AUDI SPORT Customer Racing has confirmed perhaps their strongest ever Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour campaign yet – on the tenth anniversary of the brands first of three wins in Australia’s International Enduro.
Melbourne-based Audi Sport Team Valvoline will enter three Audi R8 LMS entries with eight factory drivers joining Supercars legend Garth Tander in the driving ranks.
“Our tenth appearance at Bathurst marks a very special occasion. In 2011, 2012 and 2018, we won there with three different teams. Now we’re aiming for our fourth success with Audi Sport Team Valvoline,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.
As well as Bathurst 1000 and 24-Hour winner Tander, and dual 12-Hour champion Mies, the Audi squad includes drivers to have won at the Nurburgring, Spa Francorchamps, Daytona and Suzuka.
2018 Bathurst 12 Hour winner Dries Vanthoor from Belgium will spearhead the #2 Valvoline entry alongside compatriot Frédéric Vervisch – the pair claiming wins in the Nurburgring 24 Hour and Suzuka 10 Hour last year – they will be joined by Germany’s Christopher Haase.
Local hero Garth Tander will be joined in the #22 car by Mies – the fastest driver ever to circulate Mount Panorama in a GT3 (1:59.2910 – Audi R8 LMS GT3 in late 2018). The third member of the team will be two-time Daytona 24 Hour (GTD) winner Mirko Bortolotti who joins the Audi Sport driver roster on the Mountain for the first time this year.
Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde headlines the #222 entry alongside 12-Hour veteran Marcus Winkelhock and rising Italian star Mattia Drudi, who like Bortolotti is a Bathurst rookie.
“It’s arguably one of the best Audi driver lineups for a three-car team ever assembled,” Audi Sport Team Valvoline’s Steve McLaughlan said.
“That’s three very competitive cars, any of which is capable of a podium finish, and that will be our focus! I don’t like to use the word luck, but we might need a little bit to fall our way this year.
“We’ve been so close the last couple of years – qualified strongly, led laps, but just little things you could never account for have kept us from that elusive podium, but I think with the roster of drivers we have this year, and off the back of a very successful national campaign in 2019, we might be able to change all that this year!”
The Audi Sport Team Valvoline driver lineups;
Car#2 – Christopher Haase (GER) / Dries Vanthoor (BEL) / Frédéric Vervisch (BEL)
Car#22 – Mirko Bortolotti (ITA) / Christopher Mies (GER) / Garth Tander (AUS)
Car#222 – Mattia Drudi (ITA) / Kelvin van der Linde (RSA) / Marcus Winkelhock (GER)