AUDI LIQUI-MOLY BATHURST 12-HOUR CONTENDERS
WITH the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour now just days away, we can confirm there will be four Audi R8-LMS Ultras battling it out in Class A for outright honours, along with two R8-LMS in Class B fighting off a horde of wailing Porsches. Since the launch of the Audi R8, various racing versions of the LMS and LMS Ultra have one a number of major endurance events, Class B at the Spa 24-hours, Class B at Zolder, plus the GT Class at the 24-hours of Daytona – and of course back-to-back wins at the 2011 and 2012 Bathurst 12-Hour. So let’s look at the form guide of the Audi R8-LMS teams along with the drivers that will be lining up on the grid for the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour.
CAR #3: 2013 Audi R8-LMS Ultra
TEAM: Having taken their Audi R8-LMS to victory lane in the Bathurst 12-hour in 2012 and again at the 2012 24 Hours of Nurburgring, the German based Phoenix Racing certainly know how to win endurance events. They are the only Audi team entering the latest, 2013-spec R8-LMS Ultra. This, combined with social media gossip regarding the pedigree of the team along with the depth of their driver line-up, indicates that they are the team to beat in 2014.
DRIVER 1: Rahel Frey // Sweden
Former Audi DTM racer with Team Phoenix (2011) and Audi Sport Team (2012). Also competed at 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2010
DRIVER 2: Rene Rast // Germany
Triple Porsche Supercup Champion, dual Porsche Carrera Cup champion (Germany) and also won the GT division of the 2012 24 Hours of Daytona
DRIVER 3: Laurens Vanthoor // Belgium
German F3 Champion (2009), FIA GT Series Champion for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT at Nogaro (2012) and in 2008 he was the youngest driver ever in the Macau Grand Prix – where he finished sixth.
Car #25: 2012 Audi R8-LMS Ultra
TEAM: Formed in 2009, United Autosports operates out of two basses; USA (Indianapolis) and UK (Leeds). The R8-LMS Ultra entered in this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour comes from their UK workshop and predominantly competes in the British GT Championship. That said, United have scored podiums in the 24 Hours of Spa, Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and the Macau Grand Prix. And have been successfully campaigning an Audi R8 LMS since 2011. This is United’s third attempt at the Bathurst enduro and have considerably bolstered their 2014 driver line-up with the signing of the legendary Markus Winkelhock – who is making his Bathurst debut. All-in-all a good chance for outright honours.
DRIVER 1: Markus Winkelhock // Germany
2012 GT1 World Champion, Ex F1 driver, won the 2012 Nurburgring 24 Hour in an Audi R8, along with the 2nd in GT class (GTD) at the 2014 Daytona 24-hours.
DRIVER 2: Mark Patterson // USA
Specialist endurance driver with experience in Blancpain Endurance series, LMP2 at 24 Hours of Le Mans, American Le Mans Series, Grand Am Sports Cars and European GT3.
DRIVER 3: Eric Lux // USA
Lux won the American Le Mans Series LMPC category in 2011 and raced in the ALMS LMP1 class in 2012. This is his second start at Bathurst.
CAR #5: 2012 Audi R8-LMS Ultra
TEAM: Outright winners in 2008, Skwirk Racing has entered one of the two Audi R8-LMSs prepared by noted Victorian workshop, Melbourne Performance Centre. This 2012-spec R8 LMS Ultra is the car Phoenix drove to outright victory in 2012 Bathurst 12-hour and is now being campaigned by two-time Bathurst 12-Hour Champion (2008 & 2009), Rod Salmon along with Liam Talbot, Jason Bright and Warren Luff – who scored a second in the 2011 12-Hour and was quicker in the Skwirk Audi during last year’s race than superstar, Craig Lowndes. The Skwirk R8-LMS has had a great lead-in to the 12-Hour taking out a victory at Highlands (New Zealand) at the end of the 2013 Australian GT Championship.
DRIVER 1: Rod Salmon// Australia
Two-time Bathurst 12-hour winner (2008 & 2009), currently competes in the Australian GT Championship.
DRIVER 2: Warren Luff // Australia
Winner 2013 V8 Supercars Pirtek Endurance Cup, 2002 and 2003 V8 ute Series Champion, Sandown 500 winner (2012) and Bathurst 1000 podium (2012). Competed in Nurburgring 24 Hour (1996), 2nd at 2011 Bathurst 12-Hour in an R8-LMS and currently competes in the Australian Carrera Cup Championship.
DRIVER 3: Jason Bright // Australia
Bathurst 1000 winner (1998), 1995 Formula Ford Champion, 1997 Australia Driver’s Champion in Formula Holden. Has been a full-time driver in the Australian V8 Supercar Championship for 15 seasons.
DRIVER 4: Liam Talbot // Australia
Winner of the 2013 SR3 Radical Championship and 2nd in the 2013 Highlands 101 lap endurance race. Currently competes in the Australian GT championship.
Car #9: 2012 Audi R8-LMS Ultra
TEAM: Another Audi R8-LMS Ultra out of Melbourne Performance Centre. The ace up the sleave for #9 R8-LMS is German maestro and back-to-back (2011 & 2012) Bathurst 12-Hour winner, Christopher Mies. Although the other teams look better on paper, the Network Clothing/Hallmarc has one of the most experienced 12-Hour teams, their Audi R8-LMS finished fifth last year and is a very competitive package (Edoardo Mortara piloted it to victory at the 2012 Macau Grand Prix). So they should definitely not be discounted.
DRIVER 1: Christopher Mies // Germany
Audi GT Factory driver, back-to-back (2011 & 2012) Bathurst 12-Hour winner in an Audi R8-LMS, won the Blancpain with WRT. Competes in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the ADAC GT Masters.
DRIVER 2: Mark Eddy // Australia
2011 Australian GT Champion in an Audi R8-LMS, including a race win at the Bathurst round during the 2011 season. Second at the 2011 Bathurst 12-Hour in an R8-LMS.
DRIVER 3: Marc Cini // Australia
Second in Class C at the 2007 Bathurst 12-Hour.
OAKLEY MOTORSPORTS/ROTEK RACING
Car #15: 2011 Audi R8-LMS
TEAM: With a driver line-up overflowing with endurance race wins, combined with being based at Nurburgring, you know this team understands endurance racing. Recent success includes outright honours at the USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill in December 2013 in an Audi TT RS, as well as podium finishes in the 24 Hours of Dubai and Rolex Daytona 24 Hour enduros earlier in 2014. They’re definitely in red-hot form at the moment and will have a red-hot go at outright honors at the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour.
DRIVER 1: Oliver Gavin // Great Britain
Four-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner (GT1 and GTS) and four-time American Le Mans (ALMS) Champion. British F3 Champion and has been racing Sportscars for 12 years.
DRIVER 2: Rob Huff // Great Britain
2012 FIA World Touring car Champion, second Bathurst outing in an R8-LMS. Won the 2013 USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill, 2nd 24 Hours Dubai and 2nd Prototype Challenge Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona.
DRIVER 3: Richard Meins // Great Britain
Third in Class C at the 2011 Bathurst 12-Hour.
DRIVER 4: Kevin Gleason // USA
Won the 2013 USAF 25 Hours of Thunderhill.
CAR #71: 2011 Audi R8-LMS
TEAM: Winners of the 2012 GT Trophy class in the Australian GT Championship and the second of the two LMS R8’s fielded by Melbourne Performance Centre. Although this is a 2011-spec R8-LMS, it’s proven to be extremely reliable, finishing tenth in last year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour and placing higher overall than a number of the faster 2013-spec GT3 racers in the Australian GT Championship. They should be very competitive in Class B and may well make it into the top ten again in 2014.
DRIVER 1: Dean Koutsoumidis // Australia
GT Trophy Class Champion in the 2012 Australian GT Championship, Third in the Victorian Sports Car Championship in 2009. Currently campaigns an R8-LMS in the Australian GT Championship.
DRIVER 2: Dean Fiore // Australia
Western Australian Formula Ford Champion (2002 & 2003) and 2nd Porsche Carrera Cup (2008). Joining the Lukas Dumbrell V8 Supercar team in 2014.
DRIVER 3: Dean Grant// Australia
Second in the 2010 Australian GT Championship, third in the 2010 Australian Tourist Trophy and second in Class C at the 2007 Bathurst 12-Hour. Long-time GT competitor.
DRIVER 4: Michael Loccisano // Australia
Runner up in the Australian GT Championship (GT Challenge Class) in 2010 and 2009.
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The Mountain – The Race – The Magic
February 7th-9th, 2014