The six-car Audi Sport customer racing Australia team comes into the second half of the 2015 Australian GT Championship with high expectations, and with two teams in a position to challenge for the outright championship victory, and two contesting for the Trophy Class crown, there’s every reason for optimism.
AGT_Townsville_Antunes_R2_120715_mpix_med12-months ago the Jamec-Pem Racing Team and the Skwirk Audi were right in the hunt, despite the fact that last year, the Skwirk car was contesting the Trophy Class in LMS GT3 guise. Then, it was two ‘professional’ drivers with an intimate knowledge of Sydney Motorsport Park [SMP] battling at the front of the field, with Warren Luff in the Jamec-Pem Audi putting Steve McLaughlan’s recently upgraded ultra onto the front row in qualifying, mere tenths ahead of SMP driver coach Nathan Antunes in Rod’ Salmon’s older Skwirk LMS.
Luff may have moved on from the Audi team this year, but his position has been taken by one of the most successful Audi factory drivers in the world, Germany’s Christopher Mies.
It’s no surprise that the 2-time Bathurst 12-Hour winner, and the winner of this year’s iconic Nurburgring 24-Hour race has been quick, in fact he’s started every round of the 2015 Australian GT Championship from the front row, the German storming through the field in the Phillip Island 101 to claim Jamec-Pem Racing’s maiden victory, and with it, take the championship points lead.
All season Mies has been assisted by 2006 Australian GT Champion Greg Crick, the veteran driver, a two-time national champion in Australian motorsport, has just recently announced his retirement from competition after an accident in his Touring Car Masters car in Queensland Raceway. That left a vacancy in the #74 Audi, which has been more than ably filled by Melbourne’s Ryan Millier.
AGT Taylor Mawer 16 AGT TownsvilleMillier is no stranger to Australian GT as a valuable member of the Trofeo Motorsport team of Jim Manolios. 12-months ago Millier was a revelation at SMP, running amongst the leaders in the Trofeo Ferrari 458, but with that car currently sitting out the 2015 season, Trofeo have released him to join Mies, and with a lesser compulsory pit stop penalty than Crick (12-seconds less), this team have become serious outright contenders.
One team expected to keep the Mies/Millier Audi honest though, is fellow Audi driver Nathan Antunes. The local driver spends much of his life at SMP as a driver trainer, and he knows the circuit intimately. He is also a three-time winner in season 2015, and just 12 points behind Championship class points leader Tony Quinn in the standings.
Antunes will be quick in the Skwirk/Beechwood Audi, and with a faster car in 2015, could be in contention for pole at home, breaking the Ferrari domination of New Zealander Jono Lester who has so far claimed the top spot over Mies in every one of the three rounds to date.
The third Championship class Audi too has every chance of making the podium in Sydney after a terrific run at the most recent round in Townsville where Jamec-Pem team-boss Steve McLaughlan was actually leading the closing stages of the final race. In the end he was caught out by a spin under pressure from the fast approaching Antunes, but showed that without a professional driver alongside, an amateur with good pace can be a contender, a strategy he’s looking to employ again this weekend.
Audi may be in the outright title battle, but they’re also dominating the Trophy Class for older specification FIA GT3-spec cars (2012 and older).
AGT Griffith 6 AGT PICurrently local driver Greg Taylor leads the points on his AGT debut, assisted by the talented Barton Mawer, another successful driver coach with a strong competition history. Mawer has shown a number of times this season that he is capable of matching some of the outright cars, notably qualifying inside the top ten in both Adelaide and Townsville.
The Adina Apartments/Wall Racing duo have so far claimed victory in both Adelaide and Phillip Island to be the class leaders at the mid-point of the season, but they have their eyes on dual Australian GT Sports Champion Mark Griffith in the Hog’s Breath Café Audi R8 LMS, who is having a fantastic debut season in the R8, the Queenslander just 31-points behind the two Sydney-based drivers.
Whilst Sydney will not see the return of the front running Peter Fitzgerald Audi R8 LMS ultra, the Audi Sport customer racing team have been buoyed by the addition of fellow Victorian Rob Smith in the Southern Star Developments Audi R8 LMS, the State Series front-runner making the leap into national class competition for his debut in Australian GT.
Opening practice for the penultimate Australian round of the Championship will kick off on Friday morning at 8:25am, ahead of two qualifying sessions, before race one at 12:45pm on Saturday (22 August) and race two on Sunday at 9:20am (23 August), all sessions will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 5.
Ben Potter

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