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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Dixon Keen to Capitalize on Rare Bathurst Chance

Scott Dixon on Bathurst cameo; first experience in GT3 racing…

Photo: Scott Dixon PR

Five-time NTT IndyCar Series champion Scott Dixon is eager to make the most of a rare Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour drive as one of the few opportunities that fit in with busy commitments with Chip Ganassi Racing.

Dixon will lineup alongside Rick Kelly and Jake Dennis in the No. 76 R-Motorsport Aston Martin Vantage GT3 in what will be the New Zealander’s first time at Mount Panorama.

It comes on the heels of his fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona win in last weekend’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener with Wayne Taylor Racing. 

Having had the ambition to race at Bathurst for a number of years the 39-year old said he’s happy the opportunity “worked out” in the midst of preparing for the upcoming IndyCar season, the Rolex 24 and the birth of he and wife Emma’s third child.

“I’ve been trying to do it for a little while; manufacturer-wise it gets really difficult these days,” Dixon told Sportscar365.

“It only worked out because Honda wasn’t going to do the race and then they ended up doing it which was a total different situation.

“But then also with Ganassi [it’s challenging] to do one-off races, especially something like that [because my focus is on IndyCar].

“I’m excited to do it, I’ve been to the track twice I think as a 13-year-old and then as a 17-year-old just a spectator; [I’m] really excited to run some first laps but then nervous too.

“We tried to do a test in Portimao but I could only go for half the day because we were expecting the baby at the same time and it rained all day so did maybe 20 laps in the rain. Still, [there’s] a lot to learn and soak up in a short period of time.”

Dixon stressed that his focus remains with IndyCar despite his sports car cameos and that the motivation for doing events such as Bathurst sweetens the pot due to the chance of competing for overall honors.

“Chip’s been really good; I think on this side especially with Daytona there was definitely a limit of teams that I could look at going with,” he said.

“The Bathurst thing, they’re kind of never really keen of one-offs like that just because it’s approaching this side of the season as well; I think a week later we’re already doing the open test at COTA [so I also need to be thinking ahead to IndyCar].

“Timing-wise [Bathurst is] probably not the most brilliant thing as far as a baby, trying to do tests here and all that sort of rolled into one.

“It was actually my wife’s idea more, so at least she gave me an out when I was having to go and do these tests — I was like ‘you told me I should do these tests’,” he joked.

“The weird thing was that I’ve been trying to do [Bathurst] with Rick Kelly for a long time and it wasn’t until the deal was done that I didn’t know he was the other driver in the car as well so it’s pretty cool.”

It’s unlikely Dixon will make another appearance at an Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli event in the near future, with the Indianapolis-based driver looking to make the most of his Bathurst ride.

“No, it’s a one-off,” he said. “I’m not even sure I’ll do Bathurst again in the near future; I don’t know, I’ll probably talk to HPD.

“I haven’t even looked at schedules, to be honest. I love racing and I haven’t done much GT3 stuff, so for me, it will definitely be a steep learning curve with the amount of laps I’ve run.”

Slade Perrins is an Australian-based junior reporter for Sportscar365. Perrins won the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars 'Young Gun Award' for journalism for his work with speedcafe.com.

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