Engel: Bathurst 12 Hour ‘super team’ needs to deliver
Maro Engel says the highly decorated crew assembled by Scott Taylor Motorsport needs to prove its ‘dream team’ reputation in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour from February 3-5.
Engel will join Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Baird in one of the most tantalising driver-ups assembled for the world class GT3 endurance race.
Speaking for the first time since Speedcafe.com broke the news of STM’s factory AMG backing last month, Engel said the Mercedes crew is, ‘on paper’, in the best possible position to win.
“What Scott (Taylor) has done together with AMG and HTP is great,” Engel told Speedcafe.com.
“He has assembled a great line-up of drivers and people and I’m very happy to be a part of it.
“It’s up to us to prove that (one of the best line-ups on the grid). It’s an incredible race and place at Mount Panorama.
“On paper, it puts us in the best possible position to challenge for the win.”
Engel will arrive at Bathurst as the Nurburgring 24 Hour champion while van Gisbergen won the Bathurst 12 Hour and Blancpain Endurance Championship in 2016 before clinching the Supercars Championship title while Baird is a multiple Carrera Cup champion, former B12H and Sepang 12 Hour winner.
Van Gisbergen and Engel were rated the second and third best GT3 drivers in the world by online publication Racing.GT recently.
“Everything has been put together with one aim and that’s to challenge for the win,” Engel added.
“As we know it is still a bloody long race and anything can happen. It’s up to us as a team to work together and make sure we perform at the top of our game to boost our chances.”
Engel will commence his racing year with a busy schedule in January by being involved in the historic Formula E simulation event in Las Vegas this weekend followed by the Dubai and Daytona 24 Hour races next month.
“It is the first simulator Formula E race,” Engel, who drives for the Venturi Formula E team, said.
“All of the 20 Formula E drivers will be there plus an extra 10 gamers racers who have qualified for the event. It’s something new and exciting.
“It carries a $1million prize pool and we will race for it on simulators.”
Engel will miss the Phillip Island test earmarked by STM on January 17 with the existing AMG GT ahead of the arrival of a freshly built replacement from Germany.
“There are some people from HTP who are flying down for the test but I will unfortunately not be there,” Engel said.
“At one point the discussion was whether we were going to do the shakedown (with the new car) in Australia at that test or it will be in Germany.”