TANDER TO JOIN TALBOT IN FANATECT GT QUEENSLAND BATTLE
EVEN MORE heat will be added to an already fiery Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS Championship as the series embarks on a critical trip to Queensland Raceway.
Already one of the closest title battles in series history, the fight for the championship will go to another level this weekend with five-time Bathurst 1000 winner Garth Tander to join championship leader Liam Talbot.
Talbot returned to the top of the standings two weeks ago in Sydney following a strong weekend – that included a Sunday victory – for he, co-driver Fraser Ross and their Shannons Audi R8 LMS Ultra.
However, with Ross engaged elsewhere Talbot and the Audi Customer Sport Racing Australia squad have drafted Tander back to the fold this weekend.
Tander is extremely familiar with the team and car having started five Bathurst 12 Hour enduros and a host of local GT World Challenge Australia rounds for the local Audi squad.
The driving with Yasser Shahin, Tander won the second race at Queensland Raceway last year having earlier finished second in race one.
Tander’s addition to the field comes at a critical time in the championship battle with just two rounds remaining.
Less than one race win splits the top four in the championship with Queensland set to be a potentially decisive weekend.
Regular pairings Geoff Emery and Max Hofer (Jamec Racing Audi R8) and Yasser Shahin / Garnet Patterson (EMA Motorsport / The Bend Motorsport Park Porsche 911 GT3R) both return and are Liam Talbot’s closest contenders for the title lead.
Tander’s return to the Fanatec GT World Challenge grid will return him to competition with a pair of former teammates; Jamie Whincup and Broc Feeney to share the driving duties in the pair of Johor Motor Racing / Triple Eight Race Engineering Mercedes AMG GT3s this weekend.
Whincup will be alongside regular copilot Prince Abu Ibrahim in Car 88, while Feeney will return to the seat of the #888 car alongside Prince Jefri Ibrahim following a standout performance at Mount Panorama earlier this season.
The Queensland field includes many of the series regulars who were all in action less than two weeks ago at Sydney Motorsport Park.
They include the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Mercedes-AMG of Ross Poulakis and Jayden Ojeda, another of the title contenders this year. After missing Sydney, teammate Christos Batzios returns in the sister Harrolds-backed car.
Two MARC Cars Australia entries will re-join the field this weekend, in the form of Darren Currie and Geoff Taunton, running in the Invitational class.
The Queensland event will be unique in introducing a Top-10 shootout for the first time in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia history.
The standard pair of qualifying sessions will remain in effect on Saturday, with the first session setting the grid for Race 1 and the second for Race 2.
However, the top-10 cars from Qualifying 2 will then progress to the shootout, to be held on Sunday morning.
The unique format, however, will see the Pro drivers qualify in the second session only for the nominated AM driver to tackle the shootout itself.
Race 1, the Top 10 Shootout and Race 2 will all be broadcast live, ad-break free and on demand on Stan Sport this weekend.
Saturday’s race will also be shown live on 9GO! Around Australia, starting at 2:55pm.
“I’ve had a long relationship with Melbourne Performance Centre and earlier this year that asked if there was an opening, would I be keen to drive – and of course I said yes.
“Fraser can’t make it this weekend, so they rang and I said yes straight away.
“I’ve not driven the car this year but thankfully the practice sessions are a bit longer now which will give me time to play myself in.
“I’ve done some miles in the last weeks between ride days, a test day in a Porsche, Supercars testing and now the GT car so I feel good about it.
“Based on how we went there last year we should be somewhat in the mix.
“My role is not about me doing laps, it’s about solidifying Liam’s position in the title. I’ve always gone into these races with the approach of supporting the AM driver the best I can and that’s the approach I will take with Liam this weekend.”
|CAR||CLASS||SPONSOR||DRIVER 1||SURNAME||DRIVER 2||SURNAME||MAKE||MODEL|
|1||Pro/Am||EMA Motorsport/The Bend Motorsport Park||Yasser||Shahin||Garnet||Patterson||Porsche||911 GT3R (991.2)|
|4||Invitational||MRA Roofing and Construction||Darren||Currie||Marc II||Mustang|
|20||Invitational||MARC Cars Australia||Geoff||Taunton||Daniel||Jilensen||MARC||GT|
|22||Am||Team MPC||Ash||Samadi||Audi||R8 LMS Evo 2|
|23||Am||KFC||Matt||Stoupas||Paul||Stokell||Audi||R8 LMS Evo 2|
|44||Am||Valmont Racing/Tigani Motorsport||Sergio||Pires||Marcel||Zalloua||Audi||R8 LMS Evo 2|
|45||Am||RAM Motorsport/GWR Australia||Michael||Sheargold||Garth||Walden||Mercedes||AMG GT3|
|55||Am||Schumacher Motorsport/Kelso Electrical||Brad||Schumacher||Audi||R8 LMS Evo 2|
|65||Pro/Am||Shannons||Liam||Talbot||Garth||Tander||Audi||R8 LMS Evo 2|
|66||GT3 Trophy||Realta/Tigani Motorsport||Paul||Lucchitti||Audi||R8 LMS Ultra|
|75||Pro/Am||Jamec Racing||Geoff||Emery||Maximilian||Hofer||Audi||R8 LMS Evo 2|
|88||Pro/Am||Triple Eight Race Engineering/JMR||Prince Abu Bakar||Ibrahim*||Jamie||Whincup||Mercedes||AMG GT3|
|96||Pro/Am||Hobson Motorsport||Mike||Bailey||Brett||Hobson||Mercedes||AMG GT3|
|101||Pro/Am||Harrolds Racing/Volante Rosso Motorsport||Ross||Poulakis||Jayden||Ojeda||Mercedes||AMG GT3|
|102||Am||Harrolds Racing/Volante Rosso Motorsport||Christos||Batzios||Mercedes||AMG GT3|
|181||GT3 Trophy||Only Fans||Renee||Gracie*||Audi||R8 LMS Ultra|
|888||Pro/Am||Triple Eight Race Engineering/JMR||Prince Jefri||Ibrahim||Broc||Feeney||Mercedes||AMG GT3|