Two of the biggest names in motorsport have signed on to the Erebus Motorsport GT program for the forthcoming Bathurst 12 Hour; reigning champion and the world’s most successful GT endurance racer - Bernd Schneider - will lead car #1, whilst new Erebus Motorsport V8 recruit Will Davison will take the reigns of the #63 entry.
“We are proud to have Bernd back to defend the title he took 12-months ago with Thomas Jaeger and Alexander Roloff,” Daniel Klimenko, Team Principal of Erebus Motorsport GT said. “In 2013 he was the most decorated GT3 driver in the world, with victories in Dubai, Bathurst, the Nurburgring [twice], Spa and Abu Dhabi to his name - all behind the wheel of an SLS AMG GT3. For him to agree without hesitation to join us gave us the chance to put together two incredible teams of drivers.”
“I’m pleased to be invited to come back to Australia again and contest the 12-Hour race with Erebus Motorsport GT and AMG Customer Sports,” Schneider admitted.
“It is one of the world’s most iconic circuits, a circuit that really rewards the driver. We achieved something really special in 2013, especially as it was the first time for Erebus Motorsport and the first win for AMG Customer Sports at Bathurst. We hope to be able to repeat the performance, although the entry list includes some more very successful international teams this year, so it will be no easy task, but it’s clear from their ongoing successes last year that the Erebus team are up to the challenge.”
Whilst Schneider comes into the event as the reigning champion, and a driver who has enjoyed the benefit of laps around Mount Panorama in the all-conquering SLS AMG GT3, new Erebus recruit Will Davison has not, but the 2009 Bathurst 1000 winner is no slouch around the mountain, and can take comfort in the pace set by fellow Erebus rookies Tim Slade and Lee Holdsworth 12-months ago.
“They were both seriously fast in the SLS,” Davison acknowledged. “Yes, it’s a markedly different beast to the Erebus Motorsport V8 Supercar, but the key to being quick at Bathurst is experience, and fortunately I’ve done a few laps around there..
“Honestly, I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the GT3-spec car. I love my sport, so the chance to drive a purpose built thoroughbred like the SLS - a car which dominated in every major event last year - was too good an opportunity to pass up.
“Like anything, it will present a different set of challenges, but based on the pace of the car last year, and the success the Erebus team enjoyed during both the Australian GT Championship and GT Asia last year, there’s no reason why we can’t be challenging for back-to-back victories this year..”
“We put Will into the car for a number of reasons,” Ryan explained. “It gives us the perfect opportunity to work with him prior to the V8 Supercar season opener at Clipsal, and it also gives the team the perfect opportunity to pair him with his V8 engineer Luke Mason who will also come along and work with us at the 12-Hour.”
Despite having revealed the names of the team’s two ‘team leaders’, Barry Ryan was a little more tight lipped about the two drivers who will join each of them in just under four weeks time.
“We’re keen to ensure each team has the best chance at winning, so we want to place our drivers accordingly based on their strengths - all will be revealed shortly,” he confirmed.
Whilst he failed to let slip any of the details as to who was driving where, he did confirm that the two cars that ran so strongly in 2013 would be back in action this year.
“We’re proud to be able to wear the coveted #1 this year, on the same car that won the 12-Hour in 2013,” Ryan confirmed, “whilst the #63 car will be the car that Lee Holdsworth took to pole position.
“The team have been working feverishly since Macau last November to return the cars to their original condition. There has been little change to the performance parity with respect to the GT3 specification under which we run at Bathurst, and if the Dubai 24-Hour this last weekend was any indication, the SLS is still the benchmark.
“We know that 12-Hours around Bathurst against such strong competition will be no easy task, but we have the best car, the best drivers and this team has a full 12-months of experience with the cars under their belts, so there really is no reason why we won’t be in the mix come the eleventh hour on February 9..”