Farewell for GT cham­pi­onship

Bay of Plenty Times - - FRONT PAGE -

When the Aus­tralian GT Cham­pi­onship re­turns to New Zealand next month for the Laser Plumb­ing & Elec­tri­cal Hamp­ton Downs 500 it’s likely to be a farewell ap­pear­ance.

The Oc­to­ber 13-14 event will be the third year in a row the Waikato track has hosted the cars and stars of the Aus­tralian GT Cham­pi­onship and it’s the last time for the fore­see­able fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to Hamp­ton Downs owner Tony Quinn.

“We’ve had a great run with the se­ries and it’s a fit­ting fi­nale with both the Aus­tralian GT Cham­pi­onship and the Aus­tralian En­durance Cham­pi­onship set to be de­cided at Hamp­ton Downs,” says Quinn.

“We’ll have some of the best The Aus­tralian GT field on the open­ing lap of the 2017 race at Hamp­ton Downs. GT3 cars in the world on the start­ing grid in­clud­ing Audi, As­ton Martin, BMW, McLaren, Mercedes-AMG, and Porsche so it prom­ises to be an ex­cit­ing week­end.”

Among the Kiwi drivers con­firmed for the event in­clude Craig Baird, Daniel Gaunt, Steve Richards and An­drew Waite.

“There’s been a real resur­gence in GT rac­ing around the world be­cause the cars are so good and so dif­fer­ent,” says Quinn.

“We first brought the Aus­tralian GTs to High­lands in 2013, fol­lowed by Hamp­ton Downs in 2016, and both of those events pro­vided a big boost to the lo­cal en­durance scene which has re­ally taken off in the last few years.

“Our fo­cus for now is on sup­port­ing the home­grown tal­ent and se­ries in New Zealand but we’ll still look at bring­ing over one of the ma­jor Aus­tralian cat­e­gories to Hamp­ton Downs or High­lands ev­ery year. We’re also com­mit­ted to bring­ing in­ter­na­tional se­ries to New Zealand. The Asia Pa­cific Fer­rari Chal­lenge at Hamp­ton Downs ear­lier this year was a great suc­cess and the feed­back we got from the teams and drivers was re­ally pos­i­tive.”

With five rounds com­pleted Fraser Ross leads the Aus­tralian cham­pi­onship in his McLaren 650S GT3 ahead of Peter Hackett (Mercedes AMG GT3) with Aus­tralian-based Kiwi, Steve Richards (BMW M6 GT3) sit­ting in third place. Also in ti­tle con­tention ahead of the fi­nal round are Audi R8 LMS drivers Ge­off Emery and Tony Bates and sixth placed Liam Tal­bot (Porsche 911 GT3 RS).

The for­mat for the Aus­tralian GT de­cider is a 101-lap race on Sun­day, Oc­to­ber 14 with two qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions and a 30-lap qual­i­fy­ing race on Satur­day to de­cide the start­ing grid.

The sup­port cat­e­gories in­clude Enzed Cen­tral Mus­cle Cars, BMW Rac­ing Se­ries, Porsche Rac­ing Se­ries and SsangY­ong Ac­tyon Utes.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.