A long-term control tyre deal and some new competitors are the main items on this weekend’s GT-1 Australia news agenda. Lachlan Mansell has the latest.
After some hard work behind the scenes, the GT-1 Australia category officially came into existence at Mallala, and despite the modest field size it was a solid inauguration – the racing was close, the pit-stop handicap system levelled the playing-field, and the Code 60 caution protocol worked well.
But series organisers Rod Salmon and Paul Taylor are determined for the series to continue growing and attracting more entries, so their tireless efforts have not ceased – and they have been rewarded with a long-time control tyre agreement and some extra entries.
According to Taylor, the tyre deal is a significant sign of strength for a class still in its infancy.
“Having an official control tyre supplier is obviously really important for ensuring a level playing field within the series, and the fact that a tyre manufacturer like Pirelli was prepared to commit to the series long-term shows there is a lot of confidence in the growth potential of GT-1 moving forward,” Taylor said.
In terms of competitors, the big news this weekend is the addition of three Ferraris to the grid, with Jamie Arraton, John Nikolovski and Scott Hookey entered in 458 GT3s.
Coming into the weekend as the points leader after his victory at Mallala, Jake Camilleri (MARC II Mustang) also has the advantage of track knowledge, as one of the few drivers in the category who has previously raced at Morgan Park.
However, Camilleri will be brought back to the field by the unique handicap system, which imposes a minimum compulsory pit stop time on each driver in the field – drivers who qualify at the pointy end of the field are required to make longer pit stops.
Also on the entry list are Rod Salmon in his repaired Audi R8, Rio Nugara who is back in his Audi after a Ginetta crash at Phillip Island last weekend, and a suite of MARC 1 vehicles run by Racer Industries.
Points after Round 1
- Jake Camilleri – 286
- Clint Harvey – 250
- Steve McLaughlan – 214
- Matt Stoupas – 210
- John Goodacre – 178