Here’s a selection of wallpaper shots, compiled following this year’s rain-soaked Bathurst 12 Hour event. Enjoy.
With final entries confirmed and, few days remaining until green, Australia’s fledgling Bathurst 12 Hour event is preparing for the 2012 edition of what is rapidly becoming an early season fixture in global endurance racing.
Sporting an increase in the quality and, quantity of competitors, the event’s organisers have once again lured entries of significant substance from both Australia, and further abroad; with teams from the Netherlands, Germany, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom having committed entries.
Although multiple factors (e.g. conflicting event schedules, business interests) have inhibited the event’s uptake of local competitors, in both GT and production touring classes, the 2012 event sees arguably the deepest, most diverse and, professional field in recent years.
With increased factory involvement in the fight for outright honours, and the emergence of multiple, high-calibre privateer entries, no less than four marques (Audi, Mercedes, Ferrari, Lamborghini) are represented in the battle for overall victory.
Returning to defend their 2011 title, reigning champions Audi will this time be represented via esteemed factory affiliate outfit, Phoenix Racing. Renowned for their consistent successes in Germany’s domestic touring and GT series, the Ernst Moser-led operation will make their circuit debut at the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour.
Although competing at Bathurst for the first time, Phoenix racing have enlisted the services of Audi’s successful core driving lineup from the 2011 12 hour; with Mies, O’Young, Lowndes, Luff and Eddy having been retained for the 2012 event.
Young AudiSport GT talent, Christer Jöns (widely known for exploits within ADAC GT) will partner Mies/O’Young in the #1 Audi; the 24-year old German assumes the position vacated by Marc Basseng’s omission; a change presumably enacted due to the event’s driver seeding regulations (stipulating a maximum of two ‘seeded’ or, professional drivers).
Bearing the most collectively experienced driving lineup (in regards to both circuit and vehicle knowledge), thoroughly proven machinery and, a record of consistent successes elsewhere, there remains little evidence to suggest Phoenix Racing won’t enter the 2012 Bathurst 12 Hour as firm contenders for outright victory.
Following a recent overall victory at the Dubai 24 Hour, German endurance outfit and Mercedes factory-affiliate, Black Falcon will also enter the 2012 event for the first time.
Headed by an entry consisting of drivers Jeroen Bleekemolen, Tim Slade, Peter Hackett, and Bret Curtis, the team’s primary lineup bears collective experiences in endurance (both GT and Prototype), touring, and open-wheel competition, contributing arguably the event’s most diversely skilled driving outfit.
Local drivers Slade (V8SC) and Hackett (AustralianGT) will significantly contribute valuable circuit knowledge to both the team, and fellow drivers, Bleekemolen and Curtis; both of whom will, despite lacking circuit knowledge, draw on their respective (and considerable) experience with similar endurance events.
Although fielding (two) entries of a collectively lesser experienced (and professional) nature than closest rivals Phoenix Racing, Black Falcon enter the 2012 event as a potential and, realistic threat to Audi’s established success at the 12 hour race.
Despite significant involvement on behalf of Audi (via Phoenix Racing) and Mercedes (via Black Falcon), increased commitment from a viciously competitive privateer contingent renders the potential for either marque to effortlessly secure outright victory considerably unlikely.
Representing the majority of the GT field, privateer runners enter the 2012 event against the collective might of both Audi and Mercedes factory (affiliate) outfits. Although entering a class overshadowed by the successful reputations of both Phoenix Racing and Black Falcon, multiple privateer squads enter the event with ample offensive capabilities afforded by both machinery and driving talent.
Local entries Maranello Motorsport, Lago Racing, and Consolidated Chem. Co. will spearhead an Australian assault on outright victory. While foreign privateer outfits Clearwater Racing (Malaysia) and United Autosports (Britain, United States) will also field single car Ferrari 458 and, Audi R8 LMS entries respectively, each with factory-afforded customer assistance.
Having enlisted the services of ace GT pairing, Allan Simonsen (Denmark) and Dominik Farnbacher (Germany), in addition local touring car legend John Bowe, Melbourne-based outfit Maranello motorsport has secured a lineup bearing considerable pace and circuit knowledge. With the squad fielding proven package in Ferrari’s 458 Italia, Maranello Motorsport emerges a significant contender for outright victory.
Queensland-based team, Lago Racing has also increased their level of commitment for the 2012 event. Following the achievement of a class (B) victory at the 2011 Bathurst 12 Hour, Lago Racing sought out proven GT3 machinery in the form of Reiter’s Lamborghini LP600 challenger. With the team having enlisted the services of talented local (V8SC development series) driver, David Russell, Lago Racing remains one of multiple local entries in contention for a well-placed finish.
Fielding the second of two (local) Lamborghini entries, Consolidated Chemical Co. will also enter a Reiter-developed package, the LP560 GT3. With a squad consisting of V8SC endurance driver, Cameron McConville and, endurance ace/Reiter factory driver, Peter Kox, the Ted Huglin-led outfit is one of many entries favoured for a top five finish.
Entering one of two Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 entries in the 2012 event, Malaysian-based outfit, Clearwater Racing emerge as a considerable threat to both factory and privateer competitors. With significant potential in the team’s lineup of Baird, Griffin, and team-owner Mok Weng Sun, Clearwater Racing enter the Bathurst 12 Hour as one of the higher fancied privateer entries.
Following competitive showings at both Dubai and Abu Dhabi 24 Hour events, Anglo-American team United Autosports will also make their Bathurst debut at the 2012 12 Hour event. Despite having recently purchased a pair of Mclaren MP4-12C chassis, the squad continues its (customer) relationship with Audi, via entering a single R8 LMS for drivers Patterson, Li, and Yu.
Renowned for star-powered appearances elsewhere, United Autosports will likely face difficulty with a lesser professionally (and, in regards to circuit knowledge) experienced lineup.
With the aforementioned entries fielding PRO/AM lineups, albeit in varying forms (as stipulated by event regulations), each outfit’s success relies on their ability to manage the capabilities of their respective designated (team-owner) amateur drivers. For certain outfits, this will no doubt present a significant hurdle. While others will likely approach the scenario with minimal difficulty.
Although represented to a lesser extent than in previous years, production-touring runners will collectively represent seven manufacturers (Holden, Ford, BMW, Mazda, Mini, SEAT, Subaru) across the event’s three touring categories. With BMW and Subaru entries emerging as likely favourites within their respective categories.
Despite a reported boycotting of the event having been coordinated by certain members of the local production-touring contingent (claimed to be the result of conflicting viewpoints concerning the event’s ethos), there remains a core group of confirmed, local touring teams, committed to providing an entertaining race for spectators.
Anglo-American sportscar squad, United AutoSports today announced details concerning their 2012 season programme. Within which, the team released details of plans to enter Australia’s Bathurst 12 hour event, in addition to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi 24 hour events.
News of the team’s continued utilisation of Audi’s R8 LMS GT3 chassis may come as a surprise to some. Given the squad’s well-documented dealings with McLaren, and previously announced plans to enter the marque’s recently released MP4-12C GT3 chassis in the 2012 Blancpain Endurance series. Despite this, the team has confirmed a single R8 LMS entry for the aforementioned events.
Details of expected driver lineups for each event are yet to be announced. Based on past appearances, and the team’s operating ethos, a lineup of high-profile runners is considered a reasonable expectation.
United AutoSports’ current competition portfolio spans British GT, FIA GT3, and Blancpain Endurance series, in addition to select endurance events across the world. The outfit most recently competed in the American Le Mans Series’ 14th annual Petit Le Mans event, securing an LMP2 class podium on its series, and LMP competition debut, with an OAK Pescarolo-Judd package.
The British-based outfit’s announcement of participation in the 2012 running of the Bathurst 12 hour arrives following the confirmation of multiple high calibre entries, ranging from Audi factory affiliate, Phoenix racing, to local privateer competitors, Maranello Motorsport. Additional manufacturers are reportedly evaluating participation at present.
The following statements were provided (in relation to the announcement) during an interview with Speed.com reporter, John Dagys:
UAS CEO and team owner, Zak Brown:
“We couldn’t find a better way of moving into our third year as a racing team than by competing in such classics as Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Bathurst; three exciting endurance events which are considered a ‘must do’ for any aspiring racer. It’s also a fitting way to continue our relationship with Audi into 2012.”
UAS Managing Director/co-owner, Richard Dean:
“United Autosports is a 52-week a year business and the goal is to have the top GT racing team in the world. In only two years United Autosports has built a reputation in which top drivers want to race with us, and now we’re offering them the opportunity to compete with our highly-motivated team, which is competing worldwide.
We want to have a dominant presence at every circuit we go to and these three exciting classic events are next on our calendar.”
- 1 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDi – Bernhard/Fässler
- 2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R18 TDi – McNish/Kristensen.
- 7 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Bourdais/Davidson.
- 8 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908 – Montagny/Sarrazin.
- 12 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Prost/Jani.
- 13 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Toyota – Belicchi/Boullion
- 15 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Moreau/Ragues.
- 16 Pescarolo Team – Pescarolo-Judd – Collard/Tinseau.
18 Guess Racing Europe – Lola B09/80 Coupé-Judd – Ebbesvik/Ducote/Marcelli.
- 23 MIK Corse – Zytek 09 – Cortes/Geri/Piccini.
- 26 SignaTech Nissan – Oreca03-Nissan – Mailleux/Ordoñez/Ayari.
- 33 Level 5 Motorsports – Lola-HPD – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa.
- 35 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Barlesi/Da Rocha/Lafargue.
- 36 RML – HPD ARX-01d – Newton/Erdos/Collins.
- 39 PeCom – Lola B11/40 – Judd – Companc/Russo/Kaffer.
- 40 Race Performance – Oreca 03-Judd – Frey/Meichtry/TBA.
- 41 Greaves Motorsport – Zytek Z11SN-Nissan – Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard.
- 42 Strakka Racing – HPD ARX-01d – Leventis/Watts/Kane.
- 43 RLR MSport – MG Lola EX265-Judd – Gates/Garofall/Philipps.
- 44 Extreme Limit AM Paris – Norma M200P-Judd – Rosier/Basso.
- 45 Boutsen Energy Racing – Oreca 03-Nissan – Kraihamer/De Crem.
- 46 TDS Racing – Oreca 03 – Nissan – Beche/Thiriet/Firth.
- 49 OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Nicolet/Hein.
- 51 AF Corse – Ferrari F458 Italia – Fisichella/Bruni.
- 55 BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 – Farfus/Müller.
- 56 BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 – Werner/Lamy.
- 58 Luxury Racing – Ferrari F458 Italia – Jakubowski/Beltoise.
- 59 Luxury Racing – Ferrari F458 Italia – Ortelli/Makowiecki.
- 64 Lotus JetAlliance – Lotus Evora – Slingerland/Rich/Lichtner-Hoyer.
- 65 Lotus JetAlliance – Lotus Evora – Rossiter/Mowlem/Hirschi.
- 66 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari F458 Italia – Bell/Walker.
- 71 AF Corse – Ferrari F458 Italia – Melo/Vilander.
- 75 ProSpeed Competition – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Goossens/Holzer.
- 76 IMSA Matmut – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Pilet/Henzler.
- 77 Felbermayr-Proton – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Lieb/Lietz.
- 79 JOTA – Aston Martin Vantage – Hancock/Dolan.
- 89 Hankook Team Farnbacher – Ferrari F458 Italia – Farnbacher/Simonsen.
- 50 Larbre Competition – Corvette C6-ZR1 – Bornhauser/Gardel/Canal.
- 57 Krohn Racing – Ferrari F430 – Krohn/Jönsson/Rugolo.
- 61 AF-Corse – Ferrari F430 – Perazzini/Cioci/Lémeret.
- 62 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 – Ehret/Lynn/Wills.
- 63 Proton Competition – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Long/Roda/Ried.
- 67 IMSA Matmut – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Narac/Armindo.
- 82 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 – Hummel/Christodoulou/Quaife.
- 88 Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 911 RSR (997) – Felbermayr Snr (!)/Felbermayr Jnr/Miller.
- 91 Hope Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Moro/Shanqi/Graves.
- 92 Neil Garner Motorsport – Oreca FLM-09 – Hartshorne/Keating/Keen.
- 93 Genoa Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Petersen/Julian/Zugel.
- 95 Pegasus Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Schultis/Simon/Schell.
- 99 JMB Racing – Oreca FLM-09 – Rodriguez/Menahem/TBA.
LMP1: 9 LMP2: 13 GTE-PRO: 14 GTE-AM: 8 FLM: 5 Total: 49.
After the intensity of Friday’s final qualifying session, any prediction that 2011 would be the tightest in recent history would be validated soon after. Although fraught with attrition, drama, searing intensity and many hours of caution periods, the event failed to disappoint.
Delivering stunning battles on virtually all fronts, the 2011 rendition of the race will likely be remembered for years to come as one of the closest-fought ever.
Intensity in the battle for outright honours was felt early for many at the head of the field. Audi’s hopes for defending victory suffered a massive blow during the early stages of the race.
Departure of the team’s #3 machine of McNish, Kristensen and Capello within the first hour, following a violent incident involving Luxury Racing’s Anthony Beltoise, had left many stunned. To the relief of all onlookers, McNish would walk away from the incident with little more than minor bruising.
A second horrific incident involving the #1 entry of reigning champion, Mike Rockenfeller and the #71 AF-Corse machine of Rob Kauffmann would occur during the eighth hour. The incident occurring as Rockenfeller attempted to pass Kauffmann on the high-speed section of the circuit between Mulsanne and Indianapolis.
Kauffmann later claimed the brightness of the R18’s headlights lead to his being unable to prepare for Rockenfeller’s attempted passing, and consequently made contact with the Audi driver at considerable speed. Rockenfeller would also escape from the wreckage uninjured – both incidents a testament to the build quality of Audi’s R18 chassis.
Later analysis of the incident led officials to believe the #71 was at fault. Although allowing the AF-Corse-run entry to continue, race officials would take action against Kauffmann, excluding the American driver from the remainder of the event. The #71 would later retire.
Following the subsequent retirement of reigning champions Rockenfeller, Dumas and Bernhard, Audi’s hopes for a tenth Le Mans victory lied solely on the shoulders of young driving trio Treluyer, Lotterer, and Fassler in the #2 machine.
Hassled by a full-strength Peugeot onslaught throughout the remainder of the race, Audi’s young trio seldom faltered. Electing to quadruple-stint its driving trio (3-4 hours) to minimise time spent in pitlane, the marque faced an epic battle against both the scale and fuel efficiency of Peugeot’s attack.
With the French manufacturer capable of 12 lap stints, and Audi often running 11 laps within the same period, differences in operating efficiency would often be justified through outright pace and daring tyre strategy.
Late race drives by Treluyer and Lotterer would particularly impress the scale of Audi’s undertaking. With both drivers navigating slower traffic in an almost-manic fashion, pushing the very limits of grip afforded by sections of the 13.6 km circuit.
Despite spirited efforts from the Peugeot onslaught the #2 would never stray far from the overall lead. For a short period onlookers remained silent as race officials summoned Audi #2 engineer, Leena Gade to the stewards office with a tone of urgency on Sunday morning. This would prove to be of little consequence.
Having been seemingly immune to periods of carnage affecting virtually all competitors, cracks began to appear in Peugeot’s then-unhampered showing.
As Peugeot’s efforts began to falter, the prospect of victory, regardless of how close, would begin to slip out of reach. Oreca’s privately-entered 908 HDi-FAP would prove first to stagger during the night. As rapid Frenchman, Loic Duval damaged the team’s chassis on Mulsanne. Only barely managing to limp the injured car back to pitlane for repairs.
This scenario was later repeated with little under three hours remaining, as Duval experienced a second spin at Indianapolis under dampening conditions, further damaging the rear of the chassis.
The manufacturer’s all French squad of Sarrazin, Montagny and Minassian in the #8 found themselves the recipients of a drive-through penalty for a lack of respect toward circuit limits during the early morning hours.
Shortly after the #7 car of Davidson, Wurz and Gene would be damaged in a late race incident at Indianapolis, inflicting injury to the nose of the chassis. Enthusiastic repair efforts allowed the #7 to secure a face-saving fourth overall. Only out-placing the damage-plagued efforts of Oreca, who would manage fifth overall – marginally ahead of highest placing petrol contenders.
As the sole, remaining Peugeot on the lead lap, Pagenaud, Bourdais and Lamy – arguably the marque’s least favoured entry, found themselves in a position of opportunity. With the driver cycle broken, Pagenaud would be ceded to take the #9 to the checkered.
Despite the employment of questionable tactics from Pagenaud’s sister cars in the dying stages of the race, the #2 Audi proved an unstoppable force. With Lotterer at the helm, the German marque powered to one of the closest and, with little doubt, most emotional finishes in the event’s 79 year history.
Lotterer ultimately taking victory over Pagenaud by a margin of 13.854 seconds, covering a distance of 355 laps. The win marking a record tenth victory for Audi (from twelve starts). Allowing the Ingolstadt-based marque to oust Ferrari as the second-most successful marque ever, in terms of overall victories.
A fierce battle would also be contested within the LMP1 petrol contingent, involving Le Mans Series regulars, Pescarolo and Rebellion. Despite a clear focus on operational efficiency, both squads would face off against one another in an intense duel, exchanging the lead on many occasions throughout the race.
Pescarolo’s prospects suffered a cruel blow in the later stages of the race. With long-time Pescarolo stalwart, Collard falling victim to a race-ending shunt through the Porsche curves within two hours of the finish.
Rebellion Racing’s remaining #12 Lola-Toyota of Jani, Prost, and Bleekemolen would inherit the position vacated by Pescarolo’s retirement. The squad going on to secure sixth overall to place highest of the LMP1 petrol runners.
Kronos Racing’s seventh overall finish salvaged much-needed pride for an otherwise underhanded showing from British manufacturer, Aston Martin. With both factory AMR entries having bowed out of the race within hour one.
Predictions of an attrition-fraught race for LMP2 runners would turn out be unfounded, with P2 entries providing an intriguing display of mechanical reliability over the duration of the event.
Much of the first twelve hours saw the class lead exchange hands between Oreca-Nissan entries of SignaTech and the Oreca factory, along with reigning LMP2 champions, Strakka Racing’s HPD entry.
As the race developed, favoured HPD-powered entries of Strakka, Level5 and RML experienced minor hindrances. Strakka’s demise ultimately brought about due to damage sustained to the car’s undertray and engine, the result of overzealous kerb usage employed by the team’s drivers.
Both SignaTech and Oreca would also face issues throughout the event. The latter retiring due to an arguably over-ambitious drive by French Oreca driver, Hallyday in the final hours.
Nissan’s P2 engine package turned to be an unpredicted star of the category. The Zytek-tuned engine package seeing British Team, Greaves Motorsport to its maiden class victory – affording both Nissan and Dunlop their first LMP2 triumphs at Le Mans.
Although likely costing the team a victory, SignaTech’s woes proved not to be terminal. Allowing the squad of Ayari, Mailleux, and Ordoñez to take the checkered second in LMP2. Rounding out a 1-2 finish for the Japanese auto-giant.
Level5 Motorsport trio of Tucker, Bouchut and Barbosa fought against several issues to secure third in class. Salvaging pride for HPD’s already challenging 2011 campaign.
Highlighted by heated exchanges between the Pratt & Miller Corvette outfit, AF-Corse and, of course BMW Motorsport – the now premier GT category of GTE received surprisingly little television coverage over the course of the event.
After blistering performances in the lead up to the race, and during qualifying, BMW Motorsport discovered that outright pace does not seal the deal.
Recurring difficulties and race incidents plagued the Schnitzer squad’s efforts. With both the #55/56 entries encountering issues on a number of occasions.
Having lead from pole in the early stages of the race, the team’s #56 entry of Priaulx, Hand, and (D) Müller would recover to secure a podium finish for the Bavarian marque, with third position in class. The team’s #55 sister car of Farfus, (J) Müller and Werner failed to finish.
Albeit lacking in single-lap pace, Porsche’s hopes for class victory suffered similar blows. Despite the presence of several all-professional runners within the field, the highest-placed Porsche entry of reigning GT(2) champions, Felbermayr-Proton #77 would finish fourth in class.
Fielding a two car Le Mans assault for the first time, North-American team Flying Lizards also encountered their fair share of difficulties, from tyre punctures to electrical wiring faults. The squad’s #80 GTE-PRO entry of Bergmeister, Long, and Luhr finished the event taking sixth in class. Despite technical hindrances.
Porsche’s luck (or lack of) would persist in the GTE-AM category. After having lead for much of the race, the class-leading #81 Flying Lizard entry of Neimann, Law, and Pumpelly succumbed to mechanical difficulties in the dying hours of the event.
For all the wrong, and right reasons the GT show was stolen by Corvette Racing’s Pratt & Miller-led operation. Having lead its class for most of the race, the US squad’s #74 entry of Magnussen, Gavin and Westbrook left the race in dramatic fashion during the final three hours.
Attempting to correct a corner exit leaving the Porsche curves, Magnussen collided with the #63 GTE-AM Felbermayr-Proton entry, with Felbermayr Snr then at the helm, making direct contact at a considerable speed with the drivers side door.
Magnussen would emerge unscathed. Much to the dismay of onlookers, Horst Felbermayr Snr – the oldest driver in the paddock – would slowly be removed from the battered Porsche chassis before exiting the circuit via ambulance.
Then second in class, AF-Corse inherited the GTE-PRO lead. To the dismay of Ferrari fans, this was short lived. Determined not to succumb to a second consecutive dramatic loss, Corvette’s chances for victory improved ten-fold courtesy of a hard-charging Milner in the remaining #73 P&M Corvette.
Milner’s recovery of the class lead soon after would be maintained, securing the US manufacturer’s maiden victory under GTE regulations at Le Mans.
Although providing the new 458 a podium finish on its La Sarthe debut, the #51 crew of Ferrari factory drivers Alesi, Fisichella, and Bruni were left to settle for second-placed finish.
Success at the hands of the Jack Leconte-lead #50 Larbre Corvette squad saw the achievement of a double victory for the US manufacturer. The squad’s French lineup of Bornhauser, Gardel, and Canal triumphant in the GTE-AM category. Affording Corvette consolation for the loss of its second factory machine.
Larbre Competition’s #70 GTE-AM Porsche entry also finished second in class. Rounding out a 1-2 finish for the outfit.
US team Robertson Racing finished third to secure a podium on debut. Also providing the FordGT its first podium at Le Mans in over 40 years.
Following a highly successful showing at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour event, V8SC regulars Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff are now set to etch another milestone to their already impressive list of achievements.
Having achieved a second-placed finish on their maiden appearance with Audi’s R8 GT3 chassis, the duo appear to have stamped quite an impression in the sportscar racing fraternity.
After successfully integrating with the AudiSport operation on their debut, both drivers have been selected for an additional appearance with the marque.
Despite originally being selected for the Bathurst 12 hour event on a standalone basis, the Australian pairing have now secured a further competitive outing with the AudiSport (Race Experience Team Joest) squad.
On this occasion the Australian duo will make their paired Nürburgring debut, competing in the SP9 (GT3) category within Germany’s highly-competitive VLN endurance series.
Despite Lowndes having never driven the Nürburgring, the event marks Luff’s third appearance at the legendary circuit. With Luff’s most recent, competitive outing having been with (the now down-scaled) Australian-based Juniper Racing, during the 2008 edition of the Nürburgring 24 hour event.
Lowndes and Luff will take command of the R8 LMS GT3 chassis once more, rejoining the Odenwald-based outfit for a four hour event at round four of the VLN (Langstreckenmeisterschaft) series this May (27/28).
Entries for the 2011 running of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup were today revealed. Announced during the lead up to the ACO’s unveiling ceremony for Le Mans 24 Hour entries, the 2011 ILMC entry list boasts a healthy field of 26 competitors, yielding both factory and privateer representation from eleven auto manufacturers.
Entry listings can be seen in full below.
- AudiSport Team Joest – Audi R18 – Timo Bernhard/Marcel Fässler.
- AudiSport Team Joest – Audi R18 – Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish.
- Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 – Anthony Davidson/TBA.
- Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 – Stephane Sarrazin/Franck Montagny.
- Hope Racing – Oreca 01-Lehmann – Steve Sacchia/Olivier Lombard.
- Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60-Toyota – Nicolas Prost/Neel Jani.
- OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Matthieu Lahaye/Guillaume Moreau.
- OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Richard Hein/Jacques Nicolet.
- Aston Martin Racing – AMR-ONE – Stefan Mücke/Darren Turner.
- Oreca-Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDI-FAP – Nicolas Lapierre/Loic Duval.
- SignaTech-Nissan – Oreca03-Nissan – Franck Mailleux/TBA.
- OAK Racing – OAK Pescarolo-Judd – Frederich Da Rocha/Patrice Lafarque.
- Level5 Motorsports – Lola B10/80-HPD Coupe – Scott Tucker/Christophe Bouchut.
- AF-Corse – Ferrari 458 Italia – Giancarlo Fisichella/Gianmaria Bruni.
- BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 E92 – Augusto Farfus/TBA.
- BMW Motorsport – BMW M3 E92 – Andy Priaulx/TBA.
- Luxury Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia – Francois Jakubowski/Anthony Beltoise.
- Luxury Racing – Ferrari 458 Italia – Stephane Ortelli/Frederic Makowiecki.
- Lotus Jet Alliance – Lotus Evora GT2 – Vitus Eckbert/TBA.
- Lotus Jet Alliance – Lotus Evora GT2 – Lukas Lichtner Hoyer/TBA.
- Larbre Competition – Chevrolet Corvette C6.R – Patrick Bornhauser/Julien Canal.
- Krohn Racing – Ferrari F430 GT2 – Tracy Krohn/Nicolas Jönsson.
- Gulf AMR Middle-East – Aston Martin Vantage – Fabien Giroix/Roald Goethe.
- AF-Corse – Ferrari F430 GT2 – Piergiuseppe Perazzini/Marco Cioci.
- CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 GT2 – Pierre Ehret/Shaun Lynn.
- Proton Competition – Porsche 997 GT3-RSR – Richard Lietz/Horst Felbermayr.
LMP1: 10 LMP2: 3 GTE-PRO: 7 GTE-AM: 6 Total: 26
The inaugural running of the overhauled Bathurst 12 Hour event concluded late Sunday afternoon and, despite initial negativity from the event’s touring car stalwarts, the mixed field of 27 GT and Touring competitors failed to disappoint.
With many fans claiming this year’s rendition of the event was ‘the best so far’, the subsequent influx of praise received from both local and global viewers is as good a sign as any event organisers may have struck the note its audience believe is worth expanding on.
Without the support and presence of Audi Race Experience Team Joest, the inaugural running of the overhauled event could arguably have turned out much differently.
After rounding out their 2010 season with a second-placed finish at the emerging Sepang 12 Hour event in Malaysia, the German squad, based in Odenwald, had committed two entries in the lead up the event and, like most factory outfits, brought with it an entourage of drivers and crew personnel, along with an armory of equipment and famous AudiSport hospitality for their Bathurst debut.
Although arriving at the event with what can be considered a venerable arsenal of driving talent in the crew of Mies, Basseng, O’Young, Lowndes, Luff and Eddy, the outfit faced a battle against both time and preparation.
Despite Joest’s factory driver contingent (Mies/Basseng/O’Young) having never driven the circuit, and Australian drivers Lowndes and Luff having never tested the R8 LMS GT3 before the event’s first practice session, the already seasoned Joest squad faced little difficulty acclimatising to their surroundings.
The team managed to achieve fastest times in both practice and qualifying sessions. Due to the abstract qualifying format used by event organisers to determine qualifying times (aggregated times) the #7 entry of Lowndes/Luff/Eddy secured outright pole, followed closely by the #8 sister entry of Basseng/Mies/O’Young taking second on the grid, leaving a gaggle of Porsche entries in their wake, lead by the #29 VIP PetFoods GT3-R entry of Craig Baird and Tony/Klark Quinn. The #29 would later be revealed as the sole thorn in the side of Joest’s efforts throughout the race.
Commencing at 6.15am local time (AEDST), both Joest entries soared to an early lead as many had expected. With the #7 car of Lowndes leading the field during the opening laps of the event before yielding to Basseng in the #8 sister car. Both drivers would run single stints on their first outing.
Joest would opt to return Lowndes and Basseng to pitlane for driver changes early during the second hour, ceding driving duties to Luff and Mies in what would later turn out to be a mammoth opening stint of over two hours for both drivers.
The opening stint for Mies and Luff saw both drivers adapt to their surroundings early, as anticipated. The duo often turning times seconds faster than their closest competitors.
Both Mies/Luff would achieve fastest overall times during the later stages of their stints. The 21 year old German and 2009 FIA-GT3 champion, Mies particularly impressing with his consistently aggressive driving style.
Mies and Luff would later pass control to Canadian ace, Darryl O’Young and Penfold AudiSport team owner, Mark Eddy, in their respective entries to complete the final change of hands in the first cycle of driver changes.
The event now in it’s fourth hour, the #8 of O’Young continued in the lead with Eddy in its wake. With the VIP GT3R entry of Baird in rapid pursuit, Eddy would later relinquish second position, allowing the 41-year old New Zealand national and local Porsche Motorsport stalwart to pursue the leading sister car of O’Young.
Despite O’Young still possessing a commanding lead, the VIP Porsche GT3R of Baird was able to gain significant ground on the Cananadian as both time, and double-stinted tyres wore on.
Baird was later able to capitalise on Joest’s rigidly defined pit strategy, placing the #29 in the overall lead. This pattern of changes would continue for much of the race.
The closing hours of the event saw tension rise across the paddock as several teams aimed to secure well-placed finishes or, in some cases maintain an on-track presence, in the case of both Freestone Corvette and EagleOne Lotus squads.
British GT regulars Lester/Simonsen experienced their fair share of misfortune throughout the day, encountering difficulties with their F430 entry on several occasions.
Racing incidents also plagued the efforts of locally entered contenders SupaBarn and Hallmarc Racing. With the #69 SupaBarn Porsche GT3 Cup S entry of J.Koundouris/T.Koundouris, and V8SC regular Steve Owen experiencing an early race altercation amongst several other incidents throughout the course of the 12 hour event.
The #12 HallMarc entry of local professionals Cini/Reynolds/Fiore suffered issues on multiple occasions throughout the race, including tyre blowouts and, during the later stages of the event, a race ending shunt on the hill-top section of the circuit known as ‘Skyline.’
Although remaining on the lead lap for over eleven hours and sharing the overall lead on occasion, the efforts of the #29 VIP GT3R entry would ultimately be undone as a result of an unfortunate oversight on the team’s behalf.
Having not served mandatory pit requirements (minimum of 12x 90sec+ stops for 2010+ GT3-spec machinery) the team would be forced to complete a final stop before taking the flag. The stop leading to the loss of a single lap against both Joest entries. Despite this, #29 VIP PetFoods squad would go on to round out a valiant effort by securing a well deserved third.
Following fault-free outings from both Eddy/Luff in the #7, and the #8 crew of Basseng/Mies, Joest delegated driving duties to Lowndes and O’Young for the closing stages of the race. During the final change over stop both Audis entered pitlane in 1-2 tandem, with Mies having maintained the lead up until the final stop.
After what had been a near infallible showing, O’Young would be cleared for exit before the sister car, with Lowndes now seated at the helm and, in an unfortunate turn of events vaguely reminiscent of Minassian’s Le Mans 2009 spin (within view of the Peugeot pit and hospitality area), the Canadian driver lost control of the #8, faltering at pitlane exit.
This incident saw Lowndes assume the race lead with less than one hour remaining. During this period, the five-time Bathurst 1000 winner would go on to set not only the fastest lap of the race, but of all sessions combined in the form of a 2:09.0861 (lap 267). Sending a clear message to both his team mates, and primary competition.
At this stage many had assumed the #8 (having served its pit requirements) would cruise to the finish. This however, would not be the case. With only fifteen minutes remaining, O’Young would be required to take more fuel in order to see the checkered.
Entering pitlane with only a 50sec margin over the #7 sister car, the #8 crew could spare only minimal time refueling. Fortunately for O’Young, this would prove to be a sufficient margin. Allowing the Canadian to re-enter the race with a ten second margin still in hand.
With less then ten minutes and the race more or less decided, both entries began winding down the remaining laps toward the checkered. As is customary for such finishes, O’Young and Lowndes assembled for a factory formation cruise to the checkered flag.
The victory not only marking Audi’s entry to the winners circle on their Bathurst debut, but as the first winners under new regulations. Etching another milestone to the marque’s already impressive list of achievements and laying down the gauntlet for potential vying manufacturers in future years.
Following months of rumours and intense speculation within the sportscar racing community, AudiSport today revealed its next generation LMP1 chassis, the R18 TDi.
After achieving nine victories utilising the advantages afforded by open-top roadsters, Audi’s launch of the R18 TDi marks the manufacturer’s second foray into the use of closed-cockpit prototypes, following the use (and subsequent shelving) of the R8C Coupe in 1999.
Manufactured by Dallara, Audi’s latest LMP chassis is quite clearly a product of evolution, utilising a similarly radical (albeit simplified), raised-nose flow design pioneered by its predecessor.
With 2011 LMP1 regulations stipulating the use of both smaller chassis and engines, the R18 arrives sporting a variety of improvements from shortened wheelbase to new engine package. As had been suggested by numerous sources, Audi has confirmed the use of a 3.7L V6 TDi powerplant and, although the nature of the cooling system would suggest the use of a twin-turbo system, this has not been officially confirmed.
Although finer design details were at first overshadowed by the mere revelation of an Audi coupe, a closer observation reveals the effort invested thus far, with updates having taken place on virtually all of the chassis’ viewable surface.
Sidewall height has been reduced, with rear wheel-archs now extended forward, protruding over what was previously occupied air-intake real estate. Due to the demand for increased mechanical grip, front tyre width has increased and, as a result wheel archs are now heightened and much more pronounced.
The expected addition of the now mandatory ‘sharkfin’ concept can be seen adorning the cars’ rear bodywork. Some form of additional practicality appears to have been achieved, with the fin attached to a now roof-mounted air intake system. The purpose of this modification is not yet known.
Adding to the growing list of overhauled components, halogen headlights have been removed in favour of LED lighting. Despite this, the LED-strip lighting that once adorned the surrounding area of any Audi’s headlights (a feature which became synonymous with the marque’s racing machinery) is no longer evident.
Despite the likely presence of an R18 in Florida during March, Audi has ruled out any possibility of a Sebring debut for its latest LMP. Electing to participate regardless, the team will utilise a modified version of its current R15+ chassis for the 12 hour event.
The R18 will instead make its first public track appearance at the reinstated Le Mans test day on April 24, its maiden competitive debut following shortly after at the 6H Spa on May 8, 2011.
Round five of the Le Mans Series sees the championship head to the Silverstone circuit for the final race of the season. Rounding off at a healthy 47 entries, the event will also play host to the opening round of the Intercontinental Cup.
Notable additions to the field include factory LMP1 entries from Audi, Peugeot, and AMR squads. GT2 sees the return of Schnitzer/BMW Motorsport and the appearance of the Gulf Team First Lamborghini LP560.
- 007 Aston Martin Racing – Lola Aston Martin – Adrian Fernandez / Harold Primat / Andrew Meyrick
- 008 Signature – Lola Aston Martin – Pierre Ragues / Franck Mailleux / Vanina Ickx
- 009 Aston Martin Racing – Lola Aston Martin – Juan Barazi / Sam Hancock
- 1 Team Peugeot Total – Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP – Anthony Davidson / Nicolas Minassian
- 11 Drayson Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Judd – Paul Drayson / Jonny Cocker
- 20 Team LNT – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Tony Burgess / Johnny Mowlem / Chris McMurry
- 4 Team Oreca Matmut – Peugeot 908 HDi FAP – Nicolas Lapierre / Stéphane Sarrazin
- 7 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15 TDI – Tom Kristensen / Allan McNish
- 8 Audi Sport Team Joest – Audi R15 TDI – Timo Bernhard / Dindo Capello
- 5 Beechdean Mansell – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Nigel Mansell / Leo Mansell / Greg Mansell
- 12 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Rebellion – Nicolas Prost / Neel Jani
- 13 Rebellion Racing – Lola B10/60 Coupé-Rebellion – Andrea Belicchi / Jean-Christophe Boullion
- 24 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Mathieu Lahaye / Jacques Nicolet
- 25 RML – Lola-HPD Coupé – Tommy Erdos / Mike Newton / Ben Collins
- 27 Race Performance – Radical SR9-Judd – Michel Frey / Chris Buncombe
- 29 Racing Box – Lola B09 Coupé-Judd – Piergiuseppe Perazzini / Marco Cioci / Luca Pirri
- 30 Racing Box – Lola B09 Coupé-Judd – Fabio Babini / Ferdinando Geri / Federico Leo
- 31 RLR msport – MG-Lola EX265-AER – Barry Gates / Rob Garofall / Simon Phillips
- 35 Oak Racing – Pescarolo-Judd – Richard Hein / Guillaume Moreau
- 36 Pegasus Racing – Courage-Oreca LC75-AER – Julien Schell /Frederic Da Rocha
- 39 KSM – Lola B08/47-Judd – Jean De Pourtales / Hideki Noda / Jonathan Kennard
- 40 Quifel – ASM Team – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Miguel Amaral / Olivier Pla
- 41 Team Bruichladdich – Ginetta-Zytek 09S – Karim Ojjeh / Tim Greaves / Thor-Christian Ebbesvik
- 42 Strakka Racing – HPD ARX-01 – Nick Leventis / Danny Watts / Jonny Kane
- 43 Dams – Formula Le Mans-Oreca 09 – Andrea Barlesi / Alessandro Cicognani / Gary Chalandon
- 44 Dams – Formula Le Mans-Oreca 09 – Jody Firth / Warren Hughes
- 45 Boutsen Energy Racing – Formula le Mans-Oreca 09 – Dominik Kraihamer / Nicolas De Crem / Bernard Delhez
- 46 JMB Racing – Formula Le Mans-Oreca-10 – Peter Kutemann / Maurice Basso / John Hartshorne
- 47 Hope Polevision Racing – Formula Le Mans – Luca Moro / Steve Zacchia / Olivier Lombard
- 48 Hope Polevision Racing – Formula Le Mans – Christophe Pillon / Vincent Capillaire / Nico Verdonck
- 49 Applewood Seven – Formula Le Mans-Oreca 09 – Damien Toulemonde / Mathias Beche
- 50 Larbre Competition – Saleen S7-R – Gabriele Gardel / Patrice Goueslard / Fernando Rees
- 66 Atlas FX-Team FS – Saleen S7-R – Carlo Van Dam / Zsolt Baumgartner / James Winslow
- 75 Prospeed Competition – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Marco Holzer / Richard Westbrook
- 76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Raymond Narac / Patrick Pilet
- 77 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Marc Lieb / Richard Lietz
- 78 BMW Team Schnitzer – BMW M3 – Jörg Müller / Dirk Werner
- 85 Spyker Squadron – Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R – Peter Dumbreck / Tom Coronel
- 88 Team Felbermayr Proton – Porsche 997 GT3 RSR – Martin Ragginger / Christian Ried / Romain Dumas
- 89 Hankook Team Farnbacher – Ferrari F430 GT – Dominik Farnbacher / Allan Simonsen
- 90 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 GT – Pierre Ehret / Phil Quaife / Pierre Kaffer
- 91 CRS Racing – Ferrari F430 GT – Andrew Kirkaldy / Tim Mullen
- 92 JMW Motorsport – Aston Martin V8 Vantage – Robert Bell / Darren Turner
- 94 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Luis Perez Companc / Matias Russo
- 95 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Giancarlo Fisichella / Toni Vilander / Jean Alesi
- 96 AF Corse – Ferrari F430 GT – Gianmaria Bruni / Jaime Melo
- 99 Gulf Team First – Lamborghini LP560 – Fabien Giroix / Roald Goethe
LMP1: 12 LMP2: 19 GT1: 2 GT2: 14 Total: 47