Five Porsche 911 GT3 R will begin the new decade Down Under with Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific, as the German marque aims to defend its Bathurst 12 Hour crown with regional customer team Absolute Racing aiming high at Mount Panorama.
Reigning GT World Challenge Asia teams’ champions Absolute Racing will make their first appearance at the mountain venue, featuring an all-factory line-up in their #911 entry. Matt Campbell is alongside Mathieu Jaminet, both having now being signed on as full Porsche works drivers. Frenchman Patrick Pilet completes the roster, as the 2019 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTLM runner-up debuts at Bathurst.
Dirk Werner, Campbell’s former team-mate from the 2019 race-winning line-up, is on board the #912 car, with FIA World Endurance Championship GTE star Matteo Cairoli and 2018 Porsche Carrera Cup Germany champion Thomas Preining.
Track action will begin on Friday 31 January with a 30-minute practice session for silver and bronze drivers at 08:40 (local time). Three subsequent one-hour sessions will take place at 09:15, 12:20 and 15:05. A final practice will go green on Saturday at 08:45 before the first qualifying session starts at 12:40, with the top 10 shootout at 17:05.
Starting in the night and continuing through sunrise, lights out for the 12-hour race will be at 05:45 on Sunday.
Matt Campbell, #911 Absolute Racing: “I am extremely excited to get back to Bathurst and to my home country for an exciting race. It is absolutely one of my favourite events of the year, and for me the best race track in the entire world. It is the only event I can do in Australia nowadays. It is even more special because of last year’s result, being able to win the race in the fashion we did, while sending off the old generation Porsche 911 GT3 R. Now we go back as reigning champions, but myself and Dirk are in different cars this year. It’s still very exciting, to say at least, to go back to The Mountain with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R that we’ve used throughout the 2019 season and built a great experience. Now, with Absolute Racing, hopefully we get on the pace quickly and push for a similar result this year.”
Mathieu Jaminet, #911 Absolute Racing: “I’m really happy to join Absolute Racing and my new team-mates for this season, starting with Bathurst. I think this is going to be an exciting race and the first at this track for the latest Porsche 911 GT3 R. I’m really looking forward to coming back and revenging our bad luck from last year. I am pretty sure we have a very strong package to perform and to be at the front. It is important to start the season scoring a lot of points.”
Patrick Pilet, #911 Absolute Racing: “I’m extremely excited to drive for Absolute Racing at Bathurst. This track looks amazing and it’s clearly a race I want to win! The team have a great experience and I’m sure I can learn a lot from my two team-mates, especially Matt because he has a lot of experience at Mount Panorama and he’s definitely one of the quickest guys on this track. It’s important to start the IGTC season with a great result.”
Dirk Werner, #912 Absolute Racing: “The Bathurst 12 Hour race is always a special experience. The track is crazy and the fans are cool. I am looking forward to enter this race with my team-mates Matteo and Thomas. With Absolute Racing, we have a proven and very professional team on our side, so I expect to be really competitive from the start.”
Thomas Preining, #912 Absolute Racing: “I am looking forward to race in Australia for the first time. I have been watching and following the Bathurst 12 Hour, as it’s one of the biggest races in the world for a long time and can‘t wait to race for a podium there. Obviously, since Matteo and I both are rookies at this track, it‘s difficult to expect anything. We will learn quickly and work closely with our engineers and the sister Porsche to get up to pace as quickly as possible. I am sure we will have a competitive car and line up. Thank you to Porsche for their trust in me as a driver and to allow me to live my dream.”
Matteo Cairoli, #912 Absolute Racing: “I am really pleased to join Absolute Racing in our debut at the Bathurst 12 Hour. The track itself is tremendously challenging. I’ve been training a lot in the sim to be as ready as possible, as well as working hard on fitness side. I’m also glad to line-up together with Thomas and Dirk. My main focus is to learn and adapt to the track as quickly as possible, while trying to score an important result at the end.”
(EDIT – press-release prepared by Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific)