Australian GT Championship 2012

Heres the spot for track talk - Evo's, V8's F1 etc

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:49 pm

www.speedcafe.com wrote:James Brock switches to Mosler for Winton GT round
Wednesday 20th June, 2012
Author: SpeedCafe ©

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James Brock
James Brock has been forced to switch from his regular Erebus Drillpro Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 to a Mosler MT-900 for the third round of the Australian GT Championship at Winton this weekend.

With the silver machine out of action after his shunt at the previous round at Phillip Island, Brock will attempt to bridge Klark Quinn’s eight point championship lead aboard a Mosler MT-900, owned by Rod Salmon.

Erebus Racing will supply personnel and ‘infrastructure support’ to Brock’s effort this weekend.

“The damage to the Erebus Drillpro Racing SLS was just too much to have fixed in time,” said Erebus Racing team manager Ryan Maddison.

“We were putting our best effort in to have it done and AMG Customer Sports in Germany have been an unbelievable help, but the turnaround time between the events has just been too short.”

Parts have been flown in from AMG Customer Sports in Germany and work has started on repairing the car in time for Eastern Creek in July.

The Mosler option will allow Brock to continue chasing the championship, having placed second in the second race at Clipsal and second in Phillip Island’s opening race.

Brock is determined not to have his crash in the damp track in Race 2 at the Island track set him back.

“It’s not ideal having to run another car, but thanks to Drillpro, Rod Salmon and Erebus Motorsport we are able to do that,” said Brock.

“The SLS will be back, but to have this opportunity is great. We’re right in the Championship hunt and want to stay that way.”

Brock’s Erebus team-mate Peter Hackett will be at Winton in his regular Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3.

The Australian GT Championship is one of the lead categories for the Shannons Nationals at Winton this weekend. CLICK HERE for entry lists for all six racing championships and series competing.
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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Wed Jun 20, 2012 8:50 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:Who will reign at Winton

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20TH JUNE 2012- After two rounds and four action packed races the 2012 Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security is still a closely fought contest with no clear title favourite emerging from the pack.

Fastest laps and race wins have been shared between Porsche, Mercedes Benz, Mopar Dodge Viper and Ferrari proving the parity of the internationally developed FIA GT3 category is delivering competitive racing.

Following on from the demands of the unforgiving concrete jungle of Adelaide and the super fast Phillip Island circuit, Winton’s tight and twisty layout will provide new challenges to teams and drivers to find that perfect setup in their effort to stand on the top step of the rostrum this weekend.

“It’s hard to determine who, if anyone, has an advantage at Winton” Klark Quinn commented recently. “With it’s point and squirt layout it may clip the wings of the Ferrari’s, Merc’s and Audi’s a little and allow the bigger engine cars such as the Aston Martin’s, Viper’s and Ford GT to shine but I’m hoping my Porsche will prove to be the car to beat.”

Twenty entries are confirmed for Winton including defending Australian GT Champion and current Winton lap record holder, Mark Eddy, making a welcome return to the championship in his Audi R8 LMS. He joins fellow Audi R8 drivers Rod Salmon and Peter Conroy as part of a Melbourne Performance Centre prepared three car Audi super team.

AGT Schedule
Saturday 23rd June
Qualifying (30 mins) 11.25am
Race 1 (1 Hour with compulsory pit stop) 15.10pm
Sunday 24th June
Warm up (10 mins) 12.15pm
Race 2 (1 Hour with compulsory pit stop) 15.30pm

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:03 am

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:SERIES NEWS:Hackett wins as Quinn falters
Monday, 25th June 2012

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Hackett wins as Quinn falters

24 June 2012 – Erebus racing’s Peter Hackett triumph’s as Klark Quinn falters in a thrilling finish to race 2 of the Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security at Winton this afternoon.

Roger Lago led at the start with the hard charging Hackett, K Quinn, McConville and Eggleston and the rest of the field in hot pursuit, Tony Quinn being the only first lap victim spinning the VIP Petfoods Mosler on turn one.

The race settled quickly with many exciting battles for minor places with the only major moves at the top of the order being first K Quinn and then Lago pass Hackett

Greg Crick was the first to break ranks entering pit lane for his compulsory pit stop on lap 15, quickly followed by Hackett and Lago two laps later. Hackett had a better stop and emerged ahead of Lago and proceeded to open up a gap on his Lamborghini rival.

Klark Quinn was one of the last to stop, pitting from the lead on lap 25 and his gamble to stay out to set fast laps on a clear track paid dividends when he returned to the track still in the lead of the race with Hackett and Lago comfortably behind him – or so he thought.

It soon became apparent the hard charging Hackett was closing the gap to a faltering Quinn with what looked like a car that wasn’t handling as well as he would have liked. An exciting finish looked certain.

The excitement escalated when the safety car was deployed with just seven minutes to go, to remove the beached Porsche of Jan Jinadasa, closing the field up and bringing Lago’s Lamborghini back into the fight for the lead.

The restart order was to be Quinn followed by Hackett, Brock’s lapped Mosler, Lago, Eggleston and Crick but drama unfolded as the safety car pulled into pit lane to allow racing to resume with Quinn’s Porsche peeling off the circuit too, following the safety car into pit lane to replace a punctured left rear tyre.

This effectively handed the lead, race and round win to Hackett who drove away from Lago over the final sprint to the chequered flag, Lago taking second place overall for the weekend. Eggleston had placed third on the road but was handed a time penalty for an earlier infringement gifting third place In the race and third place overall to the Maranello Motorsports Ferrari of Peter Edwards and Jonny Reid.

A disappointed Klark Quinn rejoined the race in 8th place, fighting his way back up to a 6th place finish. “It’s never nice to lose a race win like that but that’s racing” said Quinn afterwards. “I was looking forward to the last few laps dicing with Peter but it wasn’t meant to be. We all have lucky days. Unfortunately for me, today was Peter’s turn”

Hackett added “I am truly disappointed we never got a chance to duke it out at the end. A win is a win though and after the high’s and low’s of our cars fast race pace being marred by accidents and incidents at both Clipsal and Phillip Island, it was important for the team to have a good result.”

More dramas on the last lap saw Greg Crick spin from 5th to 8th on the last lap of the frenetic, post safety car dash to the flag.

Andrew Taplin and Peter Boylan took class honours in the Challenge and Trophy classes respectively.

Photo credit : Mpix Photography (John Morris)

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:05 am

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:TEAMS NEWS:Hackett & Erebus complete perfect Winton Weekend
Wednesday, 27th June 2012

PETER HACKETT & EREBUS COMPLETE PERFECT WINTON WEEKEND

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June 25, 2012

Peter Hackett has extended his Australian GT Championship winning streak to two in succession with a superb win at Winton Motor Raceway today and has closed to within a point of Championship leader, Klark Quinn.

Hackett didn’t lead the 60 minute affair until the final few minutes. After Roger Lago got to the lead off the start, Hackett moved a place on Lago during the pitstop.

When Quinn had his compulsory service, he exited the pits 6.5 seconds in front of Hackett, the five second time advantage that he had by starting on the second row coming to the fore.

This didn’t concern Hackett, he knuckled down and carved his way forward. He was able to challenge for the lead with 10 minutes to go, however after a couple of peeks up the inside of Quinn, the Safety Car was deployed at that critical moment.

As it peeled away, Quinn went into pitlane with a puncture, opening the way for Hackett to cruise to his fifth victory for the SLS AMG Customer Sports Program in Australia, the first ever round win for Erebus Racing and the first double victory for the team.

The opening stanza of the race provided sensational GT racing - with the Erebus Racing gullwing embroiled in a five way, five manufacturer battle for the lead.

The 563 horsepower chromed German V8 proved its endurance credentials once again and with the Championship nearing its halfway point, sets Hackett up nicely for a shot at the Title.

James Brock’s weekend was looking to take a positive turn in the Drillpro Racing car. After yesterday’s gearbox dramas, the team was able to sort the car out to the point where it finished the morning warmup third - right behind Hackett.

He made short work of those around him early in the 60 minute race, advancing into the top 10 and was showing some good pace. Toward the back end of the race, Brock was turned around cruelling the potential of scoring more points towards his Championship - ending the day in 10th placing.

Considering the bad luck the team has experienced on occasion this season, the dual victory gives both Hackett and the Erebus Racing team a timely boost heading into the next round of the Championship at Sydney Motorsports Park in just three weekends’ time.

It is expected the team’s second SLS AMG GT3 will be fully repaired in time for the event in Western Sydney, July 13-15.

Overall, the Erebus Racing team leaves Winton Motor Raceway absolutely ecstatic with its efforts for the weekend and is aiming for the run of success to continue.

FROM BENEATH THE GULLWING:

Peter Hackett - #63 Erebus Racing SLS AMG GT3:
“I’m absolutely stoked with that, to get the first double win for Erebus Racing and the first round win for the SLS AMG Customer Sports program in this part of the world is massive,” said Hackett.

“It was a hard fought weekend, we by no means had the pace in dry conditions that others did, but AMG Customer Sports build the gullwing for endurance and we showed that by hanging tough the race can come to us.

“When the pitstops played out, the team told me how far back I was and I set about pushing the SLS to the front. The Michelins the team switched to in the stop gave me the confidence to charge ahead and I could see I was getting closer and closer to Klark. He got caught up in some traffic and I was able to get on racing terms. I was worried the Safety Car would allow him to cool his tyres and then charge forward, but as it turned out he had to pit.

"Of course you'd rather fight it out on the track, but a win is a win and it has allowed us to basically be level-pegging with him in the Championship, which is a fantastic fightback after not having scored any race points at the first round.

“I’m just absolutely ecstatic for the entire Erebus Racing team who put their heart and soul into this racing program.”

James Brock - #62 Drillpro Racing:

“Coming here this weekend was all about consolidation for us - we had to try and score some points and maintain a position in the Championship,” said Brock. “We had the issue yesterday that cost us dearly, then today we just had to try and do our best and finish as high as possible.

“Getting turned around didn’t help us at all during the race, it dropped us a few places, but the fight out there was strong, it was very enjoyable.

“We’re a bit behind the eight ball now, but we’ll be back in the SLS at the next round which will be very welcomed and at another track that I know very well. As this Championship has proved - anything can happen.

“It’s a great result for Peter and the entire Erebus Racing team - but from our point of view, all is not lost - there’s a long way to go.”

RESULTS - Race 2:
1. Peter Hackett
2. Roger Lago
3. P. Edwards/J. Reid
4. Mark Eddy
5. N. O'Halloran/C. McConville
10. James Brock

Australian GT Championship, protected by Sargent Security points standings (after round 3 of 7):
1. Klark Quinn - 70 points
2. Peter Hackett - 69 points (-1)
3. Peter Edwards - 55 points (-15)
4. Greg Crick - 52 points (-17)
5. James Brock - 47 points (-22)

Post-produced TV Highlights:
Sunday, July 8, 2012
SBS Speedweek
12:30pm

ABOUT EREBUS RACING:
*Founded in 2011
*Positioned in Melbourne, origins in Sydney
*Awarded 2011’s Mercedes-Benz AMG Customer Sports Program ‘Best Presented Car’
*Only SLS AMG GT3 Customer Sports team in 2011 to record a podium in every race
*In Greek mythology, Erebus (darkness) is the father of Light (Ether), the son of Chaos and the brother of Eros - the love God.

SLS AMG GT3 CUSTOMER SPORTS CAR
Since it was first unveiled at the New York Motor Show in 2010, the stunning Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 has captured the hearts and minds of auto lovers the world over. AMG finds it hard to accept limits - and the SLS AMG GT3 is that philosophy personified.

It struck instant success in the German VLN long distance Championship, along with the rapidly growing European GT3 Championship and Australia’s GT Championship. Some statistics from the 2011 season include:
*40 cars worldwide
*21 teams
*101 races
*25 wins
*38 racetracks on 4 continents
*2 Championships
*First time in 40 years that Mercedes-Benz has operated a customer program

MERCEDES-BENZ SLS AMG GT3 SPECIFICATIONS
Car: Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3

Physical:
Length: 4.71m
Width: 1.99m
Height: 1.195m
Weight: 1355kg
Wheelbase: 2.68m
Front Track: 1.686m
Rear Track: 1.644m
Rear Wing width: 1.931m
Rear Wing height: 1.191m
Wheels: 18” AMG light alloy, central locking
Tyres: Michelin
Suspension: Double wishbone, aluminium construction
Brakes: 10-stage adjustable ABS
Doors: Mercedes-Benz SLS Gullwing Doors
Construction: Aluminium with Carbon Fiber exterior components

Performance:
Engine: AMG 6.3 litre V8
Power: 563bhp/420kW @ 6800RPM
Torque: 650Nm/480lb:ft @ 4750RPM
Torque per Litre: 104.7Nm
Maximum Revs: 7200RPM
Top Speed: >300kph/>186mph
0-100kph: 3.7 seconds
Gearbox: 6-speed sequential gearbox with steering wheel paddle shift
BOP (Balance of Performance): Category imposed parity restrictions

2012 Australian GT Championship:
Rd 1: March 1-4 - Clipsal 500, Adelaide, SA
Rd 2: May 25-27 - Phillip Island, Cowes, Vic.
Rd 3: June 22-24 - Winton, Benalla, Vic.
Rd 4: July 13-15 - Sydney Motorsports Park, Eastern Creek, NSW
Rd 5: September 21-23 - Phillip Island, Cowes, Vic
Rd 6: October 19-21 - Armor All Gold Coast 600, Surfers Paradise, Qld
Rd 7: November 30-December 2 - Sydney Telstra 500, Homebush, NSW

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:08 am

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Wed Jul 04, 2012 6:10 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:TEAM NEWS:Klark Quinn retains GT Championship lead despite penalty & puncture at Winton
Wednesday, 4th July 2012

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Klark Quinn retains GT Championship lead despite penalty & puncture at Winton

JUNE 24, 2012. Klark Quinn still heads the 2012 Australian GT Championship protected by Sargent Security after the third round at Winton – but only just.

The V.I.P. Petfoods driver holds a slender one-point margin over arch-rival Peter Hackett in what is turning out to be the most unpredictable GT Championship in years.

Klark led both hour-long races at the central Victorian circuit, but had to be satisfied with fourth and eighth results after a pitlane penalty on Saturday and a puncture on Sunday.

Winton was also an up and down round for Tony Quinn in V.I.P. Petfoods’ other entry.

Having loaned his Ferrari 458 Italia to the temporarily carless Peter Edwards for the round, Tony scored six and ninth placings in the Mosler MT900 that he hadn’t raced for more than 18 months.

PRACTICE & QUALIFYING

After a sodden second round at Phillip Island in May, Klark Quinn was hoping for drier track conditions in the three 20-minute practice sessions at Winton on Friday.

He was keen to cure the understeer that had plagued V.I.P. Petfoods’ potent new Porsche since the opening round in Adelaide – but again the weather gods didn’t co-operate. The tortuous 3.0km circuit was wet or damp throughout the day.

Although Klark clocked the second-fastest lap time, only half a second behind Kevin Weeks in his Ford GT, he couldn’t be certain that the Porsche would be competitive if the track dried out. Which it did before the Saturday morning qualifying session.

The matte black machine was more than a second off the pace of fastest qualifier Cameron McConville, the seeded professional driver in Nick O’Halloran’s Ferrari 458 Italia. Nevertheless he was fourth fastest, thanks to troubles afflicting several other GT Championship contenders.

Klark reckoned he was in with a shout, all things considered.

“The rain on Friday at Phillip Island stopped us doing anything to fix the understeer, and it was much the same here. My best lap on my first new set of tyres was the fastest in the early part of the session, but I had to put on another new set when people started going faster near the end.

“I pushed as hard as I could, and my second time was about as good as I could do with the car the way it was.

“We’re still not as quick as the other 2011-spec. cars over a single lap, but we should have a chance of finishing in the top three in the races. That’s factoring in the average lap times of the cars with seeded and amateur drivers, and the extra time that the seeded drivers have to spend in the pits during their compulsory stops.”

Tony Quinn turned up at Winton with the V.I.P. Petfoods Mosler, which was Klark’s GT Championship mount last year, and his own ride in 2010, instead of his usual Ferrari 458 Italia. The switch came about after Tony agreed to let Peter Edwards drive the Ferrari when Edwards’ similar car couldn’t be repaired in time after a testing accident.

He qualified the British supercar 10th fastest with a lap time that would have put him on the front row in 2011 – an indication of the increased pace and competitiveness of this year’s GT Championship field.

Tony explained his reasoning for the generous gesture.

“Being the category owner, I decided to give Peter the opportunity to drive a car like the one he drove in the first two rounds,” he said. “Peter is one of the main contenders for the title, and Maranello Motorsport is a strong supporter of the GT Championship.

“Anyway, the Mosler was only a couple of tenths of a second off the Ferrari and Porsche at our test day in February, so it isn’t ready to be pensioned off yet!”

RESULTS

1. Nick O’Halloran-Cameron McConville* (Maranello Motorsport / Ferrari 458 Italia) 1min. 21.5318sec.

2. Peter Edwards-Johnny Reid* (Ill Bello Rosso / Ferrari 458 Italia) 1min. 22.0146sec.

3. Roger Lago (JBS / Lamborghini Gallardo Mercedes SLS AMG) 1min. 22.3110sec.

4. Klark Quinn (V.I.P. Petfoods / Porsche GT3-R) 1min. 22.8304sec.

10. Tony Quinn (V.I.P. Petfoods / Mosler MT900) 1min. 24.0539sec.

* seeded driver

RACE 1

Klark Quinn made good at the rolling start of Saturday’s race by outjumping Roger Lago’s Lamborghini Gallardo into third place. That became second place further around the opening lap after Nick O’Halloran spun off in his Ferrari 458 Italia.

Things took a turn for the worse for Klark when Peter Hackett powered past the V.I.P. Petfoods Porsche in his 6.3-litre Mercedes on lap three, and then Lago reclaimed his starting position on lap 13.

But the scenario changed again as the 60-minute race passed the one-third time mark, opening the compulsory pit stop ‘window’. As usual, Klark stayed out on the track while his rivals pitted, gaining positions one by one until he hit the lead on lap 21.

Then Andrew Taplin spun and bogged his Lamborghini in the soggy outfield, bringing out the Safety Car. Klark immediately headed for the pits while the rest of the field dawdled behind the Commodore course car.

He saved enough time to retain the lead when he returned to the track, but no sooner had the race resumed than race officials held out the black flag to several drivers – including Klark! Apparently he'd failed to stop at the red light at the end of the pitlane after his compulsory stop, and had to return for a drive-through penalty.

That dropped the V.I.P. Petfoods Porsche to sixth, and although Klark pressed on for the remaining 13 laps he could only recover two places by the finish.

“I couldn’t believe it when the crew told me on the radio that I’d been given a drive-through,” he said afterwards. “I saw the red light, but I didn’t stop because Greg Crick was right behind me in his Viper.

“I was worried that he mightn’t see the light, and pile into me, like when Lewis Hamilton ran into Kimi Raikkonen at the Canadian Grand Prix a few years ago.

“Until then our strategy was working perfectly. The two-driver teams had dropped back as we expected, and it was looking like it would be a fantastic race to the finish between Peter, Roger, Greg and me.

“But the drive-through penalty ended that.”

Like Klark, Tony Quinn also got away to a promising start in the V.I.P. Petfoods Mosler. He advanced two places on the opening lap, and another one on lap three when Peter Conroy ran wide in his Audi R8 LMS.

On lap seven he lost one place to Greg Crick, but using the same long-range first stint strategy as Klark he graduated to fourth place by lap 27. A top-five finish was on the cards – until he copped a drive-through penalty as well!

That left Tony in seventh place, which he maintained until the chequered flag, but he was classified sixth following a post-race penalty to Audi driver Rod Salmon.

RESULTS – 40 laps (120km)

1. Peter Hackett (Erebus Racing / Mercedes SLS AMG) 1hr 00min. 06.9258sec.

2. Roger Lagos (JBS / Lamborghini Gallardo LP600) 1hr 00min. 22.7895sec.

3. Ben Eggleston (Alamoana.com.au / Aston Martin DBRS9) 1hr 00min. 27.0774sec.

4. Klark Quinn (V.I.P. Petfoods / Porsche GT3 R) 1hr 00min. 35.8022sec.

6. Tony Quinn (V.I.P. Petfoods / Mosler MT900) 1hr 01min. 15.3729sec.

RACE 2

For Klark, the first part of Sunday’s race followed a similar pattern to Saturday’s. This time he grabbed third place from Ben Eggleston’s Aston Martin at the start, and then latched onto the back bumper of Peter Hackett’s Mercedes.

By lap 17 the battle between the two German cars had allowed Roger Lago to eke out a small lead in his Lamborghini, so Klark lunged past Hackett as they entered Honda Corner. A lap later he was in the lead, courtesy of Lago making his compulsory pit-stop.

Klark took advantage of his slightly shorter pit-stop than Lago and Hackett, specified by the GT Championship rules according to race starting positions. Consequently the V.I.P. Petfoods Porsche exited the pitlane on lap 26 with a narrow lead over the Mercedes and Lamborghini.

Hackett quickly closed the gap, and was challenging Klark for the lead when Jan Jinadasa spun his Porsche off the track on lap 36. The Safety Car came out prematurely, because Jinadasa was able to continue unassisted, but the damage was done.

Hackett, Lago, Eggleston Crick, Mark Eddy (Audi) and the rest lined up behind Klark, ready to attack at the restart. With only enough time remaining for three more racing laps, it was going to be on for young and old.

With the track well and truly clear, the Safety Car peeled off into the pitlane – followed by Klark!

The V.I.P. Petfoods Porsche’s left rear tyre had a puncture, forcing Klark to dash into the pits for a new one. In the process he lost almost a full lap, and finished down in eighth place, while Hackett went on to take his second win of the weekend.

“The tyre lost pressure during the Safety Car, and about five corners before the restart I knew I’d have to come into the pits to have it changed,” Klark said. “What made it worse was having to follow the Safety Car slowly down the pitlane!

“It was disappointing to not to win any of the races after leading both of them, but the racing was great - really close.

"The GT Championship is incredibly tight this year. There are 10 or 12 drivers capable of getting pole positions and race wins, and each round has had a different overall winner: me at Adelaide, Greg at Phillip Island, and now Peter at Winton.

“We’ve all had dramas at different times, so no-one has been able to build up a big points lead.”

Tony Quinn’s race started inauspiciously when he spun – with some outside assistance – on the first lap. He clawed his way back up the leader board, reaching third place by keeping the V.I.P. Petfoods Mosler on the track while the rest made their pit-stops.

He pitted just after Klark, and resumed in 12th place. During the last 14 laps he recovered three spots when Martin Wagg’s Aston Martin retired from the race, Andrew Taplin dropped back in his Lamborghini, and James Brock had mechanical problems with his borrowed Mosler.

A top 10 finish was a better than expected result, considering Tony was last until lap five!

The fourth round of the GT Championship will be at Sydney Motorsport Park (formerly Eastern Creek Raceway) on July 13-15.



CHAMPIONSHIP POINTS (after three of seven rounds)
1. Klark Quinn 70

2. Peter Hackett 69

3. Peter Edwards 59

9. Tony Quinn 21

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Fri Jul 06, 2012 8:11 am

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:MEDIA NEWS:Australian GT to celebrate 50th Championship event at Sydney
Thursday, 5th July 2012

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Immediate Release

MEDIA NEWS. Australian GT to celebrate 50th Championship event at Sydney

28 June 2012 – The Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security category will celebrate its 50th National Championship event at the next round of the Shannons Nationals Series, to be run at Sydney Motorsport Park (formerly known as Eastern Creek) on July 14th-15th.

GT racing was born in Australia in the early 1960’s with just a single event being held annually to determine a national champion. In the 1980’s GT racing evolved to become the Australian Sports Car Championship but over time the category moved away from production based models to more highly modified versions, eventually developing into the Kerrick Sports Sedan Series cars of today.

PROCAR’s Australian GT Production Car Championship reintroduced the category in 1995 with GT sports models competing alongside high performance sedans such as the rally bred Subaru and Mitsubishi turbo’s. The championship prospered and in 2000 PROCAR split the category to introduce a more pure form of GT racing and Nations Cup was born. The new category was an immediate success allowing the Australian racing public to again enjoy the sight and sound of these high revving thoroughbreds racing against each other in true GT fashion.

Jim Richards dominated the early years of Nations Cup winning three consecutive titles in a Porsche 996 GT3 conquering such marques as Ferrari, Lamborghini and Chrysler along the way. Holden briefly joined the championship in 2003 with their controversial Monaro 427C’s, a low production specialty that many felt had not met the class specification due to insufficient numbers being produced but it was Paul Stokell who prevailed, assuming the mantle as Nations Cup Champion for the next two years in his Lamborghini Diablo GTR.

After the demise of PROCAR in 2004, the class was reformed into what is now known as the Australian GT Championship and since its inception in 2005, has been a regular on the National motorsport calendar providing close and exciting racing.

The category was purchased in 2011 by Gold Coast businessman, Tony Quinn. The VIP Petfoods company owner and GT racing enthusiast, along with son Klark, had been staunch supporters and regular competitors in the championship for a number of years. The purpose of Tony’s acquisition was simple, to ensure the stability and growth of the category into the future.

After consultation with team’s and driver’s a change of regulations to full FIA GT3 specification and a new mini-enduro race format with compulsory timed pit stops was adopted for the 2012 season and the positive impact of these changes was immediate. Several exciting new GT3 exotics lined up for Round 1 at the Clipsal 500 event and a number of new teams and driver combinations have since joined the ranks.

With nine different manufacturers competing inside the top ten at the recent Winton round, racing is as diverse as it is intense and represents one of very few category’s worldwide where such a large range of cars can be seen genuinely competing against each other for line honours.

The 2012 Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security, providing exciting racing and one of the most impressive looking grids in Australian motorsport - GT racing has never looked so good.

Photo credit : Mpix Photography (John Morris)

With Reid and Lago slightly ahead of the pack, the balance of the grid stream through Winton’s notorious turn 1 led by Klark Quinn in the Sargent Security Porsche 911 GT3R

Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security championship points, following round 3 at Winton

GT Championship Class
1 Klark Quinn Porsche 911 GT3 R 70
2 Peter Hackett Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 69
3 Peter Edwards & co-drivers Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 55
4 Greg Crick Dodge Viper Competition Coupe 52
5 James Brock Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 47
6 Ben Eggleston Aston Martin DBRS9 38
7 Roger Lago Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 (LP600) 31
8 Jim Manolios / Rod Wilson Chevrolet Corvette ZO6R GT3 22
9 Nick O’Halloran & co-drivers Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 22
10 Tony Quinn Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 / Mosler MT900 GT3 21

GT Challenge Class
1 Jan Jinadasa Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 116
2 Peter Boylan Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 61
3 Brenton Griguol & co-drivers Ferrari 360 Challenge 45

GT Trophy Class
1 Andrew Taplin Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 (LP520) 99
2 Dean Koutsoumidis / Andrew McInnes Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 (LP520) 93
3 Jordan Ormsby Porsche 997 GT3 Cup 40

GT Sports
1 Darren Berry & co-drivers Ginetta G50 84

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Jul 15, 2012 8:56 am

http://www.speedcafe.com wrote:LAGO/RUSSELL CHARGE TO VICTORY IN SYDNEY GT OPENER
Saturday 14th July, 2012Author: SpeedCafe ©

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Lago and Russell both enjoyed their maiden AGTC race wins in Race 1 at Sydney Motorsport Park

Roger Lago and David Russell have combined to take victory in the first of two 60 minute races for the Australian GT Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.
Starting from fifth on the grid, Lago completed the opening 19 of the eventual 38 laps in the JBS Lamborghini before handing over to the Dunlop V8 Supercars Series regular.
Russell promptly closed down a significant deficit to race leader Peter Hackett before easing away to a near five-second win.
“It’s a great result,” said Russell after winning in his maiden AGTC start.
“Once I got into the car I knew it was up to the task of chasing down Peter. I looked after the tyres and then went for it when I needed to.
“It’s great for Roger, his first stint was fantastic and got us in the position where we could win.”
Hackett had run second to pole-sitter John Bowe (Ferrari) in the early laps before electing to make an early Compulsory Pit Stop.
The Erebus Racing Mercedes driver eventually finished second to take a three point lead over Klark Quinn (Porsche) in the championship standings.
Quinn scored third in the race ahead of Ben Eggleston (Aston Martin), Tony Quinn (Mosler), Peter Edwards/John Bowe, Ash Samadi (Mosler), Martin Wagg (Aston Martin), Neil Muston (Porsche) and John Briggs (Mosler).
The Ford GT of Kevin Weeks/Steve Owen and the Chrysler Viper of Greg Crick both qualified in the top six but failed to finish due to electronic issues.
The debuting Graham Lusty/Darrell Dixon Nissan GT-R faired little better, completing just eight laps before being forced out with broken wheelstuds.
A second 60 minute race will complete the fourth round of the Australian GT Championship at the Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils event tomorrow.
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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Jul 15, 2012 12:52 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:Ferrari takes pole in thriller AGT qualifying session

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14 July 2012 – In a closely fought Australian GT Championship – protected by Sargent Security qualifying session, Peter Edwards & John Bowe have topped the time sheets in their Maranello Motorsport prepared Il Bello Rosso Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.

In what was one of the most competitive qualifying sessions in the history of Australian GT racing, quite fitting for their 50th event celebrations, the first eight cars were separated by less than one second with the Ferrari duo recording a fastest lap of 1.29.3986. Their time unofficially slashing the existing lap record of 1.32.5548 set by Daniel Gaunt in a Porsche 997 GT3 in May 2011 (new lap records can only be established during racing, not qualifying)

Erebus Racing’s Peter Hackett, a mere 0.12 sec slower than Edwards / Bowe, led the chasing pack in his Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 with Klark Quinn (Porsche 911 GT3 R), Kevin Weeks / Steve Owen (Ford GT GT3), Roger Lago (Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 LP600), Greg Crick (Dodge Viper Competition Coupe II), Ben Eggleston (Aston Martin DBRS9), Tony Quinn (Mosler MT900 GT3), Martin Wagg (Aston Martin DBRS9) and Ash Samadi (Mosler MT900 GT3) rounding out the top ten.

In the other Australian GT Championship classes, Dean Koutsoumidis took the Trophy class pole position in his Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 LP520, Jan Jinadasa claimed pole in the Challenge class in his Porsche 997 GT3 Cup car and new to the Australian GT category for 2012, Graham Lusty and Darrell Dixon in a Nissan GTR Skyline took the Sport class honours with a time of 1.41.3080.

A notable omission from today’s qualifying session was Erebus Drillpro Racing’s James Brock who suffered another moment in his Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3 during testing yesterday and will be a non starter for this round.

The first of two scheduled 1 hour mini enduro races will get underway at 4.05pm (16.05hrs) this afternoon.

Photo credit : Mpix Photography (John Morris)

Edwards/Bowe Il Bello Rosso Racing Ferrari Italia GT3 takes pole at Sydney Motorsport Park
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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Jul 15, 2012 11:55 pm

http://www.speedcafe.com wrote:BOWE/EDWARDS WIN, LAGO CRASHES IN GT RACE 2
Sunday 15th July, 2012Author: SpeedCafe ©

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Edwards and Bowe overcame the 18 second ‘seeded driver’ pitstop penalty to take Race 2

John Bowe has defeated Peter Hackett in a spirited late race duel to win the second 60 minute encounter for the Australian GT Championship at Sydney Motorsport Park.
A measured opening stint from sixth on the grid by car-owner Peter Edwards allowed Bowe to emerge in third behind Klark Quinn and race leader Hackett once the mid-race pitstop cycle shook out.
Taking Quinn with a wily manoeuvre at Turn 5, Bowe was then able to move onto the tail of Hackett when the Safety Car was called with 13 minutes remaining following a crash from Saturday winner Roger Lago.

Just two laps would be completed after the resumption of racing, but six corners proved enough for Bowe to take the lead from Hackett – the two-cars making minor side-to-side contact as the Mercedes turned in on the fully-committed Ferrari.

With no damage done, Hackett came home second to secure the round honours and marginally extend his championship lead.
Quinn (Porsche) eventually took third from father Tony Quinn (Mosler), Ben Eggleston (Aston Martin), Neil Muston (Porsche), Martin Wagg (Aston Martin), Rod Salmon (Audi), Peter Conroy (Audi) and Jan Jinadasa (Porsche).

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Roger Lago’s damaged Lamborghini

Lago had been running fifth at the time of his accident after co-driver David Russell saw his sizeable early race gap over the field evaporate thanks to a full course yellow being required for Ash Samadi’s stranded Mosler.

It was a bad day also for fellow non-finishers Greg Crick (whose Chrysler struck fuel issues during its pitstop) and John Briggs (who retired his Mosler on the second lap with broken suspension).
The Kevin Weeks/Steve Owen Ford failed to make the start after its software-related gear selection issues yesterday.

Hackett now leads the championship standings by six points ahead of Klark Quinn, with the Bowe/Edwards combination just nine further adrift in third.
Three of the seven rounds still remain, with the category now returning to Phillip Island with the Shannons Nationals presented by Hi-Tec Oils on September 21-23.
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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sat Aug 18, 2012 3:06 pm

www.speedcafe.com wrote:Lowndes to take on Australian GT field at Phillip Island
Friday 17th August, 2012
Author: SpeedCafe ©

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The Audi R8 that Lowndes will drive at Phillip Island
TeamVodafone V8 Supercars star Craig Lowndes will return to the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS when the Australian GT Championship heads to Phillip Island in late September.

The 38-year-old has competed with Audi’s factory effort at the last two Bathurst 12 Hour races, but is yet to race in the GT Championship.

He will drive one of five Melbourne Performance Centre-prepared R8s at the Shannons Nationals event.

“I am very pleased to be stepping back aboard an Audi R8 LMS again, and particularly at a track like Phillip Island,” said Lowndes.

“I’ve enjoyed my two outings with the factory Audi team at Bathurst in the 12-Hour but have yet to win in the car, so hopefully Phillip Island will give me the chance.

“The guys at Melbourne Performance Centre have been involved with the factory cars all the way, so I expect we will be very competitive again. I am looking forward to it.”

Lowndes’ entry utilises one of the two cars left in the country following this year’s Phoenix Racing Bathurst assault, and will run in the same One World Bar livery that proprietor Rod Salmon has competed with this season.

While the deal is a one-off, MPC owner Troy Russell has expressed his desire to see Lowndes join the team for a full campaign next year.

“Our aim is for this to be an ongoing program,” said Russell.

“Craig obviously has V8 Supercar commitments, and we’re thankful to Triple Eight for releasing him for the Phillip Island weekend, but … for us this is just the start. We’d like to have a professional driver in the car alongside our current team at every round in 2013.”

MPC is the Australian agent for Audi’s global customer GT program, and is likely to spearhead the marque’s attack on the 2013 Bathurst 12 Hour in the expected absence of an international Audi presence.
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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:28 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:15 July 2012
PETER HACKETT TAKES ROUND WIN AND CAMS TOURIST TROPHY IN SYDNEY

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Peter Hackett and Erebus Racing have taken out the fourth round of the Australian GT Championship, protected by Sargent Security after a thrilling battle with John Bowe at Sydney Motorsport Park today, along with being awarded the time honoured CAMS Tourist Trophy.

Hackett appeared to be on for a comfortable victory – the Erebus Racing team’s strategy to bank tyres for today’s 60 minute stoush proving crucial.

With around 10 minutes to go, a Safety Car was triggered when early leader, Roger Lago’s Lamborghini sustained serious damage after an off heading into the final corner.

Whilst having the pace to withhold Bowe under green conditions, coming under the control of the Safety Car changed the game significantly. Bowe was able to get on racing terms with Hackett and seeing a gap, the two driving instructors were side by side for a number of corners, at one point rubbing door handles.

Bowe was able to assume the lead and over the remaining lap, Hackett fought back, however wasn’t able to get past him.

Nevertheless, the Erebus Racing driver took the 563 horsepower chromed AMG Customer Sports Program car to victory lane in the round overall. He extended his Championship lead over third placed Klark Quinn to six points.

Early in the race, Hackett was battling with Quinn. As pitstops throughout the field cleansed, he assumed the lead from the Lamborghini of David Russell and Lago and the Peter Edwards/John Bowe machine.

By virtue of his two round wins in succession, Peter Hackett’s name joins the likes of Stirling Moss, Bib Stillwell and Frank Matich, among others on the CAMS Tourist Trophy – awarded with the combined pointscores of the last two events.

Overall, it was a challenging but rewarding weekend for the Erebus Racing squad. Whilst disappointed at not securing a race win over the weekend, Hackett was philosophical – happy with his qualifying pace and taking the Championship lead.

The round win and two second places continue the team’s run of finishing with at least one podium finish in every event that it has contested with its pair of SLS AMG GT3’s – one of the most successful teams in the AMG Customer Sports program around the world.

The next event will be back at Phillip Island in September.

FROM BENEATH THE GULLWING:

Peter Hackett – #63 Erebus Racing SLS AMG GT3:
“What a sensational result for our team – to join the likes of Stirling Moss and Bib Stillwell on the CAMS Tourist Trophy is just brilliant, it’s a real honour.

“To take our second successive round win and take over the Championship lead is something I’m really excited about. The Championship changes every weekend and I am sure that we haven’t seen the end of those changes with three rounds to go.

“I’m disappointed we couldn’t get the race win today, I made a small mistake off the restart and you don’t leave John Bowe a gap, because he will go for it any day of the week. It is exactly what he did – but it was an awesome way to finish the race.

“To fight for the win with this SLS AMG GT3 was a delight – it’s a sensational car and the areas that we have had to work on this season so far we’re really getting a handle on.

“We made a few changes after Winton and they have worked. I’m most pleased with our qualifying pace – I’m really excited about where we are at right now.

“We’ll go away, celebrate this one and then come back at Phillip Island even stronger.

“It’s exciting times for Erebus Racing and the entire AMG Customer Sports Program worldwide at the moment and this team just keeps getting better and better.”

RESULTS – RACE 2 – SYDNEY MOTORSPORT PARK:
1. J. Bowe/P. Edwards (Ferrari)
2. Peter Hackett (SLS AMG GT3)
3. Klark Quinn (Porsche)
4. Tony Quinn (Mosler)
5. Ben Eggleston (Aston Martin)

ROUND RESULTS – ROUND 4 AUSTRALIAN GT CHAMPIONSHIP PROTECTED BY SARGENT SECURITY:
1. Peter Hackett (SLS AMG GT3)
2. J. Bowe/P. Edwards (Ferrari)
3. Klark Quinn (Porsche)

Australian GT Championship, protected by Sargent Security standings:
1. Peter Hackett – 101 points (+6)
2. Klark Quinn – 95
3. Peter Edwards – 86
4. Greg Crick – 56
5. Ben Eggleston – 54
7. James Brock – 47

Upcoming TV Coverage:
SPEED TV – “Australian GT Championship”
60 minute highlights
Phillip Island – Wednesday, July 18 – 8pm
Winton – Wednesday, August 15 – 8pm

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:30 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:TEAM NEWS: EUROPEAN DRIVERS BOLSTER EREBUS MOTORSPORT AUSTRALIAN GT CAMPAIGN
Tuesday, 4th September 2012

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European drivers bolster Erebus Motorsport Australian GT Campaign

Erebus Motorsport will have its quest for the SLS GT3's first Championship outside Europe boosted when Peter Hackett will be joined by a European ‘wing man’ for the final three rounds of the Australian GT Championship.

Starting at Phillip Island’s round five as part of the Shannon's Nationals (September 21-23), Hackett will be joined by 26-year-old Maro Engel. A former runner up in the British Formula 3 Championship, Engel was racing for Mercedes-Benz in the DTM series for the last four seasons.

He is now contracted to AMG as an instructor in the AMG Driving Academy and expert for the AMG Customer Sports program, of which Erebus Motorsport forms a key part.

Engel’s role at Phillip Island - indeed the three AMG ambassadors that will join Erebus Motorsport across the final three rounds - is to ensure Hackett and the close-knit team adds to its list of ‘firsts’ and becomes the first AMG Customer Sports team outside Europe to win a Championship.

“I’m excited to be making my first trip to Australia and the fact I’ll be racing an SLS AMG GT3 on a beautiful circuit like Phillip Island is even sweeter,” said Engel. “It is one of the Australian circuits well known around the world. The Erebus Motorsport team has done AMG Customer Sports proud there in the past - which adds a bit of pressure!

“My job will be to help Peter (Hackett) in his Championship race and to assist the team with more information allowing them to develop their pair of SLS AMG GT3’s.

“Erebus Motorsport is known as a very professional team in the AMG Customer Sports program and it will be nice to work with the team first hand. It is a dream come true for me to race in Australia.”

The Monaco-based German cycling enthusiast will step into the seat vacated by James Brock. Brock - still very much a part of the Erebus Motorsport family - steps aside due to budgetary reasons and is currently analysing his options for 2013.

Engel drove for the Mucke Motorsport AMG team in the DTM Championship for four seasons between 2008 and 2011. His 2011 Championship was affected when it was discovered he was suffering myocarditis - an inflammation of the heart muscle.

Intensive treatment and recovery - driven by his passion for cycling and being surrounded by the Monegasque F1 elite, along with a step back from full time competition sees Engel now at full fitness.

Outside of racing, the Munich born racer is one of 68 Champions of Peace for the Peace and Sport Foundation, which uses sport to address social problems within communities around the world. Other Champions of Peace include Novak Djokovic, Sebastian Loeb, Loris Capirossi, Frankie Fredericks and Australians Bradley McGee and Cathy Freeman to name a few.

Erebus Motorsport CEO, Ryan Maddison welcomes the international injection from AMG Customer Sports.

“AMG agreed to send three of their factory drivers to Australia to assist our team in the second half of this season which makes us very happy,” said Maddison. “Having three drivers, all of whom are behind the wheel of the SLS Gullwing on a regular basis, and their troika of different opinions can only assist our program moving forward.

“We are in negotiation around the schedules of the remaining two drivers, but rest assured we’re extremely happy with discussions so far and will make announcements around them in due course.

“This shows the level of relationship that Erebus Motorsport has with AMG Customer Sports. The Europeans will add a distinctly international flavour to the Australian GT Championship at Phillip Island, the Gold Coast and Homebush.”

Ulrich Fritz, Manager of the AMG Customer Sports program, continues: “We are happy to support our customer team Erebus Motorsport with our drivers. In order to support our customer teams, we have established a driver support program, offering our teams the chance to benefit from the knowledge and speed of our drivers. These driver assignments in Australia show how successful and popular this support program has become for our teams."

Peter Hackett was equally as happy to welcome Engel on board.

“Maro’s a quality competitor and I’ve been fortunate to spend time with him at the AMG Driving Academy,” said Hackett. “He and his colleagues will deliver so much to me in terms of support and the entire Erebus Motorsport program when they arrive here in Australia.

“We’re in a fantastic position right now in leading the Championship and we want to protect that as much as possible. Maro and the AMG drivers will help us to do that.”

Maro Engel will occupy the Erebus Motorsport #62 at the Phillip Island Shannon’s Nationals round, September 21-23.

Erebus Motorsport thanks James Brock for his efforts throughout the 2012 season so far.

The remaining two drivers will be announced in advance of both the Gold Coast and Sydney events.

ABOUT MARO ENGEL:
Height: 178cm
Weight: 70kg
DOB: 27/8/1985
Birthplace: Munich
Lives: Monaco
Status: Unmarried
Hobbies: Karting, fitness, gym, cycling, snooker
Favourite track: Spa-Francorchamps

CAREER:

2012-Present: AMG Ambassador, AMG Driver Academy trainer
2008-2011: DTM driver, Mucke Motorsports (AMG)
2007: British Formula 3 - runner-up
2006: British Formula 3 - 5th
2005: Italian Formula 3000

EREBUS MOTORSPORT ROUND 5 STATISTICS PACKAGE:
All times Australian Eastern Standard Time
Circuit: Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit
Circuit Length: 4.445km
2012 (May) Pole Position: Greg Crick (Viper): 1:33.1658
2012 (May) Race 1 Winner: Peter Hackett (Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3)
2012 (May) Race 2 Winner: Greg Crick (Viper)
Lap Record: 1:33.6203 - 2009 - Alan Simonsen (Ferrari 430 GT3)

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:31 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:MEDIA RELEASE: Vicious Rumour Racing
Tuesday, 18th September 2012

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There's a vicious rumour circulating the Australian GT Championship paddock that another Ferrari 458 GT3 will be on the grid for Round 5 at Phillip Island this weekend. The car will be entered by Melbourne based team Vicious Rumour Racing, a name well known in drag racing circles with their '67 Camaro Top Doorslammer. Driver Tony Defelice made his foray into circuit racing this year campaigning the Ferrari 458 GT3 in the Victorian state series. With a number of pole positions, fastest laps and race wins under his belt, Tony is now stepping up to the Australian GT Championship. With the allowance for a co-driver in the 2 x 1 hour endurance races, Tony will be joined by well-known driving instructor and race engineer, Renato Loberto. Tony and Renato first met at a Ferrari Corso Pilota event in 2010, where Renato was working as the senior instructor. Since then Renato has worked very closely with Tony mentoring, coaching and engineering him in the 458 GT3.

"I am ecstatic to have been given the opportunity to go racing with Tony and the team. He is fast, and a natural behind the wheel, and the team are a great bunch of guys." said the 31 year old Sydney sider.

In testing and racing, Tony has achieved times that are comparable to the Championship class at Phillip Island. And with limited testing miles, Renato has achieved similar results.

“Over the years I’ve engineered some of Australia’s best cars and drivers, but rarely do I then go and race with them. Tony gets quicker every time he drives the car so if I can’t keep up I might be out of a job!” joked Renato.
At this stage this will be a one-off round for both drivers, who are looking to put together a package for the 2013 season.

“If we are going to go racing full time next year, it makes sense to give it a try this year at a circuit we have done some miles on. I have every confidence that the car and team will deliver, so it’s a test of us as drivers to see if we can match it with the likes of Hackett, Quinn, Eddy, Crick, Simonsen, Lowndes and Bowe.” explained Renato.
Round 7 of the Australian GT Championship will take place at Victoria’s Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, September 21 to 23, 2012. With practice on Friday, Qualifying and Race 1 on Saturday, and Race 2 on Sunday.

-ENDS-

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Re: Australian GT Championship 2012

Postby Catford on Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:33 pm

www.australiangt.com.au wrote:Lowndes the ‘Danger Man’ at Phillip Island
Thursday, 20th September 2012

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Lowndes the ‘Danger Man’ at Phillip Island
Melbourne Performance Centre - Preview Rnd#5 Australian GT Championship
Phillip Island, September 21-23, 2012

Just four short months ago the Australian GT Championship conducted its second round at the Phillip Island circuit, and that time around the conditions were anything but favourable. This coming weekend the series will return for their fifth round, and whilst Victoria’s weather can be unpredictable at the best of times during Spring, for the title contenders, the prediction is stormy.. and that storm will arrive in the form of the hottest driver on Australian shores right now.. Craig Lowndes.

Just over a month ago Melbourne Performance Centre revealed that they’d negotiated an arrangement with Audi Australia, One World Bar and Pirelli to put the V8 Supercar star back behind the wheel of an Audi R8 LMS GT3 for the first time since his ill-fated Bathurst 12-Hour assault in February.

Teamed with reigning GT champion Mark Eddy and recent Sandown 500 race winning co-driver Warren Luff, the Pheonix Racing supported crew were in sight of going one better than their 2011 runner-up result before mid-race contact ended their run prematurely.

Lowndes has never made a secret of the fact that he would like to pursue other forms of motorsport beyond his V8 Supercar career, and he has proven to be particularly fond of the Audi R8, in fact last season as a result of his second placed finish in the Bathurst 12-Hour, Lowndes and Luff were invited to compete on the famed Nurburgring. Driving the Team Audi Race Experience R8, Lowndes and Luff were inside the top ten during qualifying before a back-marker moved across on the five-time Bathurst winner and forced their car out of the event.

“I am very pleased to be stepping back into an Audi R8 LMS again, and particularly at a track like Phillip Island,” Craig Lowndes said.

“I’ve enjoyed my two outings with the factory Audi team at Bathurst in the 12-Hour but have yet to win in the car, so hopefully Phillip Island will give me the chance. The guys at Melbourne Performance Centre have been involved with the factory cars all the way, so I expect we will be very competitive again. I am looking forward to it.”

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for us to work with Craig again,” Melbourne Performance Centre’s Troy Russell agreed. “The two Pheonix cars that ran at Bathurst this year were still in the country on the promotional circuit for Audi, so we approached Audi Australia about the idea, and together with Rod Salmon’s One World Bar, Pirelli Australia and the Audi Driving Experience, we put the deal together to have Craig back in the car.”

Lowndes is the form driver in V8 Supercars at present, having won four of his last five races [he was second to team-mate Jamie Whincup in the other] including last weekend’s opening endurance round, the Sandown 500.

As a ‘seeded’ driver, Lowndes will incur additional time penalties during his pitstop, but unlike other ‘seeded’ drivers, Lowndes will not be sharing driving duties, so he is expected to be a real threat, more so if Victoria’s Spring weather turns nasty.

“I’m really looking forward to the weekend,” Lowndes team-mate and fellow One World Bar pilot Rod Salmon admitted. “To have Craig’s input into the R8 will be invaluable, and being able to overlay data between his car and mine can only help my progression,”

Lowndes won’t be the only new addition to the Audi ranks at Phillip Island, with former V8 Supercar team-owner John Briggs having taken delivery of a ‘new’ car from Germany. The former Mosler pilot has struggled with a number of niggling issues with the British designed sportscar, and has unfinished business with GT. The opportunity to get himself an R8 was too good to pass up.

“I bought a Mosler [MT900 GT3] last year because they looked like a good thing, with lots of torque and lots of power and whilst I haven’t had the best of runs, that’s been down to little niggling things, but the reason for my change to Audi has a lot to do with logistics and time,” Briggs admitted.

“When we took on the Mosler it was part of a package that included a second team, so we were sharing resources, transport and infrastructure - all the things that are important if you’re going to be competitive, but that situation changed.

“I like to be a little hands-on with my own team, especially with Mark McLaughlin who has been with me for years engineering the car, but to run our own car, maintain it and transport it as a single-car operation was too much work, so the chance to run with Melbourne Performance Centre [MPC] in an Audi R8 was just too good an opportunity to pass up.

“MPC are a fantastic operation, they’re a great team of guys who know what they’re doing, and with the support of the Audi Sport Customer Racing team back in Germany, it was a real no-brainer. Not only did they have the car, but they can maintain it and they can transport it and have everything they need on tap to keep it operational, from spares to direct access to the factory on the phone if there’s anything they can’t deal with themselves.

“The car is just fantastic. I’ve driven it a couple of times now at Phillip Island, and to be honest, if you told me it was brand new and had never been driven, I would have believed you. Apart from the chassis, the roll-cage and the roof, I think they replaced just about everything - it’s immaculate.

“It’s also fantastic to drive, the aero and mechanical grip it has is amazing, and the mid-corner speed and grip is incredible. The Mosler was fantastic to drive, especially the raw power and the torque, but the Audi is so typically German, it’s just a precision instrument, but then again, I suppose they’re renowned for that.

“I’d also like to welcome two new supporters to my team too,” Briggs added. “Audi Centre Brisbane and East Coast Car Rentals will be with me for the next part of this journey, and we’re all excited about what’s ahead.”

Cars are on circuit this Friday (September 21) for opening practice, with the first of the three sessions underway at 10:25am.

Melbourne Performance Centre is proudly supported by One World Bar, Pirelli Australia, The Audi Race Experience, PH Motorsport Trailers - supplier of the new Audi Sports Customer racing transporter, BluFi Wireless Australia, Questek Australia and Top Gun Restorations.

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