The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS ends its first season under direction of the SRO with two one-hour sprint races at Mount Panorama. In the packed six-day Bathurst 1000 event, all titles are still up for grabs as a diverse grid assembles for the finale.
Former Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi and Audi factory GT star Christopher Mies will contest the final round of the GT World Challenge Australia at Mount Panorama this week, the fourth and final round of the truncated GTWC Australia season.
Mies has been drafted in to replace Garth Tander this weekend and help Melbourne Performance Centre’s Yasser Shahin secure the inaugural GTWC Australia Pro-Am title, with the South Australian holding a 37-point advantage ahead of Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Jefri Ibrahim. The German ace is no stranger to MPC having previously raced for them in multiple Australian GT Championship seasons (champion in 2015) and Bathurst 12 Hour campaigns (winning two: 2011 and 2012), as well as being the current official lap record holder of the circuit made in an unrestricted Audi R8 LMS GT3, setting a 1m59.291s lap time during the 2019 Challenge Bathurst.
He will dovetail his weekend duties by contesting the final round of the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series, driving an Audi RS 3 LMS TCR.
Mark Rosser will race for the first time at the Mountain with Mehri acting as a mentor and team-mate during the course of the weekend in the pair’s current specification Audi R8 GT3 LMS GT3 Evo.
Rosser’s Catan-liveried Audi is one of many new entries for this round. A new livery for Crytocurrency Trading website ‘Coin Spot’ will feature on an R8 LMS GT3 for local GT racing drivers Liam Talbot and Fraser Ross.
With his usual Repco Supercars Championship driver partners focused on the Bathurst 1000 race over the weekend, Ibrahim is paired with Australian Endurance Championship and Tourist Trophy winner Peter Hackett – a highly experienced Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver.
Rounding out the Pro-Am entries is the current specification Grove Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3R, with father-son team Stephen and Brenton Grove aiming to end their maiden season in local GT racing well.
AMAC Motorsport has moved to a former Manthey Racing-sourced Porsche 911 GT3R – Otto Klohs’ old car – as Andrew Macpherson and Ben Porter aim to take the honours in Am Class.
The Am class also features GT returnees James and Theo Koundouris in their Supabarn entry – their first race at the mountain since their race-ending crash in the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour – as well as the Hallmarc car of Marc Cini, joining regular Gary Higgon. All three entries will be in Audi R8 LMS GT3 cars.
RAM Motorsport will make its GTWC Australia debut with Mike Sheargold and Garth Walden driving a recently upgraded Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in the latest specification.
A close battle is promised in GT Trophy for older GT3 cars, as just 25 points separate local driver Brad Schumacher, who will debut a recently acquired newer specification Audi R8 and Brett Hobson, who also recently acquired a former factory-run 2015 specification Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3 that last ran in the 2017 Bathurst 12 Hour to eighth place. Hobson will compete on The Mountain in his The Bend overall round winning GT-R GT3 2013 specification car.
They will be joined on the track by Mike Bailey’s first generation Trading Garage Bentley Continental GT3, while completing the GT Trophy field is Scott Taylor in his 997 model Porsche 911 GT3R.
The field is completed by Mark Griffith in his Mercedes-AMG GT4, the sole GT4 entry.
The weekend will begin on Tuesday for Practice 1 ahead of two one-hour races to decide each title. Race 1 is scheduled for Thursday at 12:25 local time (2:25 CEST), Race 2 will be on Friday at 8:55 local (Thursday 22:55 CEST).
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