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Jul 12, 2013

BIG WEEKEND GETS UNDERWAY IN SYDNEY

A LAMBORGHINI GALLARDO was the surprise pace setter in practice for the Australian GT Championship at this weekend’s Shannons Nationals event at Sydney Motorsport Park.

Round 5 of the Nationals commenced today with unofficial practice and it was the Lamborghini Gallardo LP600 shared by Justin McMillan and two-time Bathurst 1000 winner, Steven Richards, who topped the times in a competitive Pirelli GT championship field.

Their best of 1m28.69s set in this morning’s opening practice ended the day just 0.2s faster than round three winner, Erebus Motorsport driver Jack LeBrocq.

Fresh from witnessing one of Erebus Motorsport’s best V8 Supercar results in Townsville, LeBrocq looked speedy today during his first look at the demanding 3.9km Sydney Motorsport Park layout in the thundering SLS AMG Mercedes Benz.

The hugely competitive GT Championship field features a variety of competitive brands and today many were represented at the front of the field – Ferrari (John Bowe / Peter Edwards), Porsche (Klark Quinn) and Aston Martin (Tony Quinn) all represented in the top five across the day.

The GT field will tackle two, one-hour races this weekend with the first to be held tomorrow afternoon, following qualifying.

Round one winners Pro-Duct Motorsport topped practice for Sunday's 3 hour endurance race as part of round 2 of the Australian Manufacturers Championship series.

Drivers Bob Pearson and Glenn Seton combined to push their EVO X RS Mitsubishi to a quick time of 1m41.1s, well under the existing AMChamps lap record at the Sydney venue.

Local experience is likely to play a role in the Sydney team going back-to-back in AMChamps endurance races, the team having scored a crushing victory at Phillip Island’s season opener.

Rival Mitsubishi teams, CXC Global Racing (Dylan Thomas / Stuart Kostera) and Eastern Creek Karts (Garry Holt / Ryan McLeod) were in close company all day and should also threaten – whilst the rival BMWs are yet to show their speed.

Championship leader Tim Macrow topped the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship field today, just 0.1s faster than nearest rival, Nick Foster

Click here for a full Formula 3 wrap..

Radical Australia Cup competitors practiced today ahead of their major endurance race – the First Neon 250 – this Sunday, with limited entries electing to run lap timers today.

The lack of relative times suggest early games are being played ahead of qualifying tomorrow – where all drivers will have to be scored.

‘Pro’ drivers including James Winslow, George Miedecke and Josh Hunt all got laps today with reports of times in the 1m25-second range. Hunt – with co-driver Peter White – was one of the few to trouble the lap timers today and banked a 1m25.69s lap in practice three.

The Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli competed two practice sessions today ahead of their fourth round of the year – their second visit to Sydney Motorsport Park this season.

In an ominous sign for the title rivals, championship leader Richard Muscat won all three races that weekend – and won all three at the series’ most recent round at Winton, in Victoria.

Andrew Price was quickest in the sole ‘individual’ practice for the Australian Swift Racing Series – the one-make racers set to join the AMChamps field for the first hour on Sunday afternoon.

Access is free to Sydney Motorsport Park tomorrow, in a massive day that will feature five races, including two for the Formula 3 Australian Drivers Championship and a one-hour GT Championship enduro.

Sunday’s action will be streamed live by Nationals TV – at www.thenationals.com.au