Audi Sport factory driver Christopher Mies will return to Australian shores to partner with reigning Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS champion Yasser Shahin for the opening round next weekend at Phillip Island.
Mies joined Shahin in securing the inaugural GTWC Australia title at the Bathurst finale last year as the duo won both hour-long races where the German also completed double duty in Supercheap Auto TCR Australia.
The pair will drive a recently upgraded Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II featuring improved aerodynamics, a new intake system, four-way adjustable dampers, new functionalities in the traction control system and upgraded climate control for driver comfort.
Mies recently completed the pre-season tests for the GTWC Europe season where he will contest the series in the latest specification Audi for Sainteloc Racing, but Phillip Island will mark his first race experience in the upgraded model.
“We had a successful and great start to our partnership at Bathurst,” Mies said. “Yasser is one of the fastest guys I have met and very eager to become even better. He almost works harder on data and video than I do, which shows me his dedication.
“Obviously, I’ve driven the new Gen2 a lot in testing but this will be the first official race for me with the car. I am sure we still have to fine tune it during the weekend but no question that we will find a good balance for the first meeting.
“Excited to see how it goes competing against the other brands.”
Shahin has already started his title defense, having tested at The Bend Motorsport Park last week and will partner with Mies for at least three rounds.
Ratel to Make First Trackside Appearance
More than 20 entries will contest the opening round of season at Phillip Island on March 18-20, which will see SRO Motorsports Group founder and CEO Stephane Ratel in attendance for the first time since taking joint ownership of the series.
“I am absolutely looking forward to attending,” he said. “It will be a pleasure to finally meet the teams and the staff on the ground, which is something that I would have done much sooner had travel restrictions not been in place.
“The event also opens our global Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS season, which this year totals 29 rounds on four continents.
“Phillip Island is a wonderful circuit with a lot of history and I really believe in the potential of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS, so it will be great to experience it in person.”
While additional races have yet to be confirmed, Mies said he would “of course” like to come back for more.
“I always like to come to Australia and when the chance came up, I was the first to say yes,” he said. “We need to see how the calendar works out but for the moment I’m in for three rounds.
“If there’s a chance to do more, I’ll do it!”