Friday, January 25, 2013

Salmon looking for ‘lucky’ third win in an Audi R8 LMS ultra

 photo MelbournePerformanceCenter_zpsa0f15eb0.png

Melbourne Performance Centre Press Release

Salmon looking for ‘lucky’ third win..
Lowndes and Luff looking for third time lucky..
MPC/Skwirk Racing
24 January, 2013

After taking the chequered flag for victory at the Bathurst 12-Hour in both 2008 and 2009, Rod Salmon knew that he would need something pretty special to take his third victory. It started first with the announcement that both Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff would join him behind the wheel, but yesterday at Winton Motor Raceway, during the teams final shakedown of the 2012 Bathurst winning Audi R8 LMS, Salmon revealed his secret weapon.. a striking orange livery, with branding from long-time partner Skwirk.

“The black and blue OneWorld Bar livery Craig and I shared last year looked fantastic,” he admitted, “but I’m a little superstitious, and the two victories I’ve had on ‘the Mountain’ came with the Skwirk livery. After two wins we changed for 2010, and whilst we were on track for a third win, we had a mysterious mechanical problem, and I’ve not forgotten that fact.

“It also helps that Skwirk are about to release some new software across schools around Australia, so it was an ideal opportunity to take us back to our roots, and provide them with what I think will be some pretty significant profile.

“It will be nice to join Craig and Warren who have really been the form drivers in the last two Bathurst 12-Hour races, in a car that has proven the benchmark in recent years. They were unlucky not to take the win in 2011, and fate intervened last year, so they’re both hungry for that first 12-Hour victory.”

With close to 50 cars entered for the 2013 running of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour, Warren Luff is under no illusions that victory is something that will come easy.

“There are so many elements to winning an endurance event, especially at somewhere as demanding as Bathurst,” he admitted. “The weather can play a part, strategy calls on pit stops can play a part - there’s a lot of elements that need to be considered, but I know we have the car, we have the team, and really, with Rod as a former winner, and the experience Craig has here as well, I think we’re in as good a position to win the event as anyone.

“It’s an endurance race though, so you have to be a little bit careful not to get too carried away in the first hour, because the real race doesn’t start until the eleventh hour. Before that it’s just about being in a position to attack when that hour comes..”

With Lowndes away in Europe contesting an historical running of the Monte Carlo Rallye in an FX Holden, driving duties at Winton were shared between Luff and car-owner Rod Salmon.

Recently upgraded by Melbourne Performance Centre [MPC] to full 2012 ‘ultra’ spec, the team were keen to gain some more knowledge and data on the aero modifications the new package provided.

“Today was about shaking everything down and getting some more data on the ultra aero package, and on back-to-back testing of the two Pirelli compounds we’ll have available for Bathurst,” MPC’s Troy Russell confirmed. “The cars have performed faultlessly and the Pirellis have worked very well, even in such trying conditions, in fact even the softer of the two compounds stood up well to the heat.

“It also gave Rod a chance to get some more miles in the car as there are some differences between the new car and the car he campaigned last year (which had been sold on to Dean Koutsoumidis).

“It’s mostly mid-corner speed,” Luff added. “The new rear wing and front splitter have added another dimension to the way the car carries its speed, and coupled with some brake modifications they made for the ultra, you can brake later as well. It certainly is an improvement, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from Audi. If they do something, they do it properly, and every new generation of what was already a very good car, is a significant step up.”

“I’m very happy,” Rod Salmon beamed at the close of what had been an incredibly hot test day. “The car is just so good to drive, it’s just another step more direct than my car last year, and you can really feel the new aero. I’m really looking forward to Bathurst, and to being in the mix.
“All the elements are there, the package is first class, and we have the best team in the game, so now its down to us..”

And Luff’s 1:20.9 second lap* during the intense heat in the middle of the day, with track temperatures of over 50 degrees (Celcius), certainly suggests the Salmon/Lowndes/Luff Audi will be quick straight out of the box. 
The clock is ticking..

* the current GT lap record is held by Cameron McConville in a Ferrari 458 1:22.3907

Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff and the Audi R8 LMS
2011 Bathurst 12-Hour 
[Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff/Mark Eddy Joest Racing #7 Audi Australia]
Qualifying: P1
Race: P2 - 0.7141 behind the race winner (fastest lap: 2:09.0861)
ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup VLN (Nürburgring) Nordschleife, Germany - May 2011
[Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff #17 Audi Race Experience]
Qualifying: P10
Race: DNS
2012 Bathurst 12-Hour 
[Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff/Mark Eddy Pheonix Racing #2 Audi Australia]
Qualifying: P5
Race: DNF (156-laps)

Rod Salmon and the Bathurst 12-Hour                  
2008; 1st Rod Salmon/Damien White/Graham Alexander (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX)
2009; 1st Rod Salmon/Damien White/Tony Longhurst (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X)

Melbourne Performance Centre is proudly supported by One World Bar, Pirelli Australia, The Audi Race Experience, PH Motorsport Trailers - supplier of the new Audi Sports Customer racing transporter, BluFi Wireless Australia, Questek Australia and Top Gun Restorations.

Skwirk is Australia’s most advanced, interactive learning website. Designed for all Australian school students, it features content written specifically for the syllabus in each state. In addition, Skwirk contains thousands of animations, videos, exams, podcasts, learning objects, worksheets and other rich media features that cater to all learning styles.
For more information, please visit

Melbourne Performance Centre
Since 2004, Victorian motorsport enthusiasts Lee Burley and Troy Russell have operated Melbourne Performance Centre [MPC], a professional motorsport operation dedicated to ‘gentleman’ [and lady] racers. 
Their business model is simple; to provide fellow enthusiasts and competitors a range of services that will enhance their experience with the sport, from the build, preparation and engineering of race cars, to transportation and support at the circuit.

The Audi Race Experience
Get behind the wheel yourself to discover a new level of excitement with the Audi Driving Experience. Refine your technique, develop more skilled control at higher speeds and pursue the ultimate in performance.
From advanced programs, right through to the Audi race experience, there is a program to suit every kind of driver.
The Audi Driving Experience makes use of a range of Audi’s vehicles, from sports road cars right through to their Bathurst winning race vehicles. From Audi’s advanced driving courses, you can move through to the Audi sportscar experience and finally, the Audi race experience where you can slip behind the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 racecar that holds the mantel of Australian GT and Bathurst 12-Hour Champion.
To find out more, call Melbourne Performance Centre today.

Melbourne Performance Centre
521 Mountain Highway,
Bayswater VIC 3153
Phone: 03 9738 2294
Fax: 03 9738 2296

Photos by MPC