Liam Talbot and John Martin will start the opening 500km round of the Australian Endurance Championship from the front row after qualifying the MEGA Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R second fastest on average times from today’s two sessions.
The Australian Endurance Championship provides both drivers with the chance to have a qualifying session – with the grid formed as an average of the two times.
Martin completed the first session, ending it fifth fastest before Talbot took to the Walkinshaw GT3 prepared machine that leads the Australian GT Championship to be second fastest. The second round of qualifying was slower by virtue of the first 20 minute stanza having the best of the Pirelli tyres at their disposal.
The duo is extremely happy with the starting position. It isn’t the first time the pair have raced together, having won their class at the Bathurst 12 Hour in February. Both are supremely experienced at the longer form of GT competition – Martin at World Endurance Championship level and Talbot having won the Blancpain Endurance Series last year.
Tomorrow’s 500km race – which coincides with the 100th Shannons Nationals event – begins at 1:40pm will feature two compulsory pitstops and will be preceded by a 20 minute warmup at 11am.
Talbot will complete the first stint in the race before handing over to Martin. Each team is required to have two drivers.
With Phillip Island’s typical fickle weather predicted to play a part, the strategy behind the race will be critical – however Talbot is confident that the Walkinshaw GT3 team can deploy what is needed to work through the options presented.
Liam Talbot Racing is supported by Australia’s newest Petroleum company, MEGA Limited and carries additional support from WashIt Australia Mobile Truck Wash and Walkinshaw GT3 sponsors, Urban Maintenance Systems and Morris Finance.
Live streaming of warmup at 11am and the full race from Phillip Island at 1:40pm(Australian Eastern Standard Time) is being carried on www.thenationals.com.au.
LIAM’S LOWDOWN – AUSTRALIAN ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND 1 QUALIFYING:
“We’re really happy to be starting the race tomorrow in second based on the average times.
“John did a MEGA job in his session, and then for me to back it up in my qualifying attempt is a really good start to the weekend.
“The car was incredibly strong, it is the best it has ever been. We’ve engineered it to be ready for this event, we’ve had to make some slight adjustments and with the thought it might be wet tomorrow – we might have to make some more. The test John did in the leadup to the weekend has paid huge dividends for all of us and now we’re seeing the reward, which we hope will continue tomorrow.”
Strategy will be a key part of the race – and that has been the forte of Walkinshaw GT3 throughout this season for you…
“No matter how good a driver you are, you need an amazing team. The work that Walkinshaw GT3 does behind the scenes and during the race is unbelievable.
“When u have to roll with the punches – like it appears we may have to tomorrow – they make the right call at the right time.
“Tomorrow’s race will be exciting. I am looking forward to starting the race – hopefully we can truck on down the road a bit and have a margin heading to the pitstops and come away with a MEGA result to add to what we’ve done at Australian GT level.
“Both John and I are fit and comfortable, the car’s the best its been, everyone’s doing their bit – bring it on!”
2017 Australian GT Championship Calendar:
1. Mar 2 – 5 Clipsal 500, Adelaide, South Australia – 4th
2. Mar 23 – 26 Australian Grand Prix, Albert Park, Melbourne, Victoria – 3rd
3. May 5 – 7 Perth Super Sprint, Barbagallo, Western Australia – 1st
4. Jul 7 – 9 Townsville 400, Townsville, Queensland
5. Sep 15 – 17 Sandown 500, Sandown Raceway, Victoria
2017 Australian Endurance Championship Calendar:
1. May 26 – 28 Phillip Island, Phillip Island, Victoria
2. Aug 18 – 20 Sydney Motorsport Park, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW
3. Oct 27 – 29 Hampton Downs, Hampton Downs, New Zealand
4. Nov 10 – 12 Highlands 501 Highlands Park, Cromwell, NZ
Further Sources of Information: