Most people will be looking at this weekend and thinking of the Nurburgring 24 hours. Or the Formula One Monaco Grand Prix, or the Indianapolis 500. But there is another major championship racing this weekend. The Australian Endurance Championship begins at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit.
This season will be the championship’s second year, and features a very similar calendar to its inaugural season. The campaign sees the green light at Phillip Island this weekend and proceeds to Sydney Motorsport Park, Hampton Downs and Highlands as the year moves on.
The most dominant brand on the entry for Sunday’s endurance classic is Lamborghini. The Zagame Motorsport Hurucan will be piloted by Adrian Deitz and Cameron McConville, who have previously split the duties in a Ferrari 458.
Zagame entered Australian motorsport with all the pomp and ceremony one would expect from an industry leading brand. Founded by Bobby Zagame, Zagame Motorsports has grown from a successful automotive business which represents many of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers, including Porsche and Lamborghini.
One of the cars that are going to stand out this weekend will be the iconic WA Waste Management Services Mercedes AMG GT3. With its brilliant emerald green and yellow livery, and a strong driver pairing of Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto. It’s going to be a car to keep an eye out for.
The two Jamec Pem Audis also look to be strong as ever. The #74 car will have Supercar master Garth Tander and Audi gun Geoff Emery behind the wheel. Piloting the #75 car will be Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans.
Maranello Motorsport will be running two names very familiar to the Australian GT Championship, Peter Edwards and Graham Smyth in Edwards’ Ferrari 488.
Series owner Tony Quinn will once again be joined by Mad Mike Whiddett in the Stix McLaren 650S GT3. Drift star Whiddett adapted to the McLaren very comfortably at the Hampton Downs round last year, so watch for his progression across the weekend.
Another one to watch out for is the Mega Fuels Racing Porsche driven by Liam Talbot and John Martin. The pair first drove together in the Australian GT round at Highlands late last year, before successfully teaming up at the Bathurst 12 hour in February, where they won the Amateur class and finished fourth overall alongside Duvashen Padayachee. Martin returns to the Walkinshaw stable with unfinished business, the 2016 AEC campaign yielded a fifth place in the championship despite only completing two of the four rounds.
So there we go. The lesson for today, frankly, is don’t place a bet on any car because any one of the 19 entrants could win this weekend.
First practice kicks off at 9:45am on Saturday with the race on Sunday which begins at 13:40pm. Be prepared for anything on Sunday, because the impossible will be made possible.