The 2022 endurance season in Australia begins under new auspices. The rules of the Bathurst 12 Hour from May 13 to 15 state that the previous purely professional driver lineups are a thing of the past. Instead, professional race drivers will be racing alongside amateurs at the breathtaking Mount Panorama. Six of the seven Audi cars entered this year will start in this Pro-Am category. Another R8 LMS will take part in the Am classification. The four professionals Nathanaël Berthon, Ricardo Feller, Kelvin van der Linde and Markus Winkelhock represent the Audi Sport brand at the eleventh start at Bathurst.
“In 2011, we were a pioneer at the Bathurst 12 Hour as the first GT3 entrant,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “In the meantime, many international brands have followed us and thus contributed to the event’s rise to one of the world’s most important GT3 endurance races. With three victories at Bathurst, Audi is the most successful manufacturer in the GT3 era. Now, against the backdrop of Pro-Am regulations, we’re facing a new challenge just like our rivals.” For the first time, four Audi Sport drivers will share the two Audi R8 LMS of Audi Sport Team Valvoline with two amateurs. Nathanaël Berthon teams up with fellow Audi Sport driver Kelvin van der Linde. Bathurst-based privateer Brad Schumacher completes car number 74, while sister car number 777 is driven by Audi Sport drivers Markus Winkelhock and Ricardo Feller. They will contest the event together with Australian Yasser Shahin, who won the GT World Challenge Australia in an Audi last year.
The Melbourne Performance Centre, which has been the contractual partner for Audi Sport customer racing in Australia for more than a decade, fields the race cars of four other teams in addition to these two GT3 sports cars. With Chaz Mostert and Lee Holdsworth, the two winners of the Bathurst 1000 touring car race last December are among the drivers of the private R8 LMS. Holdsworth, as in previous editions of the 12-hour race, forms the driver trio for Team Hallmarc with Marc Cini and Dean Fiore. Cini has competed nine times at Bathurst and has recorded fifth overall as his best result. Mostert, last year’s TCR Australia winner with Audi, shares Team Coinspot’s R8 LMS with Fraser Ross and Liam Talbot. Team TB Racing’s driver lineup includes longtime Audi privateer Tony Bates and Supercars touring car drivers Dave Reynolds and Cam Waters. Brothers James and Theo Koundouris are joined by Dave Russell and Paul Stokell in Team Supabarn as the only Audi privateers entered in the Am classification. A seventh Audi completes the line-up. The private team BRM from Adelaide relies on three private drivers. Mark Rosser will start with Nick Percat, a former Bathurst 1000 winner, and Joey Mawson, last year’s S5000 Australia champion.
The race on the demanding 6.213-kilometer course in the Blue Mountains starts as early as 5:15 a.m. local time on Sunday morning, May 15 (9:15 p.m. Saturday CEST). Until sunrise, the teams have to prove themselves for one and a half hours in the dark – significantly longer than in the past, when the 12-hour race was on the calendar at the beginning of February. Numerous concrete walls running close to the asphalt, exciting curves, impressive uphill and downhill gradients of up to 16 percent, and a total difference in altitude of 174 meters elevate the course to the status of a globally respected circuit.
Teams and drivers at Bathurst
Audi R8 LMS #9 Hallmarc, Marc Cini/Dean Fiore/Lee Holdsworth
Audi R8 LMS #17 BRM, Joey Mawson/Nick Percat/Mark Rosser
Audi R8 LMS #24 TB Racing, Tony Bates/Dave Reynolds/Cam Waters
Audi R8 LMS #47 Supabarn, James Koundouris/Theo Koundouris/Dave Russell/Paul Stokell
Audi R8 LMS #65 Coinspot, Chaz Mostert/Fraser Ross/Liam Talbot
Audi R8 LMS #74 Audi Sport Team Valvoline, Nathanaël Berthon/Kelvin van der Linde/Brad Schumacher
Audi R8 LMS #777 Audi Sport Team Valvoline, Ricardo Feller/Yasser Shahin/Markus Winkelhock