This year’s Liqui Moly Bathurst 12 Hour features no shortage of star power, including Britain’s Oliver Gavin and Rob Huff.
Both drivers are fresh off last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, which saw the 2012 WTCC champion score a podium finish and GM factory driver Gavin debut the new Corvette C7.R.
They now look to conquer the famed Mount Panorama, teaming up in Rotek Racing’s Audi R8 LMS car, which will be among the cars fighting for Class B honors in Sunday’s around-the-clock Australian enduro.
“Rob and I have done a bit of work together over the last few months and we’ve been talking about this,” Gavin told Sportscar365. “Then the opportunity came up, and it was fantastic to be able to come here and do the event. The event is growing in stature and it’s getting itself on the map in terms of sports car racing.”
For Gavin, a four-time Le Mans class winner, it marks his first trip to the Mountain, with Huff set for his second Bathurst 12 Hour start, having finished eighth here last year in the same 2011-spec Audi, run by Peter Conroy Motorsport.
“It’s a long race,” Huff said. “I think that’s one of the major things here is just staying out of trouble, more so than any other circuit. You’ve got to be so patient. Once you’re up through the Cutting, it’s almost impossible to overtake someone.”
Since making his GT3 debut last year, Huff has been on quite a tear in the endurance racing scene.
The touring car ace won the Thunderhill 25 Hours in Rotek’s Audi TT RS before going onto finish second in January’s 24 Hours of Dubai in a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.
Huff then helped take 8Star Motorsports to a runner-up result in Prototype Challenge at Daytona, scoring his third podium finish, all with significantly different types of machinery.
“After quite a successful streak of endurance races so far in the last two months, I obviously would love to continue with that here,” Huff said. “To get on the podium here in Bathurst would be a real treat.”
They hold a good chance, with Gavin and Huff’s No. 14 Audi, also featuring the driving strength of Richard Meins and Kevin Gleason, having been one of the leading contenders in Class B through Friday’s three practice sessions.
Gavin is hopeful his first Bathurst experience could help translate into a potential drive in the V8 Supercars endurance races in the future.
“Last year I was talking to HRT [Holden] about possibly doing the enduro events,” he said. “One of the biggest sticking points was the fact that I had no experience at Bathurst. I realized that I’ve got to get that experience and you can only get that experience in competing in an event like this.
“You can’t come and test. They only open the track a few times a year and only have four races a year. It’s very, very hard to get track time. So be able to come here, get in a car, get track experience… that kind of ticks that box.
“Whether it leads onto something with a V8 team, I don’t know. We have to see, but it gets rid of that hurdle.”