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Feb 04, 2014 - 07:33 AM
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Champion Team Htp Motorsport Ready To Respect The Mountain
Posted by: newsla on Feb 04, 2014 - 07:30 AM
Sports Cars
Champion Team Htp Motorsport Ready To Respect The Mountain

THE FIRST team other than defending winners Erebus Motorsport to race a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG at Mount Panorama has arrived in Bathurst, ahead of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.


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German team HTP Motorsport will make their Bathurst debut this weekend and arrived on the Mountain today ready and waiting for the challenges it presents.

HTP are one of the most successful AMG Customer Sports teams around and run the distinctive gull-winged SLS GT3 racers in the German VLN Endurance Championship, the Blancpain Endurance and Sprint series and the Nurburgring 24 Hour – a race they won last year.

The team also won the 2013 Blancpain Endurance Series and the Spa 24 hour race in a season of remarkable success.

HTP has nominated last year’s winner (then with Erebus) Thomas Jaeger, Harold Primat and Maximilian Buhk as their three drivers – one of the strongest all-round combos amongst the talent-heavy outright class this weekend.

Of the three, Buhk is the only Bathurst rookie and the teams’ experience with the SLS platform – despite never having been to the epic 6.213km circuit - should put them in with a strong position to challenge for a podium result this weekend.

Buhk led the HTP team to victory in the 2013 Blancpain Series and also shared the driving duties in the Spa and Nurburgring victories. Ironically, one of his co-drivers in those key victories was Bernd Schneider, who will return to Bathurst with the rival Erebus squad this weekend.

Premat raced for the Phoenix Racing Audi squad last year, finishing fourth.

Despite factors that point to a team bordering on outright favouritism, HTP Motorsport technical director Renaud Dafur says his team is approaching the forthcoming challenge with ‘humility and respect’.

“We will be trying our best but this track is very specific and very special. We have put in a lot of work and preparation to be at the level of the local teams and we of course hope this pays off.

“The combination of everything (at Mount Panorama) is very nice and we are very happy to be here.”

Dafur says the teams SLS – a new chassis built up especially for the event – would suit the circuit.

“We are very realistic about what our car can achieve over 12 hours and have a lot of experience in the longer races,” he explained.

“The SLS suits the high speed circuits like Spa and the Nurburgring so, as we have seen in the past, it will be a good car here.

“We have done a lot of planning to be ready with our car and our team and we are as ready as we can be. It is nice to be here this early and have the opportunity to see the circuit and the facilities and get ready in good time.”

Heading into battle against the strongest outright field ever assembled for a 12-hour race on the Mountain, the team is approaching the race as organised as possible.

Dafur says the team plans to adapt to the circuit and the Event as the weekend progresses.

“We have a basic plan with strategy before we leave the factory and making sure we get things like the minimum driver times correct, but we will need to adapt when we know how to manage our 10 sets of tyres during the weekend, for example.

“We have prepared a lot on the simulator but when you arrive here it is so different.

“We expect to do well of course, but it will not be easy to get in the podium. We know that we have prepared as good as we can and we will see what happens.

“We will try our best and approach this track with the respect it deserves.”

The HTP Motorsport team was one of the first to arrive at Mount Panorama and join fellow German squad, Audi’s Phoenix Racing, on the ground today.

Audi R8 team United Autosport arrived into Sydney at 2AM Tuesday morning and went straight to the circuit, the Anglo-American team also well advanced in their garage setup before escaping for some much-needed rest.

Four-car outfit, New Zealand’s Motorsport Services, have their two SEATs and their pair of Porsche’s prepared and ready to go three days out from on-track running commencing.

Kiwi BMW team, Mortimer Motorsport, arrived this morning with their young British star, Michael Lyons, coming off the back of sweeping victories in the New Zealand F5000 series across the last two weeks.

The remaining international teams are in town and will continue the setup process tomorrow (Wednesday, February 5), with a majority of the local teams to arrive on the Mountain at the same time.

First practice for the 2014 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour will commence on Friday Morning, February 7.

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