Get your sunnies out as the CAMS Australian GT Championship arrives in tropical Townsville for round four of the series.
We had an absolute barnstormer last time out at Barbagallo but now the championship fight descends on the scorching streets of Reid Park. 16 cars have made the trip north to the opposite side of the continent from our last round in Perth.
The narrow high-speed street circuit blows the competition wide open with a combination of fast flowing corners and some twisty bits too. A fine selection of the world’s best GT3 machines will duke it out between the rather inviting concrete barriers.
So let’s have a glance at the key points before the first track action kicks off tomorrow as Townsville comes alive for a thrilling motorsport fuelled weekend.
Australian GT will hit the track six times over the course of this weekend with the first wheel turned during practice on Friday morning. Reid Park will come alive with the sound GT cars roaring into action as the 20-minute practice session begins at 11:05.
Saturday is set to be a jam packed day of rip roaring race car entertainment. Two 20-minute qualifying sessions and the first of three races will take place ahead of another two more 40 minute races on Sunday. Book it in your diary right now!
Liam Talbot enters the weekend leading the championship standings by 28 points over Roger Lago and Geoff Emery in the Jamec Pem Audi. 28 points is a comfortable margin but there will be no dawdling this weekend as the championship fight continues to hot up, the final round fast approaching.
Lago and Emery are tying on 365 points with Peter Major and Tony Bates just behind, both on 320 points. Again very small margins represented at the top end of the standings. Let’s face reality, this weekend could be a ‘make it or break it’ situation for a couple of the teams.
So far this year the CAMS Australian GT Championship has visited a wide variety of circuits. From the brutal, punishing streets of Clipsal, to the wide open spaces of Albert Park and even the tight and technical Barbagallo Raceway in Perth.
Again the teams have another vastly different style of circuit to play on this weekend, the Townsville Reid Park circuit is typically a layout that suites a high aero-low drag car, which is something that was well demonstrated last year with the dominance of the McLaren 650s GT3. The British marque took out both race wins with a strong performance between the represented cars.
Parked in the paddock this weekend we have three McLaren 650s GT3’s, with their commanding feat in 2016 could the “Maccas” be the ones to watch out for during the races?
Fraser Ross has been a consistent finisher so far this year but is yet to score a win in his Total Opticoat, YNA Autosports McLaren. Keep an eye out for the McElrea Racing prepared car, it may be the ‘silent assassin’ as Fraser aims to better his 3 podium results.
The one and only Nurburgring 24 Hours winning Kelvin van der Linde is once again joining us this weekend, the South African back in Australia for the first time since his emotional Nurburgring 24 win. Van der Linde is racing alongside Geoff Emery, the duo is always a solid driver combination and are hoping to maximise their points this weekend to take the championship fight to Porsche driver Talbot.
One of the most abundant brands represented in the paddock this weekend at Townsville is Mercedes. A total of four AMG GT3’s will take to the track, with some very strong drivers in all. Could they play an important part in the race being the most frequent manufacture?
All these questions and more will be answered come Sunday afternoon, in saying that, expect the un-expected as Australian GT continuously serves up some brilliant races this year.