It was a race that went down to the last lap, a thrilling 500km, 3 hour + adventure that took us on a roller-coaster of ups and downs. The Australian Endurance Championship, Sydney Motorsport Park 501.
Missed what happened in the race? Checkout our comprehensive race report by CLICKING HERE.
Take a look at what the drivers had to say when we chatted to Tim Miles, Jaxon Evans, Geoff Emery, Kelvin van der Linde, Daniel Gaunt and Dylan O’Keeffe post-race at Sydney.
Tim Miles: Paired with Jaxon Evans in the #75 Jamec Pem Audi – finished the race in first place.
“It was the whole thing that counted for us,” said Miles.
“We had a very disciplined strategy which we stuck to, pitted in a reasonable positon, and then Jaxon took over and was able to chase the guys ahead of us down and get the win which is fantastic.
“We didn’t have the budget for the New Zealand rounds but we might have to have a good think about that, it would be the wrong thing to do if we didn’t try and win the championship from where we stand now.”
Jaxon Evans: Drove alongside Tim Miles in the #75 Jamec Pem Audi – finished race in first.
“Tim kind of made it nice and easy for me with his stellar first stint,” said Evans.
“It certainly wasn’t a relaxed finish to the race, we were hanging on for tyre life and John Martin in second was pushing hard. (It was) a good relief when we crossed the line and can’t ask for much more.
“Towards the end there we were raging it quite hard but it was a lot of fun out there.
“In Qualifying we showed good speed and the other Valvoline car was quite fast and the field very tight. We had a fantastic race car though which was nice and consistent and really good to drive.”
Geoff Emery: Paired with Kelvin van der Linde in the #74 Jamec Pem Audi – finished the race in third place after a terrific comeback drive from both drivers when they found the gravel on lap one.
“Initially when I ended up in the grass at turn one,” said Emery. “I thought this is over.
“Obviously it was a tough job from there but when we changed the strategy with the safety car, we fought back from basically last to the lead and then ended up in third which is great.”
“I struggled a bit with my back in the last stint so that hurt our lap times, but I’m working on that and will see how we go.
“Kelvin and I are working really well together, even considering our CPS time is so long and we’re still managing to get strong results, I’m super stoked about that.
“Being first and second in the championship for Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing is really cool too and we’re looking forward to the next round.”
Kelvin van der Linde: Raced alongside Geoff Emery in the #74 Jamec Pem Audi – finished the race in third place.
“The first stint was really good,” said van der Linde.
“The whole race was fun because after the first lap we were the underdog’s and I thought, okay it’s an uphill fight now, and that’s why I drove the wheels off it and didn’t really worry about saving tyres or fuel.
“After a while we made it to the front and then I started to conserve a bit and think about fuel and tyres.
“We had a good strategy, the second set of tyres were good and then the safety car ruined it for us which is unfortunate. Whether or not we would’ve been second if the safety car wasn’t deployed, it’s difficult to tell.
“At the end of the day, everything needs to work out to be successful and we just didn’t have luck, so look forward to next time.
It’s never nice to see on the first lap of a 500km race that you’re in the grass, in the begging it was really tough to accept because we knew that it would be an uphill struggle.
“When the first safety car came out we were right back in the fight, we had to go for a different strategy call as it was our only option at the time. I think it worked and it was the right call but luck just wasn’t on our side.”
Daniel Gaunt: Paired with Dylan O’Keeffe in the #124 KFC Audi R8 LMS – finished the race in fourth place.
“It was a great race and I had fun doing it,” said Gaunt.
“Dylan O’Keefe did a great job in his stint and we stayed out of trouble, although, we were a little penalised with our compulsory pit stop time comparative to others which hurt us the most.
“Qualifying wasn’t my best performance, I just didn’t switch it on. Practice was good, obviously we went a little backwards in Qualifying and then had a good race car underneath us.
“Health wise, I have had the flu all weekend which hampered us a bit, after the race I’ve been aching which isn’t normal for me so its definitely affected me.
Dylan O’Keeffe: Drove alongside Daniel Gaunt in the #124 KFC Audi – finished the race in third place.
“My first GT race was really good,” said O’Keeffe.
“It took me a while to get used to the car at the start of the weekend, especially passing other cars. We didn’t end up where we wanted in Qualifying, it was a bit difficult but in the race we managed to get past a few cars and got into fresh air where I felt very comfortable.
“Surprisingly, I found the Audi fairly similar to the Porsche Carrera Cup car, it had the same characteristics but the Audi is definitely a Carrera Cup car on steroids. All the aero grip and braking grip is phenomenal too and the driver aids like ABS and Traction Control are really cool.
“Hopefully I will be back in one of these cars next year, I really enjoyed the weekend and it was quite exciting.”
Images: Australian GT and Dirk Klynsmith