Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles set a new GT distance record at Sydney Motorsports Park on the way to winning the CAMS Australian Endurance Series in the Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Liam Talbot and John Martin’s MEGA Porsche took Pole Position for the Sydney Endurance 501 race but as soon as the green flag fell, there was immediate drama.
Talbot and fellow front row driver Geoff Emery touched, sending Emery, in the sister Jamec Pem Audi, spinning into the outfield. Emery was able to continue on the lead lap but at the back of the field.
A major incident was to bring the safety car out on the second lap as Scott Taylor crashed hard on the inside concrete wall. Taylor, in the STM Mercedes AMG GT3 ran slightly wide on the exit of turn one, spinning him to the inside wall.
The resulting impact was significant, eliminating the car and bringing out the safety car. Taylor was able to extricate himself from his car but was later taken to hospital for observation.
In the safety car period, Emery pitted and swapped to gun driver, Kelvin van der Linde. It was an inspired move as van der Linde was able to make his way through the field, pulling off many inspired passes.
After just three laps of racing, he was battling Talbot for the lead. Van der Linde forced Talbot into a mistake, with the Porsche oversteering on exit of three, enabling a pass around the outside into turn four.
The lead battle now having been settled for the moment, the attention turned to tactics. The race had two compulsory pitstops and no single driver could complete more than 70 laps of the 129 lap race.
Talbot and Miles would hold onto lap 59 for their first pitstop with clean racing being the order of the day.
A yellow flag would soon be called as James Bergmuller spun and beached his BMW M6 on a curb.
The pitstop cycle at the front was sorted by lap 90 with 30 seconds now separating the top three, with Emery leading from Evans’ Audi and Martin’s Porsche.
Evans would put in a fantastic final stint to chase down the leaders, making up the deficit to Emery and taking the lead on lap 109.
Soon after Martin would pass Emery for second and would start the charge to Evans. He would put in a series of fast laps but ultimately came up 3.2 seconds short – taking second.
In the end, it was a great day for Jamec Pem, taking a 1-3 only separated by the Talbot/Martin Porsche.
Daniel O’Keeffe/Daniel Gaunt finished fourth in their Audi ahead of and Peter Edwards/Graham Smyth’s Maranello Ferrari 458 GT3.
As a postscript for the race, the Mercedes-AMG GT of Tony D’Alberto and Max Twigg were disqualified after not taking their second pitstop inside the mandatory pit window.
Miles and Evans extended their advantage at the top of the championship as the campaign taking two from two so far in the 2017 Endurance Series.
The Australian Endurance Championship now heads to New Zealand for the Hampton Downs 500 on October 27-29.