MEDIA RELEASE: It might seem strange to treat the biggest race of the year as a warm-up, but that’s how GT Motorsport is approaching this Sunday’s Bathurst 12 hour.
The team’s new Audi R8 LMS GT3 will be driven by owner Greg Taylor, Barton Mawer and Nathan Antunes in the round-the-clock enduro.
While Taylor and Mawer drove a 2011 R8 to victory in the Trophy Class for superseded cars in last year’s Australian GT Championship, and Antunes was a Championship Class race winner in a 2014 R8 Ultra, victory in the 12 Hour is the furthest thing from their minds.
The unusual strategy makes sense, according to team owner Taylor.
“We’re the new kids on the block – this will be our first race in the new car, our first race in the open class, and my first Bathurst 12 hour – so we’ve set realistic goals,” Taylor said.
“A competitive finish in the Pro-Am division of Class A is our target. I’ll be more than happy if we qualify top 15 and finish top 10 in Pro-Am.
“When you consider that factory teams like Nissan and Bentley haven’t won the Bathurst 12 Hour at their first attempt, we’d be fooling ourselves to think of this weekend as much more than an extended practice run.
“It’s more important for us to get in plenty of race laps for our Australian GT Championship campaign this year, with an eye on being contenders in next year’s 12 Hour.”
Although Taylor, Mawer and Antunes aren’t targeting the top step of the podium, they certainly won’t be loafing in their 435kW 5.2-litre V10 German supercar, which is prepared by Melbourne Performance Centre and carries backing from Arris Group, Adina Apartment Hotels, Novati Constructions, McGrath Real Estate Agents, PSA Projects and Crankt Protein Shake.
“We’ll be giving it 100 percent from the first practice session on Friday morning until the chequered flag on Sunday afternoon, but our prime goal is to do finish the race as high as we can,” Taylor said.
“We’d rather cross the Finish line in tenth place than run with the leaders in the early laps and not make it to the end.”