Audi R8 LMS in its element with second and third places in Eastern Creek GT enduros Melbourne driver Mark Eddy's exotic Penfold Audi Sport Audi R8 LMS sports car has shown its true European endurance racing credentials with outstanding second...
Audi R8 LMS in its element with second and third places in Eastern Creek GT enduros
Melbourne driver Mark Eddy's exotic Penfold Audi Sport Audi R8 LMS sports car has shown its true European endurance racing credentials with outstanding second and third placings in round three of the Vodka O Australian GT Championship at Eastern Creek Raceway at the weekend.
In only the car's third Australian outing, Eddy completed a faultless programme of practice, qualifying and one-hour races on Saturday and Sunday, lifting himself to fourth in the drivers' standings for the six-round championship.
After the first two rounds in sprint format on temporary street circuits at the Clipsal 500 and Australian Grand Prix, the 5.2 litre V10 Audi R8 LMS (Le Mans Specification) finally was at its best in wet and dry conditions on the fast-flowing 3.9-kilometre Eastern Creek, west of Sydney.
Eddy qualified fourth-fastest on Saturday then improved to a third placing in the first one-hour race in wet conditions in the afternoon.
Starting third for Sunday's second race, run on a dry track, the Audi progressed to the lead for nine laps from lap seven before taking a relatively late compulsory pit stop and four fresh tyres.
He rejoined in the field in third position on lap 18 and six laps later surged into second past the Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 of Peter Hackett.
"Its record (in Europe) last year proved it was the fastest car in the second half of a long race and it gave us a real chance to win the second race," Eddy said.
"We were chasing down (eventual winner, Porsche) David Wall in the last few laps, but got stuck behind a slower car. With a few more laps I think we could have done it."
Despite a physically-exhausting experience manhandling the 500-horsepower coupe for an hour at a time, Eddy said he was "walking on air" after the Penfold Audi Sport team's best performance so far.
"We didn't have to do a thing to the Audi all weekend. Eastern Creek and the one-hour distance suited us and we finally got to do a bit of racing," Eddy said.
"The car is beautifully balanced and looks after its tyres well. We also had the carbon-ceramic disc brakes working well.
"I think we shocked a few people with our pace."
Eddy's Audi R8 LMS is one of 20 built and the only example competing outside Europe. Its performance at the weekend was followed by Audi Sport representatives in Germany and fellow Audi teams in Europe and the United Kingdom.
The Penfold Audi Sport team will miss the Australian GT Championship's fourth round at Phillip Island in July while Eddy is overseas and resume the points chase at the Bathurst 1000 event on 7-10 October.
Television coverage of the Eastern Creek races will be shown nationally on ONE HD on Friday 18 June, from 6.30 pm.