United Autosports contests the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour race next Sunday (9 Feb) hoping it will be “third time lucky” for the Anglo-American team in Australia and to kick-start the team’s 2014 season in style.
The British-based team co-owned by Zak Brown (USA) and Richard Dean (GB) relies on an Audi R8 LMS ultra in the 12th running of the once-around-the-clock “enduro” aiming for outright race glory in Class A for GT3 sports cars.
The #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra is driven on the demanding 3.86-mile Mount Panorama circuit by United Autosports’ “stalwart” Mark Patterson (USA) while Eric Lux (USA) and Markus Winkelhock (D) make their UA debuts.
2012 FIA GT1 World Champion Winkelhock is one of the most experienced and successful drivers of the Audi R8 LMS since the GT3 sports car made its racing debut in 2009. Markus is a former double Nürburgring 24 Hours race winner and recently finished second in the Daytona 24 Hours. The German is making his Bathurst debut.
Lux won the American Le Mans Series LMPC category in 2011 and raced in the ALMS LMP1 class in 2012. Eric made his maiden Bathurst appearance last year.
The United Autosports Audi R8 LMS was withdrawn from the 2012 Bathurst race after suffering chassis damage. Frank Yu contacted the wall in wet and difficult conditions on “slick” treadless dry weather tires. Last year, the weather again ruined the team’s hopes of a top result. Placed seventh and with just minutes remaining, the rain worsened and caught out Brendon Hartley who had also been running on “slicks”.
The #23 Audi R8 LMS ultra is the one campaigned by 2013 British GT Championship runners-up Matt Bell and Patterson – and will be the one the duo campaign in this year’s BGT.
The Mount Panorama track is a public road for the majority of the year while a 12 Hour Race was held at Bathurst from 1991-1994 and then re-established in 2007. Ambient temperatures can range between 13-27 degrees Celsius.