Top-level GT sportscars are currently on their way to The Bend Motorsport Park, with the South Australian circuit set to host round three of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Series.
Nineteen cars across two classes and three driver divisions will take to the 4.95km circuit layout, with a strong contingent of internationally renowned racing cars ready to be steered by a large mix of professional and amateur racers around a track that was built for GT3 machinery.
Headlining the field is Pro-Am championship leaders Garth Tander and Yasser Shahin in their #777 Audi R8 LMS GT3.
The pair dominated the opening round at Phillip Island and obtained another race win at the recent round at Bathurst, taking a comfortable lead in the standings just two rounds into the four-round Sprint championship.
Tander and Shahin, alongside other GT competitors, enjoyed a test at The Bend recently, putting them in a better position before this weekend’s track activities.
While Tander and Shahin are the runaway leaders, the #888 Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes-Benz AMG GT3 will have the Audi pair in its sights. Jefri Ibrahim will be joined by Broc Feeney in the silver arrow – his third different teammate in as many rounds. Feeney has been brought in to replace Jamie Whincup and Shane van Gisbergen as both drivers focus on their Supercars Championship commitments this weekend.
Another Supercars driver unable to race is Chaz Mostert, who will be replaced by TCR Australia regular Dylan O’Keeffe alongside Tony Bates in the #24 Bostik Trade Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Mostert and Bates have been consistent so far, with the pair currently third on points. O’Keeffe’s strong experience in GT will put Bates in a good position for him to continue putting the pressure on Tander/Shahin and Ibrahim.
In the Am class, Tony Quinn in his Local Legends Aston Martin Vantage GT3 has been the man to catch. The veteran racer went undefeated during the most recent round at Mount Panorama, currently holding a strong 27-point lead over Andrew MacPherson and Ben Borter’s Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evos.
In the GT Trophy Series, the battle is hotly contested with Brad Schumacher’s older spec Audi R8 LMS Ultra GT3, who had a rollercoaster weekend during the last round at Bathurst, and Brett Hobson’s Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 separated by just 13 points.
Track activities for the GT World Challenge Australia kick off this week, with practice and qualifying set for Friday, followed by two one-hour races both on Saturday and Sunday.
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