Here’s a selection of wallpaper shots, compiled following this year’s rain-soaked Bathurst 12 Hour event. Enjoy.
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.”
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).
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.
AudiSport Team Joest have today announced plans for a 2011 assault on Australia’s Bathurst 12 Hour event. In a collaborative agreement with local team and regular AusGT competitors Penfold AudiSport, Joest confirmed its support for two Audi R8 LMS GT3 entries.
Following a second place finish at the emerging Sepang 12H event earlier this year, the announcement arrives at a time when Joest attempt to expand their customer sport portfolio, with the illustrious firm now offering its factory-support services to AudiSport customers around the world.
Driver lineups for the event were also unveiled. The squad’s first entry consisting entirely of locally-sourced drivers, with Penfold AudiSport team owner, Mark Eddy partnering reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Craig Lowndes, and V8SC endurance specialist, Warren Luff. Despite a lack of prior experience with Audi’s R8 LMS, both Lowndes/Luff are arguably the most suitable candidates for such an undertaking as a result of race miles alone, accrued on the legendary circuit.
Craig Lowndes responded to the announcement with the following statement:
“Team Joest and Audi Sport have a reputation for being the best in the business, much like Team Vodafone in V8 Supercars, so when they rang it was impossible to say no! I’m excited to be joining the works Audi team for this race and to be teaming up with some great drivers like Mark and Warren.
The R8 looks like a fantastic car and I can’t wait to get behind the wheel in February. Long distance racing is a great challenge, especially when you get to an amazing track like Bathurst, and it’s a challenge I’m looking forward to. It should be a great race.”
The team’s second entry will consist of an all-professional lineup, with German drivers Marc Basseng and 2009 FIA GT3 champion, Christopher Mies joining Canadian ace, Darryl O’Young. Although having never contested an event at the Mt. Panorama circuit the trio are no strangers to endurance, boasting collective starts at the Nürburgring 24H, Le Mans 24H, Sebring 12H, Spa 24H, and Sepang 12H events, in addition to GT1/GT3, ADAC, and VLN duties.
Bathurst 12H Event Director, James O’Brien made the following statement:
“Having a team of this calibre commit to the Armor All Bathurst 12 Hour with two cars is a fantastic show of support for the Event. I was fortunate enough to see the Audi team in action at Sepang (Malaysia) earlier this year and they are hugely professional as you would expect.
Their participation is sure to bring further international exposure to the Event and we look forward to welcoming the team and drivers to the Mountain in February.”
AudiSport Team Joest Technical Director, Ralf Jüttner issued the following statement in relation to the announcement:
“For the structure of our new customer sport programme, Bathurst is certainly the perfect place to begin the season. Seeing the Audi R8 LMS in operation will certainly be a great experience for the fans.”
Although in recent years the Bathurst 12 Hour had been relegated to the domain of primarily amateur and gentlemen driver entries, organisers have openly expressed an intent to lure further international interest and, with the adoption of new regulations, aim to expand the depth of the field with additional factory-supported and professional entries in future years.
Up until recently the 12 Hour event had been restricted to a production-based field of Saloon and Touring entries. Only in recent times have organisers modified event regulations, allowing the inclusion of GT3 class machinery.
The 2011 rendition of the event will run from Februrary 4-6 and, for the first time, will see the 6.2KM circuit play host to a variety of world-class GT machinery, in addition to a thriving support field of production-based saloon and touring entries.