Saturday, February 7, 2015

Bathurst 12 Hour: With record lap towards pole for Phoenix Racing

Phoenix Racing Press Release

The pole position and a lap record for Phoenix Racing! The #15 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Ernst Moser’s team will be on the top spot of the grid when the 12-hour race starts at Bathurst, Australia, on early Sunday morning at 5.50 a.m., local time. The second Phoenix Audi designated as #16 is going to tackle this challenging endurance race at Mount Panorama 200 kilometres west of Sydney from the seventh row of the grid.

With a time of 2m 02.5521s Laurens Vanthoor in the black Phoenix R8 sporting distinctive kangaroo graphics set a new lap record for the 6.21-kilometre Mount Panorama Circuit in the final qualifying session. On setting this impressive record lap the driver trio consisting of Laurens Vanthoor (B), Markus Winkelhock (D) and Marco Mapelli (I) outperformed the strong GT3 competition of Lamborghini, Nissan, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Mercedes, McLaren and Bentley.

“The pole position and a record lap – things couldn’t have gone any better,” said a pleased Phoenix team boss Ernst Moser. “As expected, experience pays off on this challenging track; you can tell that’s the case particularly with Markus Winkelhock and Laurens Vanthoor. He did a superior job on his record lap. In contrast, our track rookies are a little slower, but are doing a very good job of standing their ground. Both cars have remained intact so far, which is something not every team can say here. We’re going to take care of a couple of minor things on the cars before the start and are hoping that in the end we’re going to finish on the same position we’ll be starting from.”
In perfect weather 23-year-old Laurens Vanthoor, the reigning champion in both Blancpain GT series, was more than happy with his dream lap as well: “Pole and the lap record are obviously great. That was really good fun. But it’s only a part of the battle because the trophy will only be awarded on Sunday after the race. We’ve got a very good package. All we’ve got to do now is make sure we do a good job and, above all, make no mistakes.”

Markus Winkelhock was pleased about the pole position too: “Things have been going really well up to now. Our R8 is easy to drive and on this track it’s very important to have a lot of confidence in the car. Laurens (Vanthoor) drove a superb lap. Now we’ve got to stay clear of all trouble. We’ve got everything, a strong driver combination, a strong team and a tremendous car.” Phoenix newcomer Marco Mapelli could only agree with that: “This is a very special circuit but I’ve already become pretty familiar with it. The team is doing a great job and I’m proud to be here.”

In the sister car that also sports conspicuous graphics – a green crocodile – Christopher Haase, the two-time winner of the Nürburgring 24 Hours, set a lap time of 2m 04.7293s at Mount Panorama Circuit. For Christopher Haase (D) and his teammates Stephane Ortelli (MC) and Felix Baumgartner (A) this time meant grid position 13.

“A spot in the top five was possible. Unfortunately, due to a red flag, we weren’t able to make use of the new tyre set,” said Christopher Haase. “We worked out a set-up that suits all three drivers well. This gives us a good feeling for what’s important on this track.”

For extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner the Bathurst 12 Hour marks the second major endurance race in the Audi R8 LMS ultra following the Nürburgring 24 Hours last year. “I had the opportunity to get in more driving time in practice then I’d been hoping and learned a lot. The R8 is perfectly set up. Now I’m excited about what’s in store for me in the race.”

Stephane Ortelli was downright enthusiastic: “The track is incredible. Together with our engineers we kept improving our Audi. It’s good to drive and gives us confidence. This is the best R8 I’ve driven for years. I can hardly wait for the race. Congratulations to Laurens (Vanthoor) on his outstanding performance.”

Live streaming of the race is available at

Photo credit: Phoenix Racing