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Australian GT Championship

Australian GT Championship
File:Australian GT championship logo.jpg
Category Sports car racing
Country Australia
Inaugural season 1960
Drivers 49
Drivers' champion 23x15px Richard Muscat
Official website Australian GT
File:Motorsport current event.svg [[2015 Australian GT Championship season#REDIRECTmw:Help:Magic words#Other
This page is a soft redirect.Current season]]

The Australian GT Championship is a CAMS-sanctioned national title for drivers of GT cars, held annually from 1960 to 1963, from 1982 to 1985 and from 2005. Each championship up to and including the 1963 title was contested over a single race and those after that year over a series of races. The category has not always been well defined and often has become a refugee home for competitors and cars orphaned by category collapse or a sudden change in regulation.

Appendix K

File:Centaur-Graham-Ruckert.jpg
The 1962 Championship winning Centaur Waggott of John French

In the first era the championship races were open to closed roof cars (not necessarily production based) complying with CAMS Appendix K regulations. Appendix K catered for modified production Grand Touring cars (such as Lotus Elite), sports cars (such as Jaguar D-Type) fitted with roofs, specials (such as the Centaur Waggott) and touring cars modified beyond the limits of the then current Appendix J regulations. Numbers dropped rapidly away as the years went on and the class was left behind in 1963.

GT/Sports Sedan

From 1976 to 1981 the Australian Sports Car Championship had been contested by Group D Production Sports Cars. The re-introduction of Group A Sports Cars in 1982 saw Group D needing a new home. The Australian GT Championship was re-introduced as a home for both Group D and Group B Sports Sedans of the Australian Sports Sedan Championship. The category was something of a hybrid with European racing cars, American IMSA racers and wide variety of Australian Sports Sedans competing together. One major difference between the Sports Sedans and GT cars was that the Sports Sedans were restricted to 10" wheels where as the GT cars were allowed up to 18" of rubber. Although many of the top V8 sports sedans had similar power to the GT cars, the difference in rubber on the road saw the GT cars able to get their power to the ground much more efficiently and also go much faster through the turns.

Porsche 935's dominated early with 1980 Formula One World Champion Alan Jones winning the 1982 Championship in an entry backed former race driver Alan Hamilton's Porsche Cars Australia (Hamilton was Australia's major Porsche distributor at the time). Porsche won again in 1983, this time with Rusty French driving the 1982 title winning car he had acquired from Hamilton, while both the 1984 and 1985 championships were won by Allan Grice and Bryan Thomson respectively, both driving the ex-Bob Jane DeKon Chevrolet Monza with a 6.0 L V8 engine that produced a reported Script error: No such module "convert"., with Thomson also driving his exotic Chevrolet V8 powered twin turbo Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC in the 1985 series. The Thomson Mercedes was alleged to produce over Script error: No such module "convert". making it arguably the most powerful race car in Australian motor racing. The downside though was the Mercedes suffered numerous reliability (turbo) problems and rarely showed its true potential.

As time went on the usually slower Sports Sedans started to usurp the category as the more expensive Sports Car refugees dropped in numbers. Sports Sedans also became more effective, especially once local racing car factories and professional racing teams like Elfin Sports Cars, K&A Engineering, Allan Browne's Re-Car team and JPS Team BMW became involved. As with Appendix K of the 1960s, grids were widely varied with turbocharged Porsche 935's, BMW 318i's, 5.0 and 6.0 litre V8 powered Chevrolet Monza's, Holden Commodores, Alfa Romeo Alfettas, Thomson's lone Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC, Peter Fitzgerald's Porsche Carrera RSR, a couple of V12 Jaguar XJS' and with a variety of sports sedans such as the Holden Monaro and Holden Torana, Ford Falcon and Ford Escort, and various turbocharged Toyota's, Nissan's and Mazda RX-7's.

By 1985 the field was mostly Sports Sedans bolstered with recently obsolete Group C Touring Cars and the championship was run concurrently with the Sports Car Championship. Veteran driver Kevin Bartlett introduced a very quick Ground effects De Tomaso Pantera in 1985 which brought some much needed spice to the GT category.

For 1986 Sports Sedans went their own way. Within a couple of years Porsche drivers had their own series with the Porsche Cup.

GT3

File:Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Type 997 of David Wall.jpg
The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup Type 997 of 2009 and 2010 champion David Wall at the opening round of the 2010 Australian GT Championship.
File:Audi R8 of Mark Eddy.jpg
The Audi R8 LMS of 2011 champion Mark Eddy
File:Klark Quinn 2013 AusGT Champion.JPG
Klark Quinn won the 2013 Australian GT Championship driving a Porsche 911 GT3-R Type 997

The Australian GT Championship was revived a second time in 2005 after the disbandment of the Australian Nations Cup Championship. Most of the competing 2004 cars remained eligible for 2005, although the controversial Holden Monaro 427C's which had won the two Bathurst 24 Hour races in 2002 and 2003 were a notable exception. This was because the Monaro's under Nations Cup rules had been permitted to use the 7.0 litre, 427 cui LS6 Chevrolet V8 engine that had been used successfully in the Chevrolet Corvette C5-R, while the road going CV8 Monaro's only came with the 5.7 litre Gen III V8.

The FIA GT3 regulations, like those in use in the FIA GT3 European Championship was the core of the new series. The series vehicles reflected GT3, Porsches, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, the controversial Mosler, although series regulations usually specified cars be two-three years old to cut down on costs. Competing drivers are seeded and penalised so as not to flood the series with professional drivers from other categories and increasing there has been an emphassis on longer races, sometimes allowing for more than one driver per car.

Champions

Season Champion Vehicle
1960 23x15px Leo Geoghegan Lotus Elite
1961 23x15px Frank Matich Jaguar D-Type
1962 23x15px John French Centaur Waggott
1963 23x15px Bob Jane Jaguar E-Type
1964–1981 Not Contested
1982 23x15px Alan Jones Porsche 935
1983 23x15px Rusty French Porsche 935
1984 23x15px Allan Grice Chevrolet Monza
1985 23x15px Bryan Thomson Chevrolet Monza
Mercedes-Benz 450 SLCChevrolet
1986–2004 Not Contested
2005 23x15px Bryce Washington Porsche 996 GT3 Cup
2006 23x15px Greg Crick Dodge Viper GTS ACR
2007 23x15px Allan Simonsen Ferrari 360 GT
Ferrari 430 GT3
2008 23x15px Mark Eddy Lamborghini Gallardo GT3
2009 23x15px David Wall Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S
2010 23x15px David Wall Porsche 997 GT3 Cup S
2011 23x15px Mark Eddy Audi R8 LMS
2012 23x15px Klark Quinn Porsche 997 GT3-R
2013 23x15px Klark Quinn Porsche 997 GT3-R
2014 23x15px Richard Muscat Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG


References

  • A History of Australian Motor Sport, © 1980
  • Australian Motor Racing Yearbooks, 1982/83 to 1985/86
  • www.camsmanual.com.au
  • www.gtchampionship.com.au

External links