The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 will mark the year’s first round of the CAMS Australian GT Championship, as Mercedes-AMG enter the series with a powerhouse line-up.
Leading the charge is reigning Intercontinental GT Challenge Bronze Driver’s Champion Kenny Habul, the USA-based driver to compete in the event with a Scott Taylor Motorsport prepared AMG GT3 .
Habul will be making his Albert Park debut but has a wealth of experience behind the wheel in other world-class events, his successful 2018 campaign included a Suzuka 10-Hour victory as well as podiums in the Bathurst 12 Hour and Spa 24 Hour races.
Outside of his runner-up finish in last year’s Bathurst 12 hour alongside IMSA WeatherTech co-driver Tristan Vautier, Supercar champion Jamie Whincup and 2018 Blancpain Sprint Series champion Rafaelle Marciello, Habul has an immense amount of experience ranging from Formula Ford to the USA’s NASCAR.
Habul won’t be the only big name to be campaigning for the team in the season opener later this month with CAMS Australian GT Endurance Champion Max Twigg also part of the impressive outfit.
Twigg will once again be behind a WM Waste Mercedes at Albert Park later this month and the three endurance rounds after recently confirming his desire to continue competing.
Twigg was planning to sit this year out after winning the endurance championship last year alongside Tony D’Alberto, however after watching the 2019 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour from the sidelines, he changed his mind.
“To be honest, I wanted a year off to recharge, but I sat back and watched the Bathurst 12 Hour, which was the first time I had not been in it for more eight years, and I felt like a wimp,” Twigg joked.
“After a few days of thinking, I then spoke to Scott (Taylor) and we worked out a deal, threw it all together and now we’re ready to go.
“Tony (D’Alberto) is all geared up for the three endurance rounds, he has gotten his sponsorship sorted and already bought his race suit. Scott is also excited for another championship so we’re ready for another big year.”
Despite Twigg returning to Albert Park to compete again in the one-off sprint round, Habul will be behind the wheel of Twigg’s 2018 championship winner car while he will be driving Whincup, Craig Lowndes and Shane Van Gisbergen’s 12 Hour entry.
The third and final member of the Mercedes-AMG is one of the category’s most experienced campaigners in Peter Hackett who will be vying for his first win at the international event since making his debut in 2010.
Last year, AMG had four wins from four starts at the season opener with Jaie Robson and Craig Baird each claiming two wins, meaning this year, the team will be heading into the four 25-minute sprint races as strong favourites.
The CAMS Australian GT Championship will have two sprint rounds open and close the season either side of the three endurance rounds which are part of the seven-round 2019 Shannons Nationals campaign.
The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 takes place on the streets of Albert Park in Melbourne on 14-17 March.