AN EVEN CLOSER relationship with Audi Sport and a double shot at challenging for victory headline Audi Sport Team Valvoline’s attack on the 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 hour.
The pair of Audi R8 entries will include five Audi Sport regulars, one a two-time winner and all with Bathurst experience, plus one of the most successful drivers in the history of the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship.
Multiple Bathurst 1000 winner and Supercars Champion Garth Tander will be joined by South African Kelvin van der Linde and fast Belgian Frédéric Vervisch for the second consecutive year, while the sister car will see double Bathurst 12-Hour winner and Mount Panorama lap record holder Christopher Mies joined by Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock.
Run out of the Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia stable, the pair of Valvoline-sponsored Audi R8 LMS entries will also double as Audi’s two point-scoring cars for the opening round of the 2019 Intercontinental GT Challenge.
It marks the start of an exciting new era for one of Australia’s most successful GT teams, recent success for which includes back-to-back Australian GT Championship titles and an Australian GT Trophy Series championship.
The team will re-brand for the new year with ‘Audi Sport Team Valvoline’ to take precedence over the well-known ‘Jamec-Pem Racing’ brand used in much of the team’s history.
“We are really pleased with our plans for the Bathurst 12 Hour and the driving squad assembled,” said Audi Sport Team Valvoline’s Steve McLaughlan.
“We have a long and very successful relationship with Audi Sport and that will only grow for 2019 as Audi Sport Team Valvoline. We have had a great build-up for Bathurst with the success in Australian GT in 2018 and our pre-Bathurst test at Mount Panorama in November.
“We continue to grow our relationship with Audi Sport and the change of branding for the new year is a reflection of that ongoing relationship and also the continued support from Valvoline, who have been great supporters for a long time now.
“They will support our program throughout 2019 as we look forward to a successful Bathurst campaign and a chance to win the Australian GT Championship again.
“There’s no doubting the abilities of the drivers assembled for Bathurst and we’re looking forward to representing Audi and Valvoline there – and moving into a new Australian GT season in 2019.”
Audi’s victory – their third – in the 2018 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour made them the most successful marque of the ‘GT era’ in 12-Hour history. No brand has ever won more than three 12-Hour races since the first race in 1991.
Five Audi R8 LMS entries have been nominated for the 2019 race as the brand looks to claim a fourth title.
The pair of Audi Sport Team Valvoline cars will be joined by the Hallmarc Racing R8 to be driven by Marc Cini, Lee Holdsworth and Dean Fiore. Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia will also enter a fourth car, with drivers to be confirmed.
Aussie Driver Search and Matt Stone Racing will enter the race for the first time, recently confirming Supercars driver Todd Hazelwood will lead their driving attack.