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Australian GT: Phillip Island, News & Notes, Endurance Series On The Way?

Australian Tourist Trophy
The Australian Tourist Trophy was won yesterday. The trophy has been run in Australia since 1956 when Sir Stiling Moss won the inaugural trophy in a race at Morgan Park. Driving a Maserati 300S he beat Jean Behra also driving a Maserati in a 100 Mile race.

The Trophy was not contested from 1980-2006 but was revived for the Australian GT Championship and has been won by the late Allan Simonsen in 2007 and 2008 and David Wall in 2009 and 2010.

By virtue of their win, Greg Crick and Christopher Mies have added their names to this list of winners.

Is an Endurance Sportscar Series coming to Australia?
As reported on Speedcafe the Australian sportscar scene could further develop with interest growing in an Endurance Series. The success of the Bathurst 12 Hour, the GT3 category and a growing Asian sportscar scene are all drivers to this initiative.

The push for an endurance series has been on the cards for more than 12 months but as several stakeholders in Australian GT have confirmed, they would like the Series to take the next step in professionalism and public engagement. A small entrants group has been formed to assist the Series in that task.

This weekend saw a three hour or 101 lap race – a format that has served the series well for the last couple of years at Phillip Island and New Zealand’s Highlands Park. There were 37 entrants for this weekend’s race with the Australian GT bringing in a larger crowd and strong viewer figures on the online streaming.

Loberto testing in Europe
Ferrari driver, Renato Loberto was at Phillip Island this weekend supporting the Vicious Rumour Ferrari squad. Roberto has recently returned from a series of tests in Europe as he aims for a GT seat in some the endurance races. He had extended tests at Monza, Vallelunga and Paul Ricard. Loberto is trying to put a package together for a series of endurance races including the Spa 24 Hours. Loberto currently runs MotoKinetic, a motorsport event, training and media company; and is a driver instructor for Ferrari.

Additional drivers this weekend
There were many V8 drivers racing in both the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Australian GT Championship this weekend, partnering the regular drivers. There was a distinct feel that the drivers enjoyed the experience, both in driving the sportscar machinery and in the less pressurised environment. One notable experience was that Nick Percat, a V8 Driver with Lucas Dumbrell Motorsport and a former Bathurst 1000 winner was racing with the Porsche Carrera Cup but also offered his mechanical services for the Formula Ford paddock…

“I still work on go karts at CRK level and run a good friend of mine in Formula Ford. I was hard, on the first day I ran over 10km between the two pits – setting up his car, telling him what to do and then my Carrera Cup commitments,” Percat said.

“It was relaxing for me and Garth [Tander] does it as well. I watched Jake’s race from the podium, I saw him race to third from sixth so the changes I made during the break were positive!”

Matt Campbell shines and puts a Ginetta on top
The star driver of the weekend was Matt Campbell. He launched himself on the scene last year in the second-tier Porsche Cup. This weekend he was racing both the Porsche Carrera Cup and the Australian GT Championship in a GT3 Ginetta. While the races didn’t go his way do to mechanical issues, he topped the Porsche practice sessions and was fastest in Practice for the Australian GT Championship – the first time a Ginetta has topped a session in the history of the Championship. A name to keep an eye on for the future.

Fatality-Free Friday
The Bob Jane T-Marts Sonic Racing team from the Australian Carrera Cup threw their support behind ‘Fatality Free Friday’ this weekend at Phillip Island. The initiative is designed to decrease the accidents and road fatalities that occur on Australian roads.

Nick Foster, the race winner from this weekend said “It is massive for our country. We don’t put a lot of grounds on driver training when we get our licences when compared to some European countries. As a result our road fatalities are a lot bigger than some countries around the world. It is awesome that Bob Jane gets behind it and there is a program to get behind. I am a big supporter.”

Sam Tickell (@racerviews)