Fellow competitor aids in Brad Schumacher’s GT Trophy Class defence
Reigning GT Trophy Class winner Brad Schumacher was left in a predicament after upgrading his Audi to the latest specification Evo II prior to the three-hour event at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst International.
Having upgraded, he was now left without a model eligible for GT Trophy and his hopes of defending his class title appeared bleak.
Enter long-time friend and fellow competitor Sergio Pires.
Having debuted at The Bend Motorsport Park in a GT Trophy-spec Mercedes-AMG GT3, Pires has continually impressed and will team with Schumacher in an older-spec Audi to ensure the latter is a fighting chance for the class win.
“We’ve run the GT Trophy Class all season and of course we were the winners last year, so we decided to defend the title in 2022 in the sprint format,” explained Schumacher.
“At the Bathurst 12 Hour, I was lucky enough to drive for Audi Sport Customer Racing Australia in the Endurance series and we were lucky enough to get a good result in Pro-Am. This meant for the Bathurst International I’d need to drive in the Pro-Am Class again to finalise that championship in Round 2, so we made the decision to upgrade our latest chassis earlier than what we anticipated in order.
“This left the final round of the GT Trophy Class in limbo for us car-wise, which we’re leading by seven points. I was fortunate enough to have my good friend Sergio Pires from Valmont Racing reach out to me. We’ve been friends for a while and competed together, while being competitive against each other, so he reached out knowing I was in the class lead and asked if I’d like to drive together with him, which I accepted.”
Schumacher holds a slim advantage from fellow Audi driver Michael Kokkinos, while Porsche driver Scott Taylor is also in contention and holds the most experience out of the trio.
Preparations on his I-Sim Motion Simulator are already underway for the Bathurst local as he not only makes his debut in Adelaide, but will start his event on a street circuit.
“First time in Adelaide, so I’m excited for that,” said Schumacher.
“This will be my first time on a street circuit and it’s going to be cool to race on the streets of Adelaide for the first event back.
“For me and my racing, I’m always more excited for events of this magnitude with the crowds in addition to the hype surrounding the weekend.
“It’s all new to me down there, but I’ve been driving these cars long enough now that I’ll embrace it and get on with the job.”
Another first for Schumacher is having a co-driver during a Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS sprint event, but it’s not the first time the duo have paired up having shared the GT Trophy leader’s Subaru Impreza WRX STI in the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour earlier this year.
The final round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS comprises of three 40-minute races on the Adelaide streets in a high-profile end to the season.