Whilst much of the focus this weekend will be on the outright race for victory in the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour, the main focus for the Australian GT [AGT] competitors, will be on the clock Sunday morning for 7:50am – the 50-minute mark of the big race, and the very point where the winner of the opening round of the Australian GT Championship will be crowned.
It’s a new concept for AGT, with the series promoters looking at ways they can increase race lengths on what is an already tight national motorsport calendar – in keeping with the global GT tradition of endurance length races.
The 12-Hour opportunity came up during the second half of 2012, and allowed teams that were intent on doing the first major event for the year AND Australian GT, the chance to combine both.
So, after 50-minutes of the 12-Hour on Sunday morning, don’t be surprised to see a handful of cars pull into the pits at the completion of the opening round of the AGT. Don’t expect the winner of the round to slow down and gesture to the fans and the crew either, for sake of losing valuable track position over the next 11:10 hours..
What will be interesting as a result of the new format though will be the strategy employed by the series regulars, as it is THEIR CAR that will score points, rather than the driver..
I’ll explain.. During a normal round of the Australian GT Championship, each race has a Compulsory Pit Stop (CPS) in order to swap to a second driver, or deliver some level of parity to ‘seeded’ (experienced) drivers. Because of the nature of the 12-Hour event, there will be no CPS (pit stop), so regardless of whichever driver is at the wheel at the 50-minute mark, it will be the registered AGT driver that records the points.
So if Steven Richards starts Justin McMillan’s Gallardo LP600 and is the leading AGT competitor at the 50-minute mark, Justin will record first placed finishing points for the round, without having completed a lap within that time frame..
There will be an exception however..
Tony Quinn will be sharing driving duties in son Klark’s Championship winning Porsche Cup R with Klark and new VIP recruit Shane Van Gisbergen, but he will also start the event in his new Aston Martin Vantage GT3. So what happens if the Porsche is leading with SVG at the wheel after 50-minutes? Well, because Tony is entered in his Aston, and will be behind the wheel at the 50-minute mark, it will be that result which will set his championship points for the round..
Confused? Don’t be. Keep track of the AGT ‘race within a race’ via the AGT website – www.australiangt.com.au and via Facebook; AustralianGT
So who’s entered for the opening round?
TEAMS CONTESTING BOTH THE 12-HOUR AND AGT
#1 5. Klark Quinn/Tony Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen (VIP Petfoods Porsche GT3-R)
#6. Rod Salmon/Craig Lowndes/Warren Luff (Skwirk.com.au Audi R8 LMS ultra)
#9. Mark Eddy/Marc Cini/Dean Grant/Christopher Mies (Network Clothing/Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS ultra)
#11. Roger Lago/David Russell/Peter Kox (JBS Swift Lmborghini Gallardo LP600)
#29. Jim Manolios/Greg Murphy/Ivan Capelli (Chevrolet Corvette Z06.R GT3)
#33. Mok Weng Sun/Craig Baird/Matt Griffin (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
#47. Bernd Schneider/Thomas Jager/Alex Roloff (Erebus Racing Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3)
#48. Justin McMillan/Steven Richards/Ross Lilley (GB Galvanizing Lamborghini Gallardo LP600)
# 63. Tim Slade/Lee Holdsworth/Peter Hackett (Erebus Racing Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3)
#71. Dean Koutsoumidis/Andrew McInnes/Simon Middleton/Darryl O’Young (Equity-One Audi R8 LMS)
#88. Peter Edwards/John Bowe/Allan Simonsen/Mika Salo (Il Bello Rosso Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
TEAMS CONTESTING ONLY AGT#1
# 15. Matt Kingsley (Action Motorsport Porsche Type 996 GT3 Cup)
#38. Mark Griffith (Griffith Corporation Ginetta G50 GT4)
#40. Ben Foessel (Motor School Porsche Type 996 GT3 Cup)
#41. George Foessel (Motor School Porsche Type 996 GT3 Cup)
# 73. Michael Hovey (ESP Print Management Ginetta G50 GT4)
# 77. Tony Quinn (VIP Petfoods Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
Source. Australian GT
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