The Australian [GT] Endurance Championship will storm onto the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit this weekend for the second round of the series.
The all-star entry list, which includes not only the best GT drivers in Australia, but the world, and a bone chilling variety of cars will make for an exhilarating 501km race on Saturday!
The previous and opening round of the Australian Endurance Championship took place some three months ago at a rather frosty Phillip Island.
Treacherous and soggy conditions plagued the 500km endurance classic, but it was the Audi duo of Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles who fought through the worst of it to claim victory for Jamec Pem Racing.
As the trucks roll up in Sydney for round two, a little more user friendly weather is expected as the championship brawl continues.
A total of 17 GT3 cars will take to the track on Friday for practice, with 7 different brands represented across the entry list.
Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia will be fielding four of their R8 LMS’ run by the Melbourne Performance Centre crew.
Two of those come from the Phillip Island race winning team, Jamec Pem who will be running the infamous #74 and #75 cars.
In the #74 car, Geoff Emery will be joined by factory Audi gun Kelvin van der Linde, while Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans will once again pair up in the #75 Jamec Pem R8.
Last year’s Australian Endurance Championship winner, Grant Denyer will be making his racing return this weekend alongside Greg Taylor in the ultra-stealthy matte black, GT Motorsport R8.
The fourth and final Audi will be the KFC sponsored R8, piloted by Porsche ace Dylan O’Keefe and Australian GT race winner Daniel Gaunt.
The long main straight at the Sydney Motorsport Park circuit will ultimately suit one brand, and that’s Lamborghini.
The Zagame Motorsports Huracan will once again be back with Adrian Deitz and Cameron McConville set to take the wheel.
Jim Manolios and Ryan Millier will be driving the Trofeo Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan, while Andrew Macpherson and Brad Shiels will be in the AMAC Motorsport Huracan.
The lone Lamborghini RE-X will be run by this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour AM class podium getters, team owner Roger Lago will pair up with David Russell in the JBS Australia Lago Racing Lamborghini.
Tony Quinn will drive alongside New Zealander Jonny Reid in the Darrell Lea Stix McLaren 650s GT3, and Fraser Ross will combine with Warren Luff again in the YNA Autosports Opti-Coat Racing McLaren.
In Mercedes land, we will have four of the newest AMG GT3’s competing for the 501km endurance classic.
The first of those comes courtesy of Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto who will take the wheel of the bright green Waste Management Mercedes.
Mark Griffith is also set to compete in his Hogs Breath Café, Griffith Corporation AMG with factory Mercedes driver Dominik Baumann. The Austrian will bring plenty of experience to the to the Hogs Breath team, having raced with HTP Motorsport in Europe since last season.
Scott Taylor will once again drive alongside Craig Baird in the STM Mercedes, and the Autex AMG of Peter Hackett and Dominic Storey will be back to defend its championship position.
This year’s Bathurst 12 Hour winning team, Maranello Motorsports is locked and loaded for this weekend after a disappointing race at Phillip Island last time out.
The team who claimed victory in the 12 Hour earlier this year with Toni Vilander, Jamie Whincup and Craig Lowndes is ready and waiting to show what they’ve got after strategical setbacks during the Phillip Island race put them on the back foot.
The strong driver combination of Peter Edwards and Greame Smyth will make Maranello one to watch across the weekend.
Steven Richards and James Bergmuller will represent BMW in their Steven Richards Motorsport run M6 GT3, while Walkinshaw Racing will field the sole #911 Porsche of Liam Talbot and John Martin.
A rapid-fire program will see practice and both qualifying sessions held on Friday August 18, with the Sydney Motorsport Park 501 starting Saturday at 0735 local time/AEST.
Images: Australian GT