An 18-car entry list for the third round of the GT-1 Australia Series is headlined by a change of cars for the championship leader. Lachlan Mansell assesses the field.
The first two rounds of the new-for-2018 GT-1 Australia series have been dominated by Jake Camilleri. The former Saloon Car and Production Car competitor has won three out of the four races held so far, driving a MARC II Mustang.
However, if Camilleri wants to keep the winning streak rolling along, he’ll have to do it in a different car. The Mustang has been sold to Adam Hargraves, meaning Camilleri will switch to one of the less powerful and less technically-advanced Gen I versions of Ryan McLeod’s MARC Cars at Wakefield Park.
The list of contenders for the Wakefield Park round is thus wide open. The Audi brigade are again out in force, with Matt Stoupas leading the charge after consistent performances in the opening two rounds. Steve McLaughlan also returns to the field after finishing on the podium at Mallala, and Victorian Sports Car runner Garry Higgon is set for his first GT-1 appearance.
Rod Salmon has optimistically submitted an entry. If Salmon does indeed appear on the grid, it will complete a remarkable comeback from an enormous shunt in a state round at Sydney Motorsport Park at the beginning of July, which saw the Sydneysider admitted to hospital with injuries, and his Audi severely damaged.
Following their GT-1 debuts at Morgan Park, the Ferrari trio of Jamie Arratoon, John Nikolovski and Scott Hookey are again on the entry list with Arratoon leading the “Ferrari Challenge” pointscore.
Rick Mensa was the solo representative for the Porsche brigade in the opening two rounds, but he’ll have company this weekend – Geoff Morgan and Peter Boylan have both entered their 991 Cup cars.
As well as Camilleri and Hargraves, the MARC Cars are well-represented with John Goodacre, Jason Busk and Geoff Taunton all entered; Taunton’s car, described as a “MARC 1.5”, runs MARC Gen I underpinnings but is powered by the more powerful, 5.2L version of the Coyote V8 engine used in the MARC Gen II cars.
Also appearing in a MARC entry is Lisa Montgomerie, whose car has been repaired after a crash involving Daniel Jilesen during a state Production Sports race in May.
The GT-1 race format will again consist of qualifying on Saturday, and two 50-minute races on Sunday, with mandatory pit stop times determined by each driver’s qualifying position.
Points after Round 2
- Jake Camilleri – 586
- Matt Stoupas – 452
- John Goodacre – 368
- Rod Salmon – 342
- Adam Hargraves – 262