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May 10, 2015

CAMS AUSTRALIAN TOURIST TROPHY ON THE LINE AT PHILLIP ISLAND

THE next round of the Australian GT Championship Presented by Pirelli at Phillip Island has attracted a strong 35-car field for the 101-lap endurance race.

But while all eyes are set on who will run the Phillip Island 101 and enhance their championship chances, there’s another prestigious award partly riding on the race.

The CAMS Australian Tourist Trophy has been revived in recent years by the Australian GT Championship with a history dating back longer than the Australian Drivers’ Championship, Australian Touring Car Championship and Bathurst 500/1000 endurance race.

This year the combined points in the Championship class from the Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park rounds will determine the winner of the 2015 CAMS Australian Tourist Trophy winner.

First awarded in 1956 – and won by no less than Stirling Moss in a Maserati 300S at Albert Park in Melbourne – the ‘TT’ was later awarded from 1958 to 1969 until the introduction of an Australian Sports Car Championship in 1969.

It was revived in 1975 and restricted to Production Sports Cars and run over two heats rather then a single race.

In 1976 it again was run for Group A purpose-built cars until it was discontinued after 1979.

The Australian GT Championship revived it in 2007 for the winners of the Sandown GT Classic. That race was won by the late Allan Simonsen and Tim Leahey in a Ferrari 430 GT3.

Simonsen won the TT crown again in the Sandown race in 2008 alongside Nick O’Halloran, becoming the first driver to claim back-to-back Tourist Trophy wins since Frank Matich in the late 1960s.

From 2009 to 2013 the TT was awarded to the top point-scoring driver across the one-hour races in each of those seasons at Eastern Creek (now known as Sydney Motorsport Park) and Phillip Island.

It was not awarded in 2013 but returned last year and was won by Richard Muscat (Erebus Motorsport) by virtue of his performances at Phillip Island and the season finale at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand.

Former winners of the CAMS Australian Tourist Trophy prior to the AGT era include David McKay (1958, who also won the first ATCC crown in 1960), Bib Stillwell (1961/1962), Ian Geoghegan (1963/1965/1977) and Frank Matich (1964/1966/1967/1968).

In terms of the AGT era of the award, David Wall won the TT in 2009 and 2010, Audi driver Mark Eddy won it in 2011 and Erebus have won the last two, with Peter Hackett in 2012 and Richard Muscat in 2014.

The CAMS Australian Tourist Trophy is an important award in Australian motorsport and the Australian GT Championship Presented by Pirelli is proud to have it an integral part of the 2015 season.