Christopher Mies believes the increased factory effort from Audi Sport customer racing at this year’s Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is a testament to the importance of the race to the German manufacturer.
Audi Sport Team Valvoline is fielding three all-pro cars in this edition of the Australian enduro with factory drivers featuring in all the lineups.
It is the biggest effort seen yet from the marque at Mount Panorama, with local outfit Melbourne Performance Centre running a total of five Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos this weekend, including the three factory-backed cars.
Mies highlighted Audi’s showing at Bathurst as a sign that the brand is “really committed” to the event, with three factory cars not expected at every Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli round this season.
It comes in the 10th anniversary of Audi’s first participation and win in the race.
“I think it shows that this championship is important for them and this race is very important for them because we won’t have three factory cars at every round,” Mies told Sportscar365.
“Obviously this shows this race especially is important for us and Audi as a brand. The whole market here in Australia is very important for us.
“To have three cars here gives us a higher chance of winning obviously; if you see on the other side if you have to field three cars at Spa 24 the costs are a lot higher so it makes a lot more sense to come to this race with three cars.
“We also have so many good drivers now in the drivers’ pool and everyone wants to drive especially here at Bathurst.”
The Audi Evo will make its Bathurst debut this weekend, having only been run in the November’s Challenge Bathurst sprint event where Mies tested the car extensively.
However, the weather was a lot different from the sweltering conditions forecast this weekend, as temperatures are hovering around the 100-degree Fahrenheit mark (38 degrees Celsius) this weekend.
Teammate Haase says the hot conditions will be an unknown for Audi in how it will affect the power output but expects the Evo will “definitely” provide an improvement in balance.
“Tire drop should be much better on the rear and the aero corners suit the car even more. Down Conrod Straight I expect us to be a bit slower than in the past, but we’ll see,” Haase told Sportscar365.
“Heat for sure everybody is a big topic, usually we like the heat in the race for grip and balance.
“I don’t know how much it will affect our engine. For sure that’s a question mark which we have to see in comparison to the competitors.
“Normally it’s a negative impact. It hits everybody but the question mark is who gets hit more.”