Bates tested his Audi at last November’s Challenge Bathurst event, recording a scorching 2:07.4 lap time in the hot conditions. He believes the knowledge gained at that event will be a significant advantage.
“Running at Challenge Bathurst last year was well worthwhile – there aren’t many opportunities to accumulate track time or experiment with setup changes at Bathurst, so it was a valuable event for us,” Bates said.
“I worked hard on my driving technique while our engineer, Adam De Borre, concentrated on optimising the setup. On the second day, the car felt absolutely planted to the road and I was able to drive it confidently across the top of the Mountain.
“Everything we learned at Challenge Bathurst will allow us to start in front of the eight ball this weekend – we’ll be able to start with a known quantity as our base setup and fine-tune it from there.”
Bates heaped praise upon his co-driver’s past outings on the Mountain.
“Chaz is fast at any race track, but when it comes to Bathurst he seems to raise the bar even further,” Bates said.
“Everyone talks about his dramatic last-lap Bathurst 1000 win in 2014, but he has put in some superb drives in GT cars over the years as well. Some of his performances have been pretty amazing and just unbelievable to watch so I’m excited to be teaming up with him yet again.
“Notwithstanding this, there will be some fierce competition including Shane Van Gisbergen, Garth Tander and David Wall in Pro, with the usual main suspects in Pro-Am that will need to be dealt with in order for us to have a successful weekend.
The format for this weekend’s GT World Challenge round will be the same as the season-opener at Phillip Island, with a pair of practice sessions on Friday, qualifying for each driver and a one-hour race on Saturday and another one-hour race on Sunday.
Both races will be shown live on 7MATE as part of the Bathurst 6 Hour event coverage.
GT WORLD CHALLENGE AUSTRALIA
Round 2 Schedule
Friday, 2 April
9:10am – Practice 1 (30 min)
2:55pm – Practice 2 (30 min)
Saturday, 3 April
9:05am – Qualifying 1 (20 min)
9:35am – Qualifying 2 (20 min)
2:15pm – Race 1 (60 min)
Sunday, 4 April
8:50am – Race 2 (60 min)