24h Le Mans
11/01/2020 - 07:31

Emanuele Pirro on endurance racing in Australia

As the Asian Le Mans Series gears up for a race this weekend at the new The Bend circuit in Australia, five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro looks back on the Race of a Thousand Years where he represented Audi on 31 December 2000. The Italian driver shares his thoughts on endurance racing in Australia as the qualifying sessions take place for the ALMS round today ahead of the race tomorrow.
Emanuele Pirro on endurance racing in Australia

"I saw the report by the FIA commission about The Bend, and this new circuit seems very interesting (photo above, Ed.)," says five-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Emanuele Pirro, a driver who has taken the start in endurance races all over the world, including Europe, the U.S. and Asia. He also hit the track in Australia on 31 December 2000 in the Race of a Thousand Years at the circuit in Adelaide. Pirro had already competed in the country in Formula 1. In that extraordinary race at the end of 2000 – which served as the final round of the American Le Mans Series – he drove an Audi R8 in a classic livery as compared to the ''crocodile'' of Capello-McNish (photo below).

"The bumby track allowed no room for error. It was a tough one for me I admit it, and I was frustrated during the race, but now I look back on it fondly. The Australian public is very keen on motorsport and was really enthusiastic. The country has a rich history of racing drivers. At the Adelaide circuit, prototypes could stretch their wings. Ideally, drivers like an extremely fast circuit, with quick turns. On paper, The Bend (located about 100 kilometers from Adelaide, Ed.) seems interesting. It's the second largest permanent circuit after the Nordschleife with more than 30 corners and it kind of reminds me of Salt Lake City," explains Pirro whose top 3 favorite endurance circuits are Le Mans, Road America and Spa though he says ''I've never driven a prototype on that track but it must be great." 

The first qualifying session for the Asian Le Mans Series race at the 7.7 km The Bend circuit resulted in a time of 2:35.69 for Ben Barnicoat at the wheel of Thunderhead Carlin Racing's #45 Dallara P217 (photo below).

The 4 Hours of The Bend will take place tomorrow from 13:00 to 17:00 local time.

24 Hours of Le Mans Ticketing 2020 - €89