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Mercedes ace Ellis recounts late Bathurst 12 Hour call
By Mat Coch
Thursday 2nd February, 2023 - 5:23pm
Philip Ellis has recounted his last-minute call-up for Craft-Bamboo Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 at this weekend’s Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.
The German is set to make his debut at the Mount Panorama event this weekend in place of Lucas Auer, who was injured in a practice crash at Daytona last week.
Fellow factory driver Ellis was quickly in the frame to replace his injured colleague.
“I honestly didn’t think about it too much,” he told Speedcafe.com of the chance to step in.
“I was kind of hoping that it [the chance to drive at Bathurst] would come up at some point.
“Of course, I wasn’t really pushing for it at that moment – at that moment was like Luki [Luas Auer] was the main concern and so that [replacing him] wasn’t the priority in my head.”
Ellis had been in discussions with Mark Griffith over a possible GT4 assault this year ahead of stepping up into GT3 machinery in 2024.
That didn’t come to pass and Ellis was looking at watching the race on television.
Instead, he’d headed to Bathurst from Daytona, where he raced in the Rolex 24 last weekend, leaving him with next to no preparation for this weekend’s challenge.
He joins Daniel Juncadella and Nicky Catsburg at the wheel of the Craft-Bamboo Mercedes-AMG GT3 for this weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour.
“I did some sim work but not specifically for this weekend,” Ellis said of his preparations.
“I know the track, just from the sim generally, just from watching the races.
“Of course, that’s always going to be different than sitting in the car yourself for the first time, going around the track in a GT3.
“So no, there’s not been a lot of preparation for this specifically.”
That lack of preparation is not likely to translate into additional seat time, however, with Ellis expecting to still be learning the nuances of the Mount Panorama circuit in Sunday’s race.
“It’s just very, very limited,” he said of track time.
“Of course, the other two guys need track time as well to get used to the car, set-up, see what the tyres do, see how they develop through the longest stint.
“So it’s tough, getting a new guy more track time and sacrifice the others.
“I don’t think it’ll happen.”
Ellis has experience at other venues, including the Nürburgring Nordschleife, and rates Bathurst at the top of the list of circuits he’s not yet raced at.
“I’ve done the Nordschleife, and I’ve done a lot of the track in America, and this was the one race that I haven’t ticked off.
“I have never had the opportunity to come here, so of course I’m very happy that I can do it.
“It’s very unfortunate circumstances of course, so it’s a bit of both happy and unhappy that Luki can’t do it.”
Track action in Bathurst begins with Practice 1 at 09:45 AEDT tomorrow morning.
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