RADISICH JOINS AUDI FOR AMP BATHURST 1000 Two-time Super Touring World Cup winner enters "The Great Race" TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22: Two-time Super Touring World Cup winner Paul Radisich has joined the star-studded works Audi Sport Australia team...
RADISICH JOINS AUDI FOR AMP BATHURST 1000
Two-time Super Touring World Cup winner enters "The Great Race"
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22: Two-time Super Touring World Cup winner Paul Radisich has joined the star-studded works Audi Sport Australia team for the AMP Bathurst 1000 endurance race on October 4.
The 35-year-old New Zealander was today announced part of the two-car Audi team, whose drivers also include BOC Gases Australian Super Touring Champions Brad Jones of Albury and Queenslander Paul Morris, and Victorian Cameron McConville, who was runner-up in this year's national series.
Radisich, a works driver in the British Touring Car Championship since 1993, has made six starts in the Bathurst 1000 and his best previous result was second in 1990 with England's Jeff Allam in a Ford Sierra.
British-based Radisich rocketed into the international limelight in 1993 when he drove a Ford Mondeo to victory in the inaugural FIA World Cup at Monza, and he claimed the title again the following year.
Audi Sport Australia team owner Jones said that recruiting Radisich for the 161-lap event at Bathurst helped provide the German manufacturer with its best possible chance of winning "The Great Race" for the first time and improving on its second and third placings with its two-car assault in 1997.
"Paul (Radisich) is one of the world's best touring car drivers, with speed and international experience," said Jones. "Our team of drivers will be second-to-none, and importantly we've all done plenty of race miles at Bathurst. In '97 we had two cars on the podium in the minor places, and this year we want to go one better and win - hopefully it's going to be a one-two result."
Radisich drove a works front-drive Peugeot 406 in this year's BTCC and he said the French manufacturer had approved his request to compete at Bathurst in an Audi A4 quattro.
"Peugeot haven't got a works car at Bathurst this year, so they didn't stand in my way which was good and something I appreciated," said Radisich.
In 1997 Radisich drove a works Peugeot 406 at Bathurst with Briton Tim Harvey and they were consistently in the top five until being forced to retire on lap 70 because of mechanical problems.
Radisich said he was impressed with Audi's 1997 Bathurst strategy and organisation, overseen by team manager Kim Jones, especially considering their cars raced at 1,070kg, which was 95kg heavier than front-drive vehicles.
"From what I've seen Audi are a well-organised team, and last year their pit-stops and race planning kept them on the pace against lighter cars with more outright speed," said Radisich. "This year the Audis are 30kg lighter so that will help. I'd expect our cars to be more competitive in race trim, rather than qualifying, but they are reliable and they will be there at the end. We've got a good shot at it."
Radisich warned that the BTCC teams, which struggled with pit-stops, refuelling, and brake-pad changes at Bathurst in 1997, would be better prepared this year.
"Volvo and the Vectra team have done some endurance testing, and this year we've had pit-stops in the British championship so that's going to help at Bathurst," he said. "The overseas teams didn't really know what Bathurst was all about last year, but now they have a much better idea.