On the same day Triple Eight announced its assault on the 2019 Bathurst 12 Hour, German Christopher Mies has smashed the Mount Panorama track record in an Audi GT3.
Using the Challenge Bathurst sprint meeting to prepare for the February 3 event, Mies recorded a 1:59.2910s aboard an Audi Sport Customer Racing R8 LMS.
Because Challenge Bathurst is a CAMS Speed event and an official Supersprint competition, the time counts as a new outright lap record for Mount Panorama.
Previously, the lap record stood as Shane van Gisbergen’s time set in the 12 Hour race itself – a 2:01.5670s recorded in 2016 aboard a McLaren 650S.
That was only narrowly slower than his pole time from the same year, a 2:01.2860s, which was not bettered in qualifying at the 12 Hour in 2017 or ’18.
The Audi driven by Mies is among a fleet of R8s expected to enter the 12 Hour, although is not subject to Balance of Performance ballast and air restrictors while running at Challenge Bathurst.
Mies has been sharing the driving at Challenge Bathurst with Supercars ace and Audi 12 Hour regular Garth Tander, who the German said sacrificed his own running for the lap.
Tander is credited with a best time of 2:00.3310s, set in a later session.
Audi won the race in 2018 with its factory-backed Team WRT entry, pictured above, while Mies tasted success at Bathurst aboard R8s in 2011 and ’12.
As revealed today, van Gisbergen will join Supercars team-mates Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes in a Triple Eight-supported Mercedes assault on the 2019 event.