Mercedes Formula One test driver Brendon Hartley will make his Bathurst debut this weekend in the annual 12-hour race at the legendary Mount Panorama circuit.
Hartley has found himself in demand for endurance racing around the world - he has produced good results in Europe and the United States - while still maintaining Formula One links.
He continues in his role as a Mercedes F1 test driver.
In recent days has been actively involved in the simulator development of the team's new car at their Brackley base in the UK.
Now he switches his attentions Down Under.
Fresh from driving duties in last weekend's Rolex 24 at Daytona in America the 23-year old New Zealander will share the cockpit with US-based South African Mark Patterson and Hong Kong-based Alain Li for an all-out challenge in the classic GT endurance event.
Having gained valuable experience from the race last year the team has invested in the new Audi R8 LMS ultra and expect to be able to challenge for the win.
Both Patterson and Li are no strangers behind the wheel of the Audi, having raced with great success on several occasions and taken many podiums between them.
Hartley has a wealth of experience in single-seaters clinching the 2007 World Series by Renault - Eurocup 2.0 title before contesting the British Formula 3 Championship, the GP2
Series, and then a move into the Formula One arena.
This will be his first time behind the wheel of a GT car having successfully campaigned an LMP2 Oreca Nissan in both the WEC, Le Mans and the ELMS.
"As a Kiwi I have always wanted to race at Bathurst so I am very excited that I have this opportunity. It will also be my debut in a GT car with the Audi so I am looking forward the challenge.
"United Autosports are a top professional team so I'm sure we can get up to speed quickly and be in a position to aim for a top result. I'm really looking forward to it," Hartley said.
The Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour is quickly becoming recognised as one of the premier endurance races around the world with many of the leading marquees in international sportscar racing increasing their involvement.
The event will test both men and machine to the limit around the awesome 6.213 km-long roller-coaster Mount Panorama circuit.
The race will run from 7am to 7pm on Sunday.
- © Fairfax NZ News