Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Eddy and Cini get Macau winning Audi R8 ultra for Bathurst 12-Hour

Melbourne Performance Centre Press Release

Eddy and Cini get Macau winning Audi R8 ultra for 12-Hour
Melbourne Performance Centre/Mark Eddy Racing
7 January, 2013

Towards the closing stages of 2012, reigning Australian GT Champion Mark Eddy looked like he was all but finished with GT competition after a tough start to the year that saw crashes at both the Bathurst 12-Hour and the Clipsal 500.

Whilst his championship winning R8 LMS was being rebuilt, Mark had second thoughts about rejoining the series, and put his Melbourne Performance Centre (MPC) prepared Audi onto the market for sale.

The decision also saw Bathurst team-mates Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff looking for a replacement ride - the two announcing just recently that they would join MPC stablemate Rod Salmon for the 2013 12-Hour - before Eddy too made his own announcement; he was back..!

Just prior to Christmas, MPC took delivery of the Audi R8 LMS ultra that took victory at the Macau GP in the hands of DTM star Edoardo Mortara, the car getting a ‘freshen’ prior to its debut in Australia at the Liqui Moly Bathurst 12-Hour.

“Initially we were looking to buy a brand new ‘ultra’ from the factory,” Eddy’s team-mate and co-owner of the new car, Marc Cini confirmed. “We made the decision to get the new car late in the year, so we were really pulling out all stops to get it here in time, so Audi rang us and told us there was one sitting on the docks in Hong Kong..

“It’s essentially brand new having been built specifically for Macau, where Mortara drove it to victory, so it’s only done 200 kilometres of racing. Really it’s only just been ‘run-in’..

“Mark [Eddy] and I have been talking for a while about doing more endurance events together, and whilst I have a couple of Porsche Cup-S’s and he has his Championship winning R8 at our disposal, we wanted something that was unused and ready to go,” the Carrera Cup regular added.

“I’ve never raced an R8, but I like what they do as a company, and MPC in Australia have a terrific relationship with the factory, and the car is almost the perfect endurance racing weapon, so it was really a no-brainer.

“At Bathurst we’ll also have Dean Grant - who has a terrific background in endurance racing - and reigning [dual] Bathurst 12-Hour champion Christopher Mies onboard as well, so I expect we’ll be pretty competitive.”

“Like any car that comes from the Audi factory, it is basically new when it reaches us,” MPC’s Troy Russell added. “They go right over any car that is sold back through the factory, and return it to new, so this is basically one of the last factory 2012 ultras built. All we need to do is prep it for painting and stickers, and make any adjustments we need to be ready for Bathurst.

“The car is just about ready for it’s new red and black Network Clothing/Hallmarc livery, and our first test session of the year at Winton on January 24, where they’ll join the Rod Salmon/Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff R8 which has also just been refreshed ahead of Bathurst.”

For Eddy and Cini, the 12-Hour will reunite the Melbourne-based sporstcar stars ahead of what they expect will be an ongoing endurance relationship.

“Neither of us have decided whether we’ll contest the Australian GT Championship just yet,” Cini confirmed, “we’ll see how things pan out after Bathurst. Our goal at this stage is the big endurance races, starting with Bathurst. Beyond that, we’d like to do the Sepang 12-Hour later in the year, and beyond that, we’re not sure at this early stage - we’ll just play it by ear.”

Opening practice for the 2013 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour gets underway on Friday, February 8, with qualifying set for the following Saturday with the 12-Hour on Sunday, February 10.

Photos by Audi Media