We talk to 2011 Australian GT Champion – Audi’s Mark Eddy

Mark Eddy #8 Penfolds Audi Sport Audi R8 GT3
Mark Eddy #8 Penfolds Audi Sport Audi R8 GT3

Earlier this year we were able to catch up with Mark Eddy after he won the CAMS Tourist Trophy.  The Audi driver has now gone on and completed the Australian GT double by taking out the 2011 Championship – his second after winning in 2008, then in a Lamborghini.

The 2011 season was a tight fight with Greg Crick and Klark Quinn, with all three trading wins throughout the season.  It was also a nervous final round for Eddy who made it more difficult by relegating himself to the back of the grid and having to fight back through the field after spinning on the warm up laps.  He achieved his Championship though after a pair of third places for Quinn and a pair of wins for Crick were not enough to deny Eddy.

Hi Mark, thanks for joining me – your second Australian GT Championship, must feel satisfying.

It has been a challenging season and with the way the point system works, it has kept everyone – Greg [Crick], Klark [Quinn] and I in the race till the last round.  I had basically to keep a cool head but having a spin behind the safety car and wet weather makes it harder.  It was certainly an emotional weekend for myself and we were very pleased to finish in the end and win the Championship.  This is the second time around and we really enjoyed it with the tough competition.  There was really three of us all year who had a chance to win this – to beat Quinn and Crick, I really enjoyed it.  It was close the whole year – so it was fantastic.

How does this compare to the first title – was this one more satisfying?

Yeah, I think I enjoyed this – one it was Audi.  It was a big challenge to have the one Audi outside of Europe.  The support from Audi to get parts and getting the car setup – it is a long way from Germany.  The setup was largely based on what we did last year and to get the car through the whole year without a DNF showed the reliability.  The car felt strong and it was really satisfying – not only for myself but for the team, Melbourne Performance Centre, Audi have been really good too.  Out of Germany they have given a lot of support and we have a very good relationship with the guys in Germany.  I am really pleased, not only for our team and Penfolds but for Audi in Germany too.

You have been battling with two really great races for the title and others not in the title battle, what are some of your moments on track for 2011?

The first race of the year, racing into the evening at Clipsal [Adelaide] – Klark and I really were nose-to-tail for most of the race and we came up to a car that we were about to lap.  He didn’t know we were about to lap him and Klark and I basically, got very close.  Although he did beat me, I really enjoyed that race the most.  Certain parts of the track his car was faster than mine and on others I was faster.  It was a real cat and mouse chase through the entire race.

The Phillip Island round was great.  To win the Tourist Trophy – I didn’t fully realise the significance of some of the past winners, so to have your name on that Trophy was really good.  To get pole position and with the new format – with pit time being dictated by starting position – you have to really race hard the whole race.  You don’t really know where the guys are with the short pitstops and where they would come out.  We had to chase Klark down for the last laps and that was really satisfying to pip him with a lap or so to go and win the race.  They were the two main races that I really enjoyed and were really challenging.

It was certainly an emotional weekend for myself and we were very pleased to finish in the end and win the Championship.  This is the second time around and we really enjoyed it with the tough competition.

The Sandown race –the final races of the season were a little difficult for you – can you take us through the race weekend?

The last round – after I had to start from the rear of the grid, I wasn’t going to go for the win as there was more chance of throwing the title away by having a DNF.  We got to 8th position and there was a large gap in front so we sat there.  In the second race we did the same thing.  We got to 6th there.  I really decided there was little point trying to prove my ego to get on the podium – it would have been a silly thing. I am a little older and smarter and the Championship is the important thing.  Even though I would have liked to be on the podium it was the strategy to finish the race.  That is what we did and we got the Championship,

Finally, 2012 season ahead with the Bathurst 12 Hours, new GT rules and more Audis in the country.

Yeah I believe there two here now – two new cars and another two about to be ordered – brand new cars.   There will be four or five Audis here next year.  I am contemplating whether I buy a new car myself for next year.  It will be very exciting for Audi to have so many cars in the GT Championship next year.

Melbourne Performance Centre is the Audi representative and they will have a pantec truck dedicated to Audi for spare parts go to each round.  It will mean that the owners of the Audis won’t have to carry spare parts to each round.  This is in conjunction with Melbourne Performance Centre and Audi Germany so if you have something break on the car you can just go to the truck and get the part from there.  That is a fantastic service and will be a big advantage to owning an Audi in the Australian GT next year.

Thanks and congratulations again on the title.



Article and interview by Sam Tickell, November 2011