Former Formula 3 champion Peter Hackett is eyeing a first Vodka O Australian GT Championship round win for his Mercedes AMG SLS this weekend at Phillip Island.
The Team Erebus Racing Mercedes driver topped two of the three practice sessions today ahead of Sunday’s races, which will comprise Round 5 of the 2011 championship.
Hackett finished the day only 0.1s quicker than the recently rebuilt Vodka O Mosler of Dean Grant and the Penfold Audi Sport Audi R8 LMS of Mark Eddy.
“This circuit should suit the Mercedes SLS as it has long straights and constant radius corners which this car loves, so I’m not surprised at our pace, but the Audi and Dean’s car are also very strong, so we’ll need to keep pushing to stay ahead,” said Hackett.
Current Championship leader Klark Quinn suffered through a difficult day as a re-occurring electrical issue meant no serious running for the V.I.P. Petfoods Mosler MT900.
“At one stage it was looking like we were going to have to withdraw the car for the weekend, which would have been disastrous for the Championship, but the guys think they have worked it out” said Quinn.
Challenge Class new comers Rob Knight and John Modystach have both enjoy a trouble free and somewhat successful debut in GT Racing with both their 997 Porsche Cup Cars featuring in the top half of the time sheets all day.
Modystach and Knight both have co-drivers for the event, and Modystach said that both he and Rob are benefiting from their highly rated co-drivers feedback.
“I have Jonny Reid in my car and Rob has Marcus Marshall, and just in the few sessions we completed today we have picked up a heap of time,” he said.
“Rob and I have never been to Phillip Island in our Porsche’s, and it’s the kind of place where you never stop learning, and so far we are loving it and can’t wait for tomorrow.”
CAMS Tourist Trophy front runner Greg Crick had a mixed day with his JEEP Viper suffering a pit lane speed limit error on the track.
“Every now and then the pit lane speed limiter would engage, right in the middle of the lap,” said the veteran racer.
“We were able to get it fixed, but it was frustrating and stopped us from getting any real data about the car today.”
Day two of round five of the Vodka O Australian GT Championship will see Australia’s most exotic race cars complete one practice session followed by the all important 40 minute qualifying session at 2.35pm.
GT racing will begin at 10.35am on Sunday with free entry for all Dad’s to celebrate Fathers Day