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Audi set for five car Bathurst 12 Hour attack

Mat Coch

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Wednesday 11th December, 2019 - 2:01pm

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Audi will enter five cars in the 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour pic: Challenge Bathurst Facebook

Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia is set to enter five cars in the 2020 Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.

Its quintet will be split across three classes, with three targetting overall victory in the ProPro class, one in ProAm, and another in the Silver class.

The three all-pro entries will be piloted by a mixture of local and international racers, and form part of the German marque’s Intercontinental GT Challenge entry.

That will likely include Garth Tander, who has been a frequent member of the Audi team in recent years both at the Bathurst 12 Hour, the Australian GT Championship, and most recently at Challenge Bathurst.

“Hopefully him and just a mix of Audi factory drivers, very, very similar to what we do every year really,” team boss Troy Russell confirmed to Speedcafe.com.

“So we’re locked and loaded for five cars.

“I think it will be three outright, one ProAm, and one Silver.”

The team had factory racer Christopher Mies on hand at Challenge Bathurst for two days of running at Mount Panorama in late November, the German being drafted in when a prior commitment prevented Kelvin van der Linde’s appearance.

Mies and Tander worked side-by-side in what was the current generation Audi’s first appearance at Mount Panorama, the car having undergone an upgrade that was not eligible for the 2019 event.

“It’s just a bit of an aero change,” Russell explained of the EVO upgrade fitted to the cars.

“There’s a few other things like the brakes, that stuff which is improved, but it’s not a massive amount of change.

“One of the reasons we went to Bathurst was that we had never actually ran that car, because last year it wasn’t eligible. So that was the first time that we’d ran it.

“Last year, we bought the cars as ’19 spec but we had to put them back to ’18 spec for Bathurst 2019.

“Then we put them back to 2019 (spec) for Australian GT, which is how we ran them all year and obviously we’ll run them in the Bathurst 12 Hour in that spec.”

The squad’s ProAm entry will be headlined by Tickford Racing regular Lee Holdsworth, who will be partnered by Dean Fiore and car owner Marc Cini.

It will be the combination’s fourth year together, finishing third in the ProAm class in this year’s event.

In the team’s final entry multiple Australian GT champion Geoff Emery, Australian Endurance Champion Max Twigg, and Tony Bates will share the duties, with potential for a fourth driver to be added.

“We might include a fourth driver because we can have another silver, so we might include a good silver (driver),” Russell mused.

“We haven’t decided that yet, but yeah, definitely the three in the Silver.”

Across the five entries Russell doesn’t expect any to cross enter into the Australian Endurance Championship, which is hosting its opening round within the 12 Hour itself.

The event will form the first round of the three event 2020 calendar, with two events at Phillip Island to follow.

“It’s not really on our radar at all,” Russell said.

“I think the sprint series is probably looking quite good, a lot of people are interested in it.

“We’re still waiting on rules and regulations so forth, but once all of that is clarified I think there will be some interest in the Sprint.

“I just don’t think that the Endurance really works with it starting at Bathurst.”

The 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour is set to take place across the January 31-February 2 weekend.

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