The 27 car field featured many new entries including Tekno Autosport with three McLaren 650S GT3, there would be four new Mercedes AMG GT3s, and a BMW M6 GT3 for Stephen Richards.
The race weekend would take place on Thursday with three 40 minute races taking place over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Christopher Mies in the JAMEC PEM Audi R8 LMS took pole after setting a blistering 1:20.2039. Amazingly this was Mies’ first pole in the category despite being the defending champion.
There was a puzzle for Craig Baird though in his new Mercedes AMG GT3 as the New Zealand driver had been fast in the first two sectors but would routinely lose his advantage in the final sector.
“We’ll have to go back and look at the data,” Baird pondered, “but I wasn’t as fast as Mies in the final sector anyway.”
“The Audi’s strengths are under braking and in the corners,” Mies explained. “The team did a really fantastic job and the car was really good on the bumps.”
This ensures that Mies gained pole from Baird’s Mercedes with the Bathurst 12 Hour winning Tekno McLaren taking both third and fourth positions.
The opening race of the weekend took place in the heat of Friday lunchtime with temperatures in Adelaide nudging 40°C.
The race started with Craig Baird taking the lead on the opening lap with his Mercedes overtaking the Audi of Christopher Mies/Geoff Emery with Emery behind the wheel.
The racing was pretty clean but a mechanical issue for Hayden Cooper in the M Motorsport Lamborghini would bring out the safety car just before the compulsory pitstops. severely disadvantaging that were ahead of the field with their Pro driver having taken the first stint.
For others though like Roger Lago (Lamborghini) and Nathan Morcom (McLaren) the situation would play into their hands.
Taylor spun his Mercedes after taking over from Baird and was lucky not to be hit by others while Mark Griffith could not hold his position would be part and would finish fourth in the end.
Former champion Klark Quinn and category owner Tony Quinn shared their McLaren through the weekend with Klark showing his class by bringing the car upfield to hand over to Tony who would bring the car home in third.
The race result however would be delayed as a protest went in about the new BMW M6 of Stephen Richards. The issue related to Balance of Performance papers and eventually the result was declared but Richards would be unable to score points through the weekend.
Lago’s win was the first victory for Lamborghini in the Australian GT Championship since 2008.
The second 40 minute affair got underway in warm conditions on Saturday morning. After their race one disaster Christopher Mies had to fight his way through the field.
In a series of stunning passing manoeuvres he was able to battle his way up from 10th to first during his stint. Mostly the passes were clean but one incident with Nathan Morcom saw Mies’ Audi get into the McLaren while they were battling for the lead.
The ensuing incident saw Morcom drop out of the top 10 – he would finish 15th and Mies received a post race penalty of 17 seconds that would drop him and co-driver Geoff Emery out of their eventual second place and dropped them down to 17th.
Elsewhere Elliott Barber in his Tekno McLaren had a slight touch with Mark Griffith’s Mercedes which would send the McLaren up the escape road, losing a lap as it recovered.
At the back of the field Keith Wong lost the rear on the first lap contacting both Rod Salmon and Aaron Tebb and eliminating all three.
Griffith too, in his newly acquired Mercedes GT3, was having a race to forget with several spins ensuring he was well down the field. However with just a handful of laps left a broken water pump ended his day, the Merc spinning on its own fluid into retirement and bringing out the safety car.
The Green came with just two laps to go leaving James Koundouris in the lead defending a tiny gap from Emery and Roger Lago in the Justin McMillan/Glen Wood Lamborghini.
Koundouris though was able to hold on for the win from Lago who eventually finished second after the Audi’s penalty with Justin McMillen third.
The third and final 40 minute race of the weekend got underway early on Sunday morning.
It wasn’t long though before the action started with Peter Hackett braking too late on cold tyres going down into turn nine locking the rear tyres and spearing into the Audi of James Koundouris.
Both were eliminated on the spot with heavy damage and some heated words being exchanged on social media afterwards. It is hoped that both cars will be repaired for round two which takes place at Melbourne in a few weeks time.
The incident bought out the safety car for five laps but after that there were battles going on right up and down the field with a particularly intense battle going on for second place with Solomon, McMillan, Taylor and Walls.
The action though sadly ended in incident with the two Mercedes of Taylor and Solomon coming together resulting in Taylor spinning round and losing a few positions. Solomon would also fall back from the battle leaving Tony Walls and Justin McMillan to battle it out for what they thought was going to be a podium spot.
Race one winner Lago was out with a big lead, having 12 seconds in his pocket with just one lap to go. Coming up on traffic on the final lap he had to take avoiding action after missing a braking point, putting the Gallardo into the escape road and losing the lead.
To make matters worse when he tried to turn the car around he hit the wall breaking the suspension and putting the car out of the race and losing not only the race win but also the round win.
This ensured that Tony Walls took the lead and a very tight win his first in the Australian GT Championship.
The Objective Racing at McLaren 650S GT3 driver didn’t even know he won the race until after the flag.
“I didn’t know I’d won,” Walls laughed after the race. “When I passed [Scott] Taylor with five laps to go or so the guys told me I was in P2, and I told them to stop talking to me!
“It was only after I crossed the line that I found out I’d won.”
Second place was taken by Justin McMillan/Glen Wood with Solomon in third.
1 Roger Lago JBS Australia 24 laps
2 Nathan Morcom SLR TEKNO Autosport +8.7399s
3 Klark Quinn/Tony Quinn Darrell Lea +12.6413
4 Mark Griffith Hog’s Breath Cafe/Griffith Corporation +16.3591
5 Glen Wood/Justin McMillan Interlloy M Motorsport +17.4853
6 Tony Walls Objective Racing +19.3079
7 Dominic Storey/Peter Hackett Autex Eggleston Motorsport +19.5279
8 Marcus Marshall/James Koundouris Supabarn Supermarkets +20.0774
9 Christopher Mies/Geoff Emery JAMEC PEM +20.1394
10 Dean Canto/Andrew Taplin Taplin Real Estate +20.2519
11 Matthew Solomon Eggleston Motorsport +20.9163
12 Grant Denyer/Jonathon Webb McLaren Melbourne +28.1869
13 Simon Elllingham HBS Motorsport +46.2079
14 Ricky Capo Modena Engineering +49.5658
15 Andrew Macpherson AMAC Motorsport +53.8930
16 Scott Taylor/Craig Baird Scott Taylor Motorsport +54.3154
17 Ash Samadi Team ASR +58.4674
18 Tim Macrow/Brenton Griguol Koala Racing +59.2781
19 Max Twigg/Steven Richards BMW Team SRM +1:06.7161
20 Steve McLaughlan JAMEC PEM +1 lap
21 Rod Salmon Skwirk Online Education +1 lap
22 Keith Wong Veloce Racing ULX110 +1 lap
23 Greg Taylor Adina Apartment Hotels +1 lap
DNF Aaren Tebb/John Martin WALTEC Motorsport
DNF Hayden Cooper/John Magro M Motorsport
1 James Koundouris/Marcus Marshall Supabarn Supermarkets 21 laps
2 Christopher Mies/Geoff Emery JAMEC PEM +0.4689s** Post race penalty **
3 Roger Lago JBS Australia +1.2823
4 Justin McMillan/Glen Wood Interlloy M Motorsport +2.7217
5 Tony Quinn/Klark Quinn Darrell Lea +3.1295
6 Greg Taylor Adina Apartment Hotels +5.6355
7 Peter Hackett/Dominic Storey Autex Eggleston Motorsport +6.8909
8 Steve McLaughlan JAMEC PEM +8.6800
9 Jonathon Webb/Grant Denyer McLaren Melbourne +8.8665
10 Tony Walls Objective Racing +9.3741
11 Craig Baird/Scott Taylor Scott Taylor Motorsport +9.5726
12 Simon Ellingham HBS Motorsports +10.3887
13 Andrew Macpherson AMAC Motorsport +12.5439
14 Ricky Capo Modena Engineering +13.0845
15 Nathan Morcom SLR TEKNO Autosport +13.1273
16 Andrew Taplin/Dean Canto Taplin Real Estate +13.5150
17 Ash Samadi Team ASR +14.8212
18 John Magro/Hayden Cooper M Motorsport +15.2857
19 Brenton Griguol/Tim Macrow Koala Motorsport +20.9343
20 Matthew Solomon Eggleston Motorsport +39.1538
21 Steven Richards/Max Twigg BMW Team SRM +39.8822
22 Nathan Antunes/Elliot Barbour Beechwood Homes TEKNO Autosport +1 lap
DNF Mark Griffith Hog’s Breath Cafe/Griffith Corporation
DNF Keith Wong Veloce Motorsport ULX110
DNF Aaron Tebb/John Martin WALTEC Motorsport
DNF Rod Salmon Skwirk Online Education
1 Tony Walls Objective Racing 25 laps
2 Justin McMillan/Glen Wood Interlloy M Motorsport +0.3572
3 Matthew Solomon Eggleston Motorsport +1.8688
4 Andrew Taplin/Dean Canto Taplin Real Estaten +9.3128
5 John Martin/Aaron Tebb WALTEC Motorsport +23.6781
6 Scott Taylor/Craig Baird Scott Taylor Motorsport +29.7126
7 Mark Griffith Hog’s Breath Cafe/Griffith Corporation +31.1923
8 Ricky Capo Modena Engineering +34.0053
9 Nathan Morcom SLR TEKNO Autosport +34.0254
10 Simon Ellingham HBS Motorsports +39.8602
11 Greg Taylor Adina Apartment Hotels +46.0292
12 Christopher Mies/Geoff Emery JAMEC PEM +46.1485
13 Klark Quinn/Tony Quinn Darrell Lea +52.6197
14 Andrew Macpherson AMAC Motorsport +55.5900
15 Steven Richards/Max Twigg BMW Team SRM +1:04.6707
16 Hayden Cooper M Motorsport +1:11.9333
17 Steve McLaughlan AMEC PEM +1:15.6330
18 Rod Salmon Skwirk Online Education +1:17.7969
19 Brenton Griguol/Tim Macrow Koala Motorsport +1 lap
20 Ash Samadi Team ASR +1 lap
21 Jonathon Webb/Grant Denyer McLaren Melbourne +1 lap
22 Keith Wong Veloce Motorsport ULX110 +1 lap
23 Nathan Antunes/Elliot Barbour Beechwood Homes TEKNO Autosport +5 laps
DNF Roger Lago JBS Australia
DNF James Koundouris/Marcus Marshall Supabarn Supermarkets
DNF Peter Hackett Autex Eggleston Motorsport