02. Februar 2018

Show Down Under: The mountain calls

Like last year, Marco Wittmann kicks off his motorsport season Down Under: At the 12 Hours of Bathurst the two-time DTM champion will line up for BMW Team Schnitzer in the BMW M6 GT3, alongside Augusto Farfus and Chaz Mostert.

The 12-hour race of Bathurst was first held in 1991 and since then has established itself as a real classic on the international GT calendar. The GT3 category was introduced in 2011, and the race held about 200 kilometres to the west of Sydney has enjoyed an enormous increase in fans ever since. And the track is incredibly popular with the drivers.

However, the drivers on the track don’t notice all that much of the beautiful backdrop of Mount Panorama, the 6.213-kilometre track demands their full concentration: high-speed turns meet narrow hairpin bends. Ascents with a 16 percent gradient and a difference in altitude of 174 metres make the racetrack a real roller coaster.

And all that in extreme conditions: In midsummer in Australia, the thermometer often goes way beyond 30 degrees, and violent thunderstorms are not unusual at this time of year.Last season, Wittmann mastered the conditions. After getting the best time in free practice and third place in qualifying, he had great expectations going into the race with Steve Richards and Mark Winterbottom. But fate had other plans in the actual race: A technical defect in the steering of the BMW M6 GT3 saw the trio lose a lot of time, meaning that they were forced to make do with 14th place in the end.

However, Wittmann is full of anticipation ahead of the iconic race Down Under: “I am really looking forward to race again at the Bathurst 12 Hour in Australia. For me it will be my first race of 2018. Last year, it definitely was one of the highlights of my season, a really cool experience. I think that last year we have been pretty competitive and the performance of the BMW M6 GT3 was very strong. We hope to be strong again this year, to maybe have a little bit more luck and to fight for a top result. I’m in a very optimistic mood and looking forward to a great start to the new year.”

The lights go out on Sunday 4th February at 5:45 a.m. local time.