Audi DTM star Mattias Ekstrom wants Bathurst 1000 return

Audi's two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom says he would have no hesitation in returning to Australia to contest the V8 Supercars Bathurst 1000 in the right circumstances

Audi DTM star Mattias Ekstrom wants Bathurst 1000 return

Ekstrom finished 10th in the 2013 race alongside British Touring Car Championship driver Andy Priaulx, then racing in the DTM with BMW.

The pair drove a third Triple Eight Commodore, entered as a one-off wildcard alongside the team's primary entries led by Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup, and if a similar opportunity arose again, Ekstrom said he would grab it with both hands.

"No discussion, I would go straight away," Ekstrom told Autosport.

"With a good team, with a good team-mate, with a good car, for sure."

The outsider's guide to Bathurst

IndyCar drivers Sebastien Bourdais and Simona de Silvestro are making their Bathurst debuts this weekend, with Walkinshaw Racing and Prodrive Racing Australia respectively.

Fellow Europeans, former Audi LMP1 driver Alex Premat, Blancpain Endurance Series co-champion and Nissan LMP1 racer Alex Buncombe and factory Corvette GT racer Oliver Gavin are the other internationals in the field.

Ekstrom outlined that a major part of his preparation was time in a simulator organised by Triple Eight, in which he completed about 150 laps - the majority of the 161-lap race distance - beforehand.

"I think my biggest advantage was that they had a simulator, so I was doing a lot of laps in there," he said.

"When I went to Australia the week before, I did a lot of laps in the simulator they arranged, so that was very helpful.

"But once I came to the track I still got shocked by the elevation and, of course, the load transfer, which you can't feel in the simulator."

COULTHARD FASTEST ON OPENING DAY

Brad Jones Racing driver Fabian Coulthard set the pace on the first day of practice at Bathurst.

Coulthard set a lap of 2m05.4786s in Thursday's third and final practice session, 0.129 seconds quicker than the unofficial lap record he set during last year's event.

Championship leader Mark Winterbottom was second-fastest, ahead of Prodrive Ford team-mates David Reynolds and Chaz Mostert.

Shane van Gisbergen and Craig Lowndes were next in their Commodores, with James Moffat the best of the Nissans in seventh.

The Holden Bourdais is sharing with Lee Holdsworth finished the day in 21st, with de Silvestro 25th with a best time of 2m09.1675s.

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The outsider's guide to Bathurst

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