise to the longer ‘night’ segment of the race, this year’s 12 Hour will also see the introduction of night practice for the first time, with practice on Friday extending past sunset for the first time in the event’s history.
This year will also see changes to the make-up of teams which will mean the end of purely professional driver lineups. Professional drivers will team with amateurs, representing a slightly different dynamic on the track, while all-amateur teams (those with drivers who do not race full time) will also feature in the mix as they have in the past.
In 2022 the race will start at 5:15am, earlier than ever before and meaning the first hour and a half will be in darkness
A total of seven Audi R8 LMS GT3s will be racing at The Mountain this weekend
Audi has been a force at the Bathurst 12 Hour since racing in the GT3 era kicked off in 2011. Audi won the race that year with a classic 1-2 and then defended the title the following year.
“In 2011, we were a pioneer at the Bathurst 12 Hour as the first GT3 entrant,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “In the meantime, many international brands have followed us and thus contributed to the event’s rise to one of the world’s most important GT3 endurance races. With three victories at Bathurst, Audi is the most successful manufacturer in the modern era. Now, against the backdrop of Pro-Am regulations, we’re facing a new challenge just like our rivals.”
A total of seven Audi R8 LMS cars will take to The Mountain this weekend, six featuring Pro-am driver lineups and one in the Am classification. Audi Sport Team Valvoline will field two cars with Audi Sport professionals Nathanaël Berthon and Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde teaming up with privateer Brad Schumacher in the #74 R8 LMS. Markus Winkelhock will be back hunting for the win that has so far eluded him on previous visits to Bathurst, this time teaming with fellow Audi Sport driver, Ricardo Feller, and current GT World Challenge Australia title holder, South Australian Yasser Shahin in #777.
Marc Cini, Dean Fiore and Lee Holdsworth will be back in the #9 Hallmark R8, having enjoyed tremendous success in the past, while last year’s TCR Australia winner, Chaz Mostert, will swap an Audi RS 3 LMS for an R8 model, when he teams with Fraser Ross and Liam Talbot in the #65 Coinspot car. Another longtime privateer Audi campaigner, Tony Bates, will also be back, teaming up with supercars drivers, Dave Reynolds and Cam Waters in #24 TB Racing Audi, while fellow supercars driver and former Bathurst 1000 winner, Nick Percat, will join Mark Rosser and reigning S5000 Champion, Joey Mawson, in the #17 BRM entry.
Rounding out the Audi contingent are the only Audi privateers entered in the Am classification, with seasoned racers and Audi campaigners, James and Theo Koundouris teaming up with Dave Russell and Paul Stokell in the #47 Team Supabarn Audi.
Audi last won the Bathurst 12 Hour in 2018 with Robin Frijns, Stuart Leonard and Dries Vanthoor sharing driving duties in what was a race full of close racing and high drama from start to finish. Motorsport fans can expect plenty more of that this weekend with an impressive field entered in the event and the forecast of rain throughout, which will add another dimension both to the driving and the team strategies for the race.
The race will be televised on Channel Seven as well as on Fox Sports and Kayo for those not heading to the track. Practice gets underway on Friday, with more practice on Saturday and the Top 10 Shootout on Saturday afternoon. Racing for the main event gets underway at 5:15am.
With rain forecast for the entire weekend, the already challenging Mount Panorama layout will pose an even more daunting challenge for teams to overcome
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