Mark Griffith will make a full-time return to Australian GT in season 2020 with Mercedes-AMG, but unlike his cameos of recent years, the popular Queenslander will campaign an AMG GT4 – the successful twin-turbo V8 making it’s competition debut in Australia.
“I’ve enjoyed my time with the Mercedes-AMG GT3, but I’m keen to push the GT4 component of Australian GT as I’m a great believer in the category,” Griffith admitted. “I’ve also just recently sold the GT3 car on to a new owner, so that was off the cards anyway, but I’ve been talking with AMG for more than a year about the GT4 and finally it’s arrived!”
Powered by the same engine available as the road-going AMG GT – a 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 – the GT4 has proven both popular and successful around the world over the last 12 months, with Griffith acknowledging that this car is a perfect fit for amateur drivers looking to make their track debut.
“I’ve driven a variety of cars over the years, but this one really impresses me,” Griffith admitted.
“It’s got the looks, it’s got the power and it’s comfortable to push hard. With the immense experience of Mercedes-AMG behind the development of the car, there’s no question that it is a championship contender.”
Whilst Griffith is looking forward to the opening round of the 2020 Australian GT Championship – which kicks off at Phillip Island in mid-March – he also revealed that the team have entered the car in the opening round of the Australian Endurance Championship at the Bathurst 12 Hour.
“I love Bathurst – particularly the endurance races – so I was going to do everything in my power to be there for that one, even though getting the car here was very last minute. To have two more events at Bathurst as Sprint rounds of the championship is also fantastic, GT cars are built for that place, so I’m really looking forward to the season ahead.”
Typically cagey, Griffith was tight-lipped about his co-drivers for the once-around-the-clock enduro event, but admitted he had been talking to Germany about the support of an experienced AMG GT4 driver for the longer races, whilst he also explained that he had not committed to running two drivers in the ‘sprint’ series.
“With two races at Bathurst and two at Phillip Island, I’m thinking I might like to do those on my own, but coupled with a business that takes a lot of my time – that might be out of my hands, let’s see – regardless I’ll be there and I’d like nothing more than to hand Mercedes-AMG their first championship in Australia with the new GT4!”
2020 Australian GT Championship (GT4);
Rnd#1 – 20-22 March, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC [GT Sportscar Festival]
Rnd#2 – 10-12 April, Bathurst, NSW
Rnd#3 – 15-17 May, Barbagallo, WA [Supercars]
Rnd#4 – 14-16 August, Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, VIC [GT Sportscar Encore]
Rnd#5 – 18-20 September, The Bend Motorsport Park, SA [Supercars]
Rnd#6 – 8-11 October, Bathurst, NSW [Supercars]
Source. 321 Ignition Media