Felix Baumgartner is taking the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS ultra again in the Bathurst 12 Hour. The Austrian is looking forward to the race in Southeast Australia with eager anticipation for more reasons than one.
On Sunday, you’ll be on the grid of the Bathurst 12 Hour, exactly 231 days after the checkered flag was waved in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, which you finished in ninth place with the team of the Audi race experience. How did your involvement in motorsport continue afterwards?
Following the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring I contested another race in the VLN. Afterwards, I had several meetings with Audi to discuss other racing commitments. As the Audi race experience that I raced with at the Nürburgring is not fielding a car in Australia I was put in touch with Team Phoenix. This is a super-professional cooperation, the entire squad is extremely well organized and they deserve a big compliment.
Now you’re traveling to Australia. Do you have any special ties to this country?
I’ve never been to Australia before. That’s why this event has two highlights for me: being in this great country for the first time and combining this with such a fantastic mission. Another lifelong dream is now coming true.
How have you been preparing for the race?
I’ve been practicing on the simulator for two and a half months and have already reeled off 700 kilometers, but driving the Audi R8 LMS ultra on a race track is of course a completely different story. So, the practice at Bathurst will be an initial performance assessment.
Mount Panorama Circuit with a length of 6.213 kilometers is a lot shorter than the Nordschleife but hardly less demanding. Do you feel well prepared?
Bathurst is a very tough track – extremely narrow, with walls bordering many sections. Plus, it’s probably going to be very hot, but I’m tremendously looking forward to the race and to the chance of proving myself there.
You’ll be racing together with Stéphane Ortelli and Christopher Haase. Have you already talked to each other before the race?
I’ve talked to Stéphane on the phone several times. He’s very experienced and was able to tell me a few things about the track. I’ve known Christopher since my preparation for the Nürburgring. He explained and taught me a lot of things at the time. With the information I got from him I became more confident and faster – that’ll probably help me again in Australia.
The number 16A car that you’ll be driving features special graphics this year. How do you like the crocodile look as a reminiscence of the Audi R8 that won at Adelaide in 2000?
That’s a really cool car. The crocodile look perfectly reflects ‘Down Under.’ This R8 LMS ultra is a real eye-catcher and will probably the most frequently photographed car at Bathurst.
Further information about the official fuel consumption figures and official, specific CO2 emissions of new passenger cars can be found in the “Guide to fuel consumption, CO2 emissions and electricity consumption of new cars,” which is available free of charge from all sales outlets and from DAT (Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH), Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, 73760 Ostfildern-Scharnhausen, Germany (www.dat.de).