Tony Bates says he cannot wait to return to the race track for this weekend’s opening round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS at Phillip Island, and has secured the services of David Reynolds to join him aboard the C-Tech Laser-supported Audi R8 GT3.
The partnership is something of a reunion for good mates Bates and Reynolds, who teamed up for the Carrera Cup Pro-Am endurance round in 2016.
The GT opener will also mark Bates’ first competitive race meeting since May last year and after a recent test in his Audi, he is itching to return to national competition.
“The last couple of seasons have had all sorts of disruptions with COVID and business commitments, so I’m really looking forward to being able to direct my entire focus to the race track,” Bates said.
“I’ve committed to doing the first GT World Challenge round this weekend, and then I will assess my racing program for the remainder of 2022.
“We tested at Phillip Island a couple of weeks ago and I felt comfortable in the car straight away. We recently installed the Evo 2 upgrade package on my Audi and straight away, I noticed an improvement with stability through the high-speed corners.”
Bates is looking forward to reuniting with Reynolds, the pair sharing a strong friendship off the track.
“Dave and I are great mates – as well as being an accomplished driver, he’s a lot of fun away from the race track,” Bates said.
“It will be very entertaining having him in the garage, so it’s bound to be an enjoyable weekend.”
Reynolds said the opportunity to partner Bates will fulfil his desire to drive GT cars on a more frequent basis.
“I’ve raced GT cars occasionally, but I want to spend more time in them,” Reynolds said.
“I’ve done a few races in a Mercedes (AMG GT3), which I really enjoyed, but the Audi is mid-engined so I’m expecting it to feel different and will need to adapt my driving style accordingly.
“It’s been ages since Tony and I have driven together, and I love working with him and helping bring out the best in his driving; last time we shared a car (in 2016), he went on to win the Carrera Cup Pro-Am championship, so hopefully I’m a good luck charm for him!”
This weekend’s GT World Challenge Australia round consists of a pair of one-hour races, which will be shown live on Stan Sport as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships coverage.
GT World Challenge Australia Round 1 Schedule
Friday, 18 March
10:50am – Practice 1 (25 min)
1:10pm – Practice 2 (30 min)
4:00pm – Qualifying 1 (20 min)
4:25pm – Qualifying 2 (20 min)
Saturday, 19 March
1:45pm – Race 1 (60 min)
Sunday, 20 March
1:45pm – Race 2 (60 min)