Ex-BMW star switches to rival German make for 'The Great Race' THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17: Former works BMW driver Paul Morris has switched to rival German manufacturer Audi for this year's AMP Bathurst 1000 Super Touring endurance event at Mount...
Ex-BMW star switches to rival German make for 'The Great Race'
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17: Former works BMW driver Paul Morris has switched to rival German manufacturer Audi for this year's AMP Bathurst 1000 Super Touring endurance event at Mount Panorama on October 4.
The 30-year-old Gold Coast driver is part of a two-car Audi Sport Australia team, which also includes 1998 BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Champion Brad Jones and series runner-up Cameron McConville.
Morris won a record 24 races and 16 pole positions on the way to claiming two Australian Super Touring Championship titles in a glittering four-year stint with BMW Motorsport from 1994-97.
He also won pole position as fastest qualifier for the inaugural Super Touring Bathurst 1000 in 1997, and finished first in the race, but was later disqualified when his BMW team-mate Craig Baird of New Zealand was found to have exceeded the 3-hrs 30-mins continuous driving limit.
Morris returned home from the United States last Saturday after a stint with PacWest Racing in the PPG Indy Lights Championship, and his inclusion in Audi's Bathurst team was announced by Jones today.
Jones, who was second at Bathurst in 1997, said the team's fourth driver and the two-man pairings for the two Audi A4 quattro cars entered in the 161-lap Mount Panorama race would be announced next week.
Morris said he was delighted to be joining former rivals Jones and McConville in the Audi team at Bathurst.
"I spent quite a few years racing against the Audis, and I've got a lot of respect for their drivers and the professional way they run their team," said Morris. "When I was racing the BMWs I always wondered how I'd go in an Audi, and now the chance has come along."
"The Audis were competitive and reliable at Bathurst in '97 and I'm sure they will be again this year. This is a good opportunity to win the race, and make up for the disappointment of being disqualified the last time I was there. It's going to be tough against the British cars, but Audi and the top Australians teams showed last year they can cut it if they've got their act together."
Jones said Morris' previous Bathurst experience and high success rate in Super Touring racing would be valuable assets for the Audi team at Mount Panorama.
"I had many close races against Paul when he was with BMW, so I know his ability," said Jones. "Having a driver of Paul's speed at Bathurst is a plus for Audi and hopefully it will help the team get a one-two result. Paul will test the car before the race and I'm sure he'll be up to speed quickly."
Morris has raced in the Bathurst 1000 five times since 1991, and twice was a class winner. Jones has finished second twice in the event, while McConville's best result at Mount Panorama was third in 1997.
British Touring Car Championship drivers confirmed for the event include Rickard Rydell and Tim Harvey in Volvos, John Cleland and Derek Warwick in a Vectra, Matthew Neal sharing a works Nissan Primera with English-based Australian Steven Richards, and Robb Gravett and Lee Brookes in a Honda Accord.