With the Skwirk Audi R8 LMS Ultra taken out at the Bathurst 12 Hour, our GT campaign for 2014 had come to a screaming halt. With the team geared up and ready to go for the year, it was certainly not the start we were expecting. With four months of repair ahead for the R8, we had succomed ourselves to the sidelines for the start of the year and turned our attention to our international racing calender instead. However, when I got a call at 7pm the Wednesday night before the event from Rod Salmon, we were able to get a seat in the B-Class R8 for the round! Quickly calling round and rallying the troops, we booked our flights to Melbourne and left Brisbane early the next morning.
With Team Director David Hardman and I on the first flight out of Brisbane the next morning, we soon arrived at Sandown. Yet again, I found myself learning a new track! It is fast and flowing, but still has a few technical points where you have to be very precise with your lines. The Thursday provided my first few laps of the track, as we ran the media and rides day, but I still hadn’t wound up the R8 to find the limits on the circuit.
Friday was a full day of practice, our first big shakedown and finally a chance to wind it up and see what was possible. I spent a fair bit of time of time on the simulator, working out the track. The sim is amazing and really assisted my rapid preparation before I got the chance to blast round the track.
After a little dust up with the wall during practice, we pushed through the rest of the sessions without incident and feeling confident about the day of qualifying and our first race ahead. Here is our video wrap up of the day.
On Saturday we hit the track for qualifying and then our first race in the afternoon.
It would have been nice to say the day was incident free, but unfortunately just as we caught onto the tail of the leading pack we received a heavy hit by the out of control Interlloy Lamborghini as we had commited to turn 1; the resulting contact pushed us off the outside of the track and spun us around. We fought hard to regain our position and finished the day in P4, setting us up for the final day of racing. In our video wrap, we also take you for a lap around Sandown, take a look!
Sunday was the final day of competition and we were focussed on the task at hand.
Pushing hard right from the start, the R8 was on song and I was able to pass the other two Audi’s going into turn one. I was able to keep up at the pointy end of the pack leading the Trophy class into the pitstop, then Rod jumped in and brought it home for the team getting us up onto the podium and into third place overall for the weekend.
It was a weekend of Audi dominance with three R8 teams on the podium, you can’t beat that sort of result!
My sincere thanks to Rod Salmon, Melbourne Performance Centre, my crew and team for the great effort over the weekend. Can’t wait to get back behind the wheel! We have some exciting news ahead, so stay tuned to LTR!