Liam Talbot walks away from the final round of the Australian GT Championship with many positives, praising his MEGA Racing Walkinshaw GT3 team and eyes on securing the Australian Endurance Championship after a challenging final round at Sandown International Raceway.
Talbot and the MEGA Racing team were eclipsed for the Championship by the barest of margins after a thrilling day involving three races.
After starting third on the grid, Talbot’s day started well maintaining that starting position to finish third in the opening race.
Race two would prove critical in the Championship fight. A restart saw Talbot and the MEGA Racing Porsche squeezed on the entry to turn one, thus requiring a change of line to compensate.
The Queenslander caught the curb which was still wet and around his car went – the first time the MEGA Racing machine got out of line all season. He was able to restart, however was a couple of laps down and brought it home to remain in the Championship fight.
From the rear of grid in race three, Talbot produced one of the races of his young career. He quickly charged through the field knowing that he had to build track position ahead of the pitstops that would give him the best possible chance to win the Championship by the smallest possible margin.
Once the pitstop scenario had played out, Talbot had a solitary point advantage over his nearest rival, Geoff Emery and sitting in second, it would be a straight fight to chase down the race leader and anything else that would happen would be out of his hands.
Emery had his own battle involving a number of cars. A late race collision among the group he was in granted a few positions which then switched the tables on Talbot.
Liam fought valiantly to finish the race in second position and would walk away with second in the Championship.
It had been a strong fight for the Championship all season long, particularly for Talbot and the MEGA Racing Porsche team, prepared by Walkinshaw GT3.
A team fresh to GT racing in Australia, a brand new sponsor in Australia’s newest Petroleum company, MEGA Limited – and a Bronze-rated driver coming into the outright Championship fight in a single car team without factory driver support was a huge undertaking in anyone’s language.
Talbot delivered three race victories – a Series season equalling high – and was in the Championship fight right until the final lap.
The focus for the team now switches to the Australian Endurance Championship which will conclude in New Zealand next month, where Talbot will be joined by John Martin.
Liam and his entire team cannot thank his supporters enough for their support and the sponsors that have backed his racing efforts in season 2017 – especially MEGA Limited, WashIt Australia Mobile Truckwash and Walkinshaw GT3 supporters, Morris Finance and Urban Maintenance Systems.
LIAM TALBOT – QUOTEBOARD:
“Naturally, I’m gutted to have gone so close to the Championship, but I believe we have plenty of positives to take from today and the season.
“We were up against it going into the final race after going around in race two, but the Walkinshaw GT3 team showed their experience at this level and had got me back into the frame and ready to go in the final race.
“The car, as ever, was MEGA and we did everything we possibly good to get through the field to give us the best possible track position once the pitstops played out – which we did and from there it was in the lap of the Gods.
“I walk away feeling great pride in coming back to Australia and getting into this Championship – there were plenty of unknowns at the start of the year.
“We worked with a team in Walkinshaw that has a wonderful pedigree; quickly developed a race winning program with a new sponsor in MEGA Limited that has brought a different flair to the sport and succeeded.
“It is still is only my fourth year of racing, so I’m pretty happy that we could even be anywhere near this fight, let alone go so close to getting the Championship.
“I can’t thank the team from MEGA Limited enough for having faith in me and becoming good friends over and above what happens on track, WashIt Australia Mobile Truck Wash, along with Morris Finance and Urban Maintenance Systems.
“The team from Walkinshaw GT3 have been nothing but consummate professionals since our first discussions and have steered me in the right direction every single time.
“We aren’t finished with this year – there’s still the Australian Endurance Championship, where John (Martin) and I are still in with a good shot.
“There are a lot more exciting things in the pipeline. For the moment, we’ll go away and reflect on a Championship well raced and look ahead.
“Congratulations to Geoff Emery and the Melbourne Performance Centre team on the Championship win.”
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 – 3rd
5. Sep 15 – 17 Sandown 500, Sandown Raceway, Victoria – 4th
2017 Australian Endurance Championship Calendar:
1. May 26 – 28 Phillip Island, Phillip Island, Victoria – 6th
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: