The 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour track action got underway with four practice sessions on Thursday. Six Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars, fielded by four different teams, will be tackling Mount Panorama this weekend.
Four of the six Audis are entered in Class A GT3 Outright, a class for the newer GT3 machinery. The two remaining Audis are in Class B GT3, for older GT3 cars.
Four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars are taking part in Class A. Phoenix Racing is fielding the only 2013 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra in the race. Three 2012 specification cars are being fielded by United Autosports (x1) and Melbourne Performance Centre (x2). MPC is fielding the cars for their customers: Rod Salmon and Mark Eddy / Marc Cini.
Phoenix Racing is entrusting their #3 R8 LMS ultra to Rahel Frey, René Rast and Laurens Vanthoor. United Autosports has Markus Winkelhock, Mark Patterson and Eric Lux behind the wheel of their #25 R8 LMS ultra. Melbourne Performance Centre’s two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will see Mark Eddy, Marc Cini and Christopher Mies in the #9 Audi, and Rod Salmon, Warren Luff, Jason Bright and Liam Talbot in the #5 Audi.
Class B will see the participation of two older 2011 specification Audi R8 LMS cars. Rotek Racing (Peter Conroy Motorsport) will be running with a R8 LMS for the first time and they will be joined by Equity-One Motorsport (MPC) and their R8 LMS. Rotek Racing’s driver line-up includes Oliver Gavin, Rob Huff, Richard Meins and Kevin Gleason, and Equity-One Motorsport with Dean Koutsoumidis, Dean Fiore, Dean Grant and Michael Loccisano. The first practice session was for Classes C, D, F and I. The GT3 cars from Classes A and B hit the track during the second session. Two Audis made it into the top ten during that session, the #9 MPC car in fifth and the #3 Phoenix Racing car in tenth. Rotek Racing were twelfth fastest overall, second in Class B. The #5 MPC Audi was thirteenth, United Autosports #25 sixteenth and Equity-One Motorsport #71 in twenty-fifth.
The third session saw the Audis moving even closer to the front. Phoenix Racing #3 was second fastest, ahead of the MPC #9 in fourth. United Autosports #25 was seventh and MPC #5 in ninth, rounding out four Audis within the overall top ten. Rotek Racing #14 was thirteenth and fastest in Class B. Equity-One Motorsport #71 was nineteenth.
The fourth and final practice session of the day concluded with two Audis inside of the overall top ten. Phoenix Racing #3 was sixth fastest, followed by United Autosports #25 in ninth. MPC’s two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars finished together in fourteenth and fifteenth, the #5 ahead of #9. The two Class B Audis placed just outside of the overall top twenty, with Equity-One Motorsport #71 twenty-first fastest and Rotek Racing #14 twenty-second fastest.
Three qualifying sessions will be taking place tomorrow and the race itself will kick off early on Sunday morning.
Photo credit: Audi Communications - Motorsport