Two wins for Steve McLaughlan saw the Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi claim victory in the final round of the 2017 CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series at Wakefield Park.
Having qualified on the front row, McLaughlan got the jump over pole-sitter Richard Gartner in Race 1 to head proceedings, before racing his way back into the lead in the latter stages.
He then commanded the second race from start to finish, rounding out a successful campaign that saw him claim his second Australian GT Trophy crown (separate release to follow).
Pushing McLaughlan hard throughout the weekend was the Safe-T-Stop Lamborghini of Richard Gartner, who banked a pair of second place finishes across both 50-minute races.
Rounding out the Trophy Class podium was the impressive Rio Nugara, who was one of just four men to set a sub-60-second time in qualifying on Saturday.
Two composed races, which culminated in a battle for third place with Rod Salmon late in Race 2, saw Nugara and the Eat Furniture Audi R8 Ultra claim their first Australian GT podium.
McLaughlan, Salmon and Gartner provided brilliant entertainment as the trio found themselves embroiled in a scrap for the lead in the opening race, running nose-to-tail until the dying stages of the 50-lap encounter.
Contact with a slower car for Salmon saw him slow initially before being forced out with suspension damage, while Gartner was unable to live the ultimate pace shown by McLaughlan in the closing laps.
McLaughlan then headed Gartner throughout Race 2, as Salmon charged his way back through the field.
The Skwirk Online Education driver climbed back to third from the rear of the pack, before dropping behind the hard-charging Nugara late in the race
In Challenge Class, Mark Griffith (Griffith Corporation Ferrari F430) sealed the title with second in class behind Andrew Clarke in Race 2.
Driving a Ginetta G50, Clarke ended the opening race third in class before going two places better as the title fight among his rivals reached fever pitch in the season finale.
Griffith had been forced out of the opening race with a suspension problem, while Jamie Arratoon (Aranik Ferrari 458 Challenge) saw his hopes of the Challenge Class title evaporate with mechanical gremlins throughout Race 2.
Also in Race 2, a loose diffuser for John Nikolovski (Aranik Racing Ferrari 458 Challenge) saw him drop a number of laps in the pits, affording Clarke the opportunity to claim his first Australian GT race, and round win.
Second for the round went to Nikolovski while Arratoon’s class win in Race 1 was enough to see him third for the weekend.
Nikolovski and Arratoon enjoyed a thrilling battle throughout Race 1, the duo swapping positions for lap after lap, proved to be the fight for the class win.
Griffith had been in control of proceedings before he was forced out with suspension issues, allowing Arratoon through to the win with Nikolovski third.
The results meant Griffith narrowly claimed the Challenge Class title from Nikolovski and Arratoon.
The Wakefield Park event marked the end of the 2017 Australian GT season, capping off a campaign that started on the streets of Adelaide with the CAMS Australian GT Championship and made its way to New Zealand for the culmination of the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship.
Race 1 Results
|1||Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing||Steve McLaughlan||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||50||51:28.736|
|2||Safe-T-Stop||Richard Gartner||Lamborghini Gallardo GT3||50||51:34.234|
|3||Travers Beynon Racing||Travers Beynon||Audi R8 LMS||50||52:12.946|
|4||Mack Bros Roofing Products||Wayne Mack||Ferrari 458 GT3||50||52:16.912|
|5||EAT Furniture||Rio Nugara||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||50||52:25.271|
|6||CCC Polished Concrete||Rick Mensa||Audi R8 LMS||49||52:08.018|
|7||Fiorano Motorsport||Jamie Arratoon||Ferrari 458 Challenge||48||51:37.280|
|8||Aranik Racing||John Nikolovski||Ferrari 458 Challenge||48||51:53.825|
|9||Andrew Clarke||Andrew Clarke||Ginetta G50||48||52:32.978|
|DNF||Skwirk Online Education||Rod Salmon||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||44||51:28.418|
|DNF||Griffith Corporation||Mark Griffith||Ferrari F430||40||51:37.525|
|DNF||Whitlock Bull Bars||Con Whitlock||Audi R8 LMS||20||51:29.995|
|DNF||Gap Solutions/SEKTOR||John Goodacre||MARC Focus V8||9||09:40.893|
Race 2 Results
|1||Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing||Steve McLaughlan||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||49||50:37.723|
|2||Safe-T-Stop||Richard Gartner||Lamborghini Gallardo GT3||49||50:42.353|
|3||EAT Furniture||Rio Nugara||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||49||51:19.557|
|4||Skwirk Online Education||Rod Salmon||Audi R8 LMS Ultra||49||51:20.438|
|5||Travers Beynon Racing||Travers Beynon||Audi R8 LMS||48||50:50.314|
|6||Mack Bros Roofing Products||Wayne Mack||Ferrari 458 GT3||48||50:51.670|
|7||CCC Polished Concrete||Rick Mensa||Audi R8 LMS||48||51:17.346|
|8||Andrew Clarke||Andrew Clarke||Ginetta G50||47||51:38.389|
|9||Griffith Corporation||Mark Griffith||Ferrari F430||45||51:27.539|
|10||Aranik Racing||John Nikolovski||Ferrari 458 Challenge||41||51:46.614|
|DNF||Fiorano Motorsport||Jamie Arratoon||Ferrari 458 Challenge||33||47:50.704|
|DNF||Whitlock Bull Bars||Con Whitlock||Audi R8 LMS||31||52:13.845|