> Eight factory drivers join Aussie legend Garth Tander at Team Valvoline
Three Pro entries will attempt to capture Audi’s fourth Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour victory in February when Australian great Garth Tander joins eight of the manufacturer’s works drivers at Mount Panorama.
The 2007 V8 Supercars champion and three-time Bathurst 1000 winner is once again part of Audi Sport Team Valvoline, which has added an additional R8 LMS GT3 Evo to its Bathurst attack after spearheading Audi’s Intercontinental GT Challenge Powered by Pirelli hopes Down Under last February.
While the eight factory drivers remain unknown, Tander’s experience of Bathurst and ongoing role with Team Valvoline could prove vital to the squad and manufacturer’s hopes on January 31 – February 2.
Tander, like two-time Bathurst 12 Hour winner Christopher Mies, visited Mount Panorama at the end of November for Challenge Bathurst. The two drivers completed almost four hours of running to establish an early benchmark for the forthcoming once-around-the-clock battle against the world’s best.
Both turned valuable laps of the circuit and gained important knowledge of the new ‘Evolution’ version of the second generation R8 ahead of its competition debut at Mount Panorama.
“That was invaluable,” confirmed team boss Steve McLaughlan, who has run two Audis at Bathurst since 2017. “What we learnt across the two days has certainly started us well ahead of the curve come late January as practice gets underway for the 2020 12 Hour.
“Garth has been an integral part of the team since 2016 where he first drove with me and Rene Rast. Since then he’s helped move the whole team forward, something we saw most evident during this year’s Australian GT endurance series where he was instrumental in helping Geoff Emery to Audi’s first ever endurance championship crown.
“As a former Bathurst 1000 and Bathurst 24 Hour winner, his knowledge of Mount Panorama is without question, so we will again be looking to him to get the team up to speed from Friday’s opening practice session.”
2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Audi’s first Bathurst victory. The German manufacturer goes in search of a record-extending fourth later this year.
The 2020 Bathurst 12 Hour gets underway on Friday 31 January with a sequence of one-hour practice sessions ahead of qualifying early Saturday afternoon. The Pirelli Top 10 Shootout takes place later that afternoon before the race itself begins at 05:45 on Sunday 2 February.