After some outstanding racing across the 2019 season of Australian GT, the championship comes to its conclusion at Melbourne’s Sandown Park Raceway alongside Supercars this weekend with the promise of an epic battle for the multiple titles on offer.
Two-time and reigning Australian GT champion Geoff Emery holds a comfortable lead in the GT3 Championship coming back to the circuit at which he claimed his maiden CAMS Australian Endurance Championship title just six weeks ago, but he will have his work cut out for him this weekend with three 40-minute races and a number of outright contenders to deal with.
During the final round of the endurance title, Emery struggled to find a comfortable rhythm in the #1 Valvoline Audi, but a stunning drive by team-mate Garth Tander, and a late race retirement by the Fraser Ross/Ryan Simpson McLaren saw the pair claim second to round winner Peter Hackett to take Audi’s maiden title in the longer form of the championship.
This weekend Ross and Simpson will return with the McLaren – which also holds a new lap record around the Sandown circuit (1:07.9639), whilst Emery’s closest rival in the championship – Eggleston Motorsport’s Peter Hackett – will also be back, looking to make it two Sandown round wins to cap off his 2019 season.
Throw in the returning Liam Talbot in the Trofeo Motorsport Lamborghini that took victory just a week ago on the streets of the Gold Coast in the hands of Ryan Millier, and former Sandown AGT race winner Tony Bates, and suddenly Emery’s 134-point series lead doesn’t look as comfortable as he’d like it to be, although with just 221-points available at Sandown, he also knows that Peter Hackett has a big job ahead of him..
Bates won’t be the only driver returning in the outright category, Queenslander Mark Griffith will be back in the saddle in his Mercedes-AMG GT3 for the first time since the Barbagallo round where he grabbed a podium finish in the final 40-minute race, the pair of them looking to turn some valuable miles ahead of the 2020 season.
Bates has been focussed on his Asian campaign this season in the AFS Audi R8 LMS GT3, and with the final round of the one-make Audi championship just two weeks after Sandown under lights on the Sepang Grand Prix circuit in Malaysia, Sandown presented a great opportunity to dial himself back in after more than two months out of the seat.
The Australian GT Trophy Series will be sadly lacking one of its stars, Melbourne teenager Ryan How unfortunately unable to repair his Audi R8 ahead of the round after such a strong run at Barbagallo – effectively paving the way for fellow Victorian Dale Paterson to claim the 2019 Trophy Series win in the crowd-pleasing Camaro GT3, although he’ll need to ensure he doesn’t have any setbacks with Joseph Ensabella also within mathematical reach of the title.
Nick Karnaros returns to Sandown looking for the inaugural Trofeo Challenge title for the one-make cars, the Porsche Type 991 GT3 Cup Car driver holding a strong points lead over the Trofeo Motorsport Huracan, whilst the returning David Greig will be looking to elevate his position in the standings after a strong run at the season opening Australian Grand Prix.
David Crampton slides back behind the wheel of the #50 Vantage Freight KTM X-Bow looking to make up for his late withdrawal from the Gold Coast, and with the title decided last time out, he will be keen to go after victory – this time though driving solo without regular co-driver Trent Harrison on board.
Having wrapped up the title at the Gold Coast, Justin McMillan and Glen Wood are sitting out the final round, allowing former KTM GT4 competitor Dean Koutsoumidis to jump back behind the wheel to take the fight to Crampton, the former AGT Trophy Series champion looking to put his recent prototype experiences to good use.
The teams are also competing this weekend for the honours in the Dutton Garage Sandown GT Cup – a two round competition that collects points from the two Sandown events in the 2019 series – Round#5 in September, and from this weekend’s three races. Currently Peter Hackett leads the GT3 points after his enduro round victory six weeks ago, whilst David Crampton is in the box seat to take the GT4 honours. Dale Paterson leads in Trophy Series, but his late race retirement last time out sees him needing a solid run this weekend, with Nick Karnaros in the box seat to take the title in Trofeo Challenge.
Whilst the battle for the championship and Dutton Garage Sandown GT Cup honours across the three races will be the feature, as always mother nature will throw her hat into the ring with the weather for Friday and Saturday harking back to the conditions the AGT regulars faced in September, with threats of rain and temperatures in the mid-high teens..
Whatever happens you can follow all the action LIVE (from qualifying on) on Fox Sports Australia (Channel 506) and Kayo Sports, although keep a close eye on your time zones, Melbourne having now moved to Daylights-Savings-time (AEDT)..
Further information and details from across the event will also be available on the Australian GT website and social media platforms – Facebook/Twitter/Instagram.
Rnd#7 CAMS Australian GT Championship
Sandown Raceway, Melbourne, Victoria
8-9 November, 2019
Schedule (Times; AEDT)
Friday, 8 November, 2019
08:35am – Practice (30-minutes)
11:55am – Qualifying#1 (15-minutes)
12:15pm – Qualifying#2 (15-minutes)
04:05pm – Race#1 (40-mins)
Saturday, 9 November, 2019
09:45am – Race#2 (40-mins)
03:20pm – Race#3 (40-mins)
Australian GT at Sandown:
Australian GT has competed at Sandown regularly during the modern day resurgence of the category (GT3-based competition), having raced at the Melbourne-based circuit 11-times previously since 2007, some of those years competing twice at the popular Victorian venue. Of those visits two were for the AGT Trophy Series (2016/2017), whilst the early years were devoted to endurance races with the annual Sandown GT Classic (2007/2008), Sandown also hosting the final round of the 2019 Endurance Championship this September.
Of the modern era (2014-2019), certain patterns have emerged (using GT3 events only);
Most wins by driver (14x races);
Tony Bates (x1), Tony D’Alberto/Grant Denyer (x1), Geoff Emery (x2), Peter Hackett (x2), Chris Mies/Ryan Millier (x1), Richard Muscat (x3), Tony Quinn (x3), Fraser Ross (x1)
Most podiums by driver (14x races);
Geoff Emery (x5), Peter Hackett (x2), Fraser Ross (x5), Liam Talbot (x5)
Most wins by marque (14x races);
Aston Martin (x3), Audi (x4), Ferrari (x1), McLaren (x1), Mercedes-AMG (x5)
Most podiums by marque (14x races);
Aston Martin (x5), Audi (x10), Ferrari (x4), Lamborghini (x4), McLaren (x6), Mercedes-AMG (x9), Porsche (x4)
Most pole position starts by marque (14x races);
Aston Martin (x1), Audi (x3), Ferrari (x2), Lamborghini (x3), McLaren (x1), Mercedes-AMG (x3), Porsche (x1)
Australian GT events held at Sandown Raceway
2019 – 20-22 September (Rnd#3 CAMS Australian Endurance Championship)
2018 – 12-13 May (Rnd#3 CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2017 – 15-17 September (Rnd#5 [FINAL] CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2017 – 8-9 April (Rnd#1 Australian GT Trophy Series)
2016 – 1-3 April (Rnd#1 Australian GT Trophy Series)
2015 – 11-13 September (Rnd#5 CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2014 – 12-14 September (Rnd#5 CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2014 – 28-30 March (Rnd#1 – CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2011 – 18-20 November (Rnd#7 [FINAL] CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2010 – 18-21 November (Rnd#6 [FINAL] CAMS Australian GT Championship)
2008 – 28-30 November (Rnd#6 [FINAL] Sandown GT Classic)
2007 – 7-9 December (Rnd#8 [FINAL] Sandown GT Classic)
2019 [Rnd#3 – CAMS Australian Endurance Championship] – 20-22 September
Q1; 1. Simpson (McLaren) 1:09.4629, 2. Talbot (Lambo.) 1:10.5400, 3. Hackett (AMG) 1:10.6811
Q2; 1. Emery (Audi) 1:16.9287, 2. Ross (McLaren) 1:16.9858, 3. Hackett (AMG) 1:17.1267
R1 (123-laps) 1. Hackett (AMG), 2. Emery/Tander (Audi), 3. Talbot/Ensabella (Lamborghini)
2018 [Rnd#3 – CAMS Australian GT Championship] – 12-13 May
Q1; 1. Wood (Gallardo) 1:10.3764, 2. Richards (BMW) 1:10.6637, 3. Talbot (Porsche) 1:10.6694
Q2; 1. Robson (Audi) 1:10.0123, 2. Talbot (Porsche) 1:10.3843, 3. Hackett (AMG) 1:10.3970
R1 (30-laps) 1. Hackett (AMG), 2. Emery (Audi), 3. Ross (McLaren) GT4: Gray (Vantage)
R2 (31-laps) 1. Bates (Audi), 2. Ross (McLaren), 3. Talbot (Porsche) GT4: Gray (Vantage)
R3 (33-laps) 1. Emery (Audi), 2. Ross (McLaren), 3. Talbot (Porsche) GT4: Gray (Vantage)
2017 [Rnd#5 – FINAL – CAMS Australian GT Championship] – 15-17 September
Q1; 1. Walsh (Audi) 1:16.3800, 2. Emery (Audi) 1:16.8708, 3. Talbot (Porsche) 1:17.3685
Q2; 1. Talbot (Porsche), 2. Emery (Audi), 3. Twigg (AMG)
R1 (29-laps) 1. Emery (Audi), 2. Ross (McLaren), 3. Talbot (Porsche)
R2 (25-laps) 1. T.Quinn (Aston), 2. Emery (Audi), 3. McLaughlan (Audi)
R3 (32-laps) 1. Ross (McLaren), 2. Talbot (Porsche), 3. Padayachee (Audi)
2015 [Rnd#5 – CAMS Australian GT Championship] – 11-13 September
Q1; 1. Lester (Ferrari) 1:09.8027, 2. Barbour (Gallardo) 1:09.8955, 3. Antunes (Audi) 1:10.0203
Q2; 1. Lester (Ferrari) 1:08.9004, 2. D’Alberto (Ferrari) 1:08.9491, 3. Antunes (Audi) 1:09.6707
R1 (45-laps) 1. D’Alberto/Denyer (Ferrari), 2. Haber (AMG), 3. Mies/Millier (Audi)
R2 (49-laps) 1. Mies/Millier (Audi), 2. Haber (AMG), 3. Barbour/Wood (Gallardo)
2014 [Rnd#1 – CAMS Australian GT Championship] – 28-30 March
Q1; 1. Richards (Gallardo) 1:09.5087, 2. Bowe (Ferrari) 1:09.7971, 3. T.Quinn (Aston) 1:09.8793
R1 (49-laps) 1. Muscat (AMG), 2. K.Quinn (McLaren), 3. Bowe/Edwards (Ferrari)
R2 (47-laps) 1. Muscat (AMG), 2. Bowe/Edwards (Ferrari), 3. Eggleston (Aston Martin)
2014 [Rnd#5 – CAMS Australian GT Championship] – 12-14 September
Q1; 1. Richards (Gallardo) 1:08.8147, 2. Muscat (AMG) 1:09.1171, 3. K.Quinn (McLaren) 1:09.1524
R1 (26-laps) 1. T.Quinn (Aston), 2. Muscat (AMG), 3. McMillan/Russell (Gallardo)
R2 (32-laps) 1. Muscat (AMG), 2. T.Quinn (Aston Martin), 3. Bowe/Edwards (Ferrari)
R3 (31-laps) 1. T.Quinn (Aston), 2. Muscat (AMG), 3. McMillan/Russell (Gallardo)
Location: Sandown Raceway, Melbourne, Victoria
Circuit length: 3.104-kilometres
Corners: 13 (8-left hand, 5-right hand)
Circuit first opened: 11 March, 1962
Australian GT [race] lap record: 1:07.9639 (Fraser Ross (McLaren 720S GT3) – 22/09/19)
Australian GT [qualifying] lap record: 1:08.8147 (Steve Richards (Gallardo R-EX) – 13/05/14)
CAMS Australian GT Championship points
GT3 Championship (after round six of seven);
1. Geoff Emery (1368-points), 2. Peter Hackett (1234), 3. Garth Tander (868), 4. Max Twigg (824), 5. Fraser Ross (691), 6. Liam Talbot (557), 7. Ryan Simpson (494), 8. Tony D’Alberto (452), 9. Dom Storey (399), 10. Joseph Ensabella (393), 11. Yasser Shahin/Jamie Whincup (352), 12. Ryan Millier (336), 13. Tony Bates (332), 14. Shane van Gisbergen (313), 15. Tony Quinn (248), 16. John Martin (199), 17. Vince Muriti/Luke Youlden (191), 18. Scott Taylor/Craig Baird (190), 19. Adrian Deitz/Cameron McConville (171), 20. Richard Gartner/Hadrian Morrall (169), 21. Kenny Habul (157), 22. Tim Blanchard (150), 23. Mark Griffith (142), 24. Peter Major (131), 25. Lee Partridge (102), 26. Daniel Gaunt (11), 27. Nick Kelly/Barton Mawer (0)
GT4 Series (after round six of seven);
1. Justin McMillan/Glen Wood (1546-points), 2. Trent Harrison (932), 3. David Crampton (919), 4. Ryan Simpson (206), 5. Mark Griffith (141), 5. Victor Zagame (141), 7. Todd O’Brien (91), 8. Christian Fitzgerald/Michael O’Brien (17)
Trophy Series (after round three of four);
1. Dale Paterson (542-points), 2. Ryan How (371), 3. Joseph Ensabella (368), 4. Richard Gartner (365), 5. John Morriss (183), 6. Scott Taylor (181), 7. Peter Corbett (177), 8. Nick Kelly (137)
Trofeo Challenge (after round three of four);
1. Nick Karnaros (565-points), 2. Jim Manolios (352), 3. Adam Hargraves (200), 4. Geoff Taunton (192), 5. Shane Barwood (187), 6. Broc Feeney (185), 7. David Greig (167), 8. Bayley Hall (80), 9. Chris/Luke Seidler (17)
Dutton Garage Sandown GT Cup (after round one of two)
1. Peter Hackett (114-points), 2. Geoff Emery/Garth Tander (104), 3. Liam Talbot/Joseph Ensabella (91), 4. Fraser Ross/Ryan Simpson (18)
1. Justin McMillan/Glen Wood (118-points), 2. David Crampton/Trent Harrison (103), 3. Christian Fitzgerald/Michael O’Brien (17)
AGT Trophy Series;
1. Dale Paterson (10-points)
1. Ben Stack/Jim Manolios (118), 2. Nick Karnaros (106)
1. Brendon Woods (18), 1. Ben Schoots (18)
2019 CAMS Australian GT Championship
Rnd#1 – 14-17 March, Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne, Victoria [SPRINT]
Rnd#2 – 2-4 May, Barbagallo Raceway, Western Australia [SPRINT]
Rnd#3 – 7-9 June, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, Victoria [ENDURANCE]
Rnd#4 – 12-13 July, The Bend Motorsport Park, South Australia [ENDURANCE]
Rnd#5 – 20-22 September, Sandown Raceway, Melbourne, Victoria [ENDURANCE]
Rnd#6 – 25-27 October, Gold Coast, Queensland [SPRINT]
Rnd#7 – 8-10 November, Sandown Raceway, Melbourne, Victoria [SPRINT]
Pirelli AGT SuperSprint – 28-29 November, Mount Panorama, Bathurst
About Dutton Garage
Dutton Garage is one of the world’s premium retailers of classic, collectable, exotic and rare cars with an iconic showroom based in Melbourne, Australia. With a global buying power and an extensive international network, they are able to source, purchase and sell vehicles for customers worldwide. Their expert staff provide a fully tailored service for customers looking to purchase their next collectable, classic or exotic car.