The Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit is set to host 20 cars for the opening round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia this weekend.
Eight different brands and a wide variety of professional and amateur drivers will take part in what will be the first event for the new joint venture between the Australian Racing Group and Stephane Ratel’s SRO Motorsports Group.
Eight cars will participate in the Championship class, and eleven in the Trophy division, all to be joined by a sole GT4 entry for Mark Griffith and his Mercedes-AMG GT4.
Perhaps the most notable entry is that of Maranello Motorsport, which returns to GT racing in Australia after having been absent from motorsport since claiming a Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour victory in 2017. Peter Edwards and Adrian Deitz will share the team’s Ferrari 488 GT3.
Grove Motorsport will also return to the Australian GT racing scene, having recently confirmed their participation in the entire GTWC Australia season with father-son duo of Stephen and Brenton Grove in the team’s brand-new Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Triple Eight Race Engineering – Johor Motorsports Racing, one team to watch this season, will be present at Phillip Island with its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo of Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Jamie Whincup, who is replacing the injured Shane van Gisbergen.
Bostik – AFS Racing will certainly give Triple Eight a run for their money, however, as they will be in attendance with their Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Tony Bates and Chaz Mostert. Bates and Mostert can count on top-tier support from Melbourne Performance Centre who will be running the Audi.
Audi will be most represented brand in the field, with ten R8 LMS GT3s having been listed.
Two Aston Martins have been confirmed for the season opener, with Tony Quinn geared up to show off his Local Legends-sponsored new-gen Vantage GT3. Michael Bailey will be seen participating in the Trophy division in his 2014-spec V12 Vantage GT3, who will no doubt become a fan-favorite.
Hobson Motorsport will be present with its Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 for Brett Hobson, while Wayne Mack and Dale Paterson having confirmed their participation in the series with a Ferrari 458 GT3 and Reiter Camaro GT3 respectively, adding some flavor to an already diverse field.
“Twenty cars for the return of top-line GT racing is a great result for the first event and I’m proud of the entrants who are getting back in their awesome cars and entertaining us all,” said category manager Ken Collier.
“It actually looked like we were going to have even more than 20 cars, but a couple of teams withdrew late, so the good news there is that we know the interest is there for GT3 racing in Australia.
“With big events coming up soon at Mount Panorama and The Bend, I wouldn’t be surprised if we have over 25 cars entering sooner rather than later.”
The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS series will allow entrants obtain a great amount of track time over the upcoming three-day weekend, with two practice sessions and qualifying set to take place on Friday, followed by a 60-minute sprint race both on Saturday and Sunday.
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