Melbourne Performance Centre is expecting to run “at least six” Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo IIs in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, according to team co-owner Troy Russell.
MPC is set to tackle the opening round of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli season under the Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia banner, as the German manufacturer’s lead representative in the GT3 ranks.
Its Pro-Am driver lineups have not been finalized, however Russell has indicated that some members of his team’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS program will be involved.
MPC Audis swept the opening round of the GTWC Australia season at Phillip Island this month, with Chaz Mostert and Liam Talbot winning the opening race before Yasser Shahin and Audi Sport factory driver Christopher Mies prevailed in race two.
The Bathurst 12 Hour in May represents the second GTWC Australia fixture of the year, in addition to being the starting point for the four-round IGTC campaign.
“We’re in the process of pinning down who is in what car and what the pro driver component will look like in the Pro-Am combinations we are running this year,” said Russell.
“We will be representing Audi in the Intercontinental GT Challenge so there is that element to consider along with it being the opening round of the local endurance championship too.
“Then there’s our customers and the team in general so there’s lots of moving pieces to piece together, but we have the makings of a really strong squad.
“There will be at least six cars run by us there but possibly more depending on how things shape up between now and May, but it’s going to be a pretty exciting lineup.”
Audi Sport’s head of customer racing, Chris Reinke, told Sportscar365 in January that the manufacturer was looking to rely on local team support for the IGTC curtain-raiser.
While Australia has reopened to international arrivals since Reinke made his comments, the rescheduling of Bathurst to a May date situated deep within the European GT racing season has upheld a cautious approach from overseas constructors and teams.
Melbourne Performance Centre fielded a trio of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos in the most recent 2020 edition of the Bathurst 12 Hour, supported by a host of Audi Sport factory drivers.
Audi has won the race three times through Joest Racing in 2011, Phoenix Racing in 2012 and Team WRT in 2018.
“It’s a challenging race and one that hasn’t gone our way for the last couple of years, but we know we have the ability and the people to do the job,” Russell said.
“The R8 has always been a really solid car at Bathurst, it’s fast across the top but tends to perform everywhere so we know it’s up to the job. Every year we go there we are in the mix.
“Winning a 12-hour race is a huge challenge, no matter the circumstances or the grid you are racing. It’s always competitive and always a challenge and we can’t wait to tackle it again this year.”