Chris Pither will join Ash Samadi in the Ah Apartments Audi R8 LMS for this weekend’s Australian Endurance Championship opener at Phillip Island.
Together, Pither and Samadi complete a four-car entry for Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia.
“To be driving an Audi R8 around Phillip Island, the best permanent race track in Australia is pretty exciting; I can’t wait to get in the car,” said Pither.
Samadi, Pither’s partner for the weekend, is one of the most experienced drivers in Australian GT history, with more than 60 race starts to his name.
The Sydney-sider is in good form too, fresh from a strong performance at Barbagallo as part of the Australian GT Championship’s third round, which saw him set the fourth best time in practice.
“I’ve known Ash for a long time, but we haven’t ever driven together, so I’m looking forward to partnering up with him,” Pither explained.
“He’s done a lot of laps now in these cars too, so I think we should be in good shape come Sunday.”
Though this weekend marks Pither’s Australian GT debut, the 30-year-old has a wealth of racing experience and is one of the most credentialed drivers on the grid.
The New Zealander will be part of Erebus Motorsport’s Supercars endurance squad in 2017, driving alongside Dale Wood at the Sandown 500, Bathurst 1000 and Gold Coast 500 events.
It follows an extensive career which began with open-wheel racing in his homeland before making his V8 Supercar debut in 2012.
Along with Pither, Queensland-based Carpentaria Fuels will join the team this weekend, lending its support to the Ah Apartments Audi R8 LMS.
The Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia crew will also support the Kentucky Fried Chicken entry for Matt Stoupas and Daniel Gaunt.
Racing alongside Gary Higgon in the Australian GT Championship, Gaunt has established himself as one of the category’s front runners in 2017, while Stoupas graduates from an impressive record competing in the Victorian Sports Car series.
Two cars for Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing will see young hot-shot Jaxon Evans paired with Tim Miles, while Geoff Emery shares the sister car with Supercars Champion Garth Tander.
It makes for a strong four-pronged attack, which Pither believes will make his transition into the team much easier.
“I haven’t driven an Audi before, and they’re a lot different from what I’ve been told to other GT3 cars, so to have guys like that in the team will definitely help me to get up to speed,” he reasoned.
Pither will get his first taste of the Audi R8 LMS when track action begins on Saturday morning, with a 40-minute practice session before two qualifying sessions.
Sunday’s programme kicks off with a short warmup session, the drivers’ last chance to get their eye in before the 500km race gets underway at 13:40.