Australian GT have revealed that they have attracted what looks to be a record field for the opening round of the Australian GT Championship at Mount Panorama across the Easter weekend, with what is fast approaching a grid that will meet full capacity on the iconic 6.213-kilometre circuit.
“There’s no question that the Australian GT Championship round at Bathurst has everyone fired up with fantastic feedback and pre-event interest from competitors,” Australian GT category rights holder Jim Manolios confirmed. “Indications are that will see more than 30 cars at Bathurst which is outstanding, whilst the full Sprint championship season looks set for a minimum of 20 cars at every round.
“That’s a great reaction to what we’d proposed as a response to our team’s survey last season, aligning ourselves with the best circuits in the country and some of the top events, so to see that support is exactly what we’d been looking for.”
At the same time, Manolios revealed that despite taking the same approach with the endurance championship, that the response from teams had shown a different result.
“After consultation with the newly minted advisory group and feedback from the teams, we have turned the two events to be staged at PI into one event in August. The format will be a six (6) hour race pending approval, which will reduce costs for everyone and provide significantly better value to teams and sponsors.
“We established two showcase events for the Australian GT teams to play top-billing – one in March, the other in August – events designed to attract manufacturers as well as sportscar owners from around the country.
“Clearly the global issue with Coronavirus is having an impact with markets around the world responding as a result. We saw that last weekend in Adelaide with numbers in most categories down on past years, and a surprising number of cars running without any level of sponsor support, so money is tight, and for us – we campaign one of the highest cost championships in the country, so we’re usually the first to feel it – especially when it comes to the longer events.
“We will talk more to Motorsport Australia and look at a variety of options available for the August [14-16] Phillip Island round to determine an outcome for the Australian Endurance Championship, including as stated above the introduction of one single six hour race to replace the two proposed four-hour events.”
The March Phillip island event also has implications for the Australian GT Trophy Series and GT4 entrants – for which the round also constituted an element of their 2020 Championship calendars. A decision on that will be made in the coming days.
Focus now turns to the opening round of the 2020 Australian GT Championship which begins at Mount Panorama, Bathurst across April 10-12, with the opening event of the GT3 and GT4 seasons, whilst the event will also play host to round three of the Australian GT Trophy Series.
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