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May 20, 2013

GT CHAMPIONSHIP SET FOR SPECTACULAR NATIONALS RETURN

TWO, ONE-HOUR endurance races for the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli will add to the endurance flavour at this weekend’s third round of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals.

The third round of Australian GT will feature alongside the inaugural running of the Great Southern Four Hour for the Australian Manufacturers Championship, plus rounds for the Radical Australia Cup, Swift Racing Series and PRB Clubmans.

This weekend marks the first of three GT rounds to form part of the Shannons Nationals program this year – the exotic supercars also featuring at July’s Sydney Motorsport Park event and at Queensland Raceway, in August.

“After a busy start to the year with rounds at Bathurst and the Clipsal 500, we’re all looking forward to getting back to the Shannons Nationals this weekend,” said Australian GT Category Manager, Ken Collier.

“Last year we held two rounds at the Island with the Nationals and they were both spectacular... and there’s no reason why we won’t put on a similar show again. Our competitors love the atmosphere and the track time available at these rounds and it’s an important part of our championship.

“The one hour races are a mix of all-out sprint racing mixed with all the strategy and tactics that make endurance racing so popular, and Phillip Island is the ideal track for these cars to show their performance. We can’t wait!”

Defending series champion Klark Quinn leads the standings in his Porsche GT3-R, having won the opening round held in conjunction with the Bathurst 12 hour, and scoring a podium finish at the Clipsal 500 three weeks later.

Quinn’s Porsche will likely face stern pressure from Erebus Motorsport’s young gun, Victorian Jack LeBrocq.

The reigning Australian Formula Ford Champion will make his Australian GT debut this weekend in an extension of his existing Australian Formula 3 campaign with the Erebus Squad. He will drive the stunning Mercedes Benz SLS AMG the squad is famed for – a car that finished 1-2 at the corresponding round twelve months ago.

Ferrari squad Maranello Motorsport have completed upgrades to their 458 GT3 recently, offering John Bowe and Peter Edwards a realistic chance at victory in the Italian thoroughbred.

Victorian state sports car champion Justin McMillan should also offer a stern challenge at his home circuit, his Lamborghini Gallardo also having recently received its 2013-specification upgrades.

The latest tweaks are generally aero-related and will increase downforce and grip at the high speed 4.46km Phillip Island circuit.

Queenslander Roger Lago is another favoured Lamborghini runner and pressed the leading Porsche’s and Mercedes all the way in a strong performance at the Clipsal 500.

Lago is a former Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge race and round winner (and a two-time Porsche champion at Shannons Nationals rounds) at the Island and knows the place well.

Rod Salmon looks to lead the Audi brigade, his R8 LMS Ultra with existing Phillip Island race winning pedigree; it’s the car that V8 Supercar legend Craig Lowndes took to victory at the circuit during last September’s Shannons Nationals round.

Several drivers have elected to enter co-drivers for the two, one-hour races; recent V8 Supercar Development Series winner Jack Perkins a notable entrant – driving a Ginetta G50 with Mark Griffith, whilst local driver Steven Mclaughlan will make his national debut in the ex-Greg Crick Dodge Viper, that won at Phillip Island 12 months ago.

Cars from Porsche, Aston Martin, Audi, Ginetta, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Mercedes / AMG, and Chrysler make up the multimillion-dollar GT field.

Practice for round three of the 2013 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals kicks off this Friday (May 24) with qualifying and racing commencing on Saturday, May 25.

Tickets are available at the gate for $35 for a weekend pass, with children under the age of 16 admitted free.

Sunday’s racing will be broadcast live on the internet via the Shannons Nationals live streaming service, Nationals TV – only on the Shannons Nationals website, www.thenationals.com.au

Coverage will then later air on SBS SPEEDWEEK and SPEED TV Australia.