McLaren headlines 24-car Australian GT grid

Klark Quinn takes over the reigns of the McLaren full-time this season

Klark Quinn takes over the reigns of the McLaren full-time this season

Two-time reigning Australian GT Champion Klark Quinn’s full-time switch to his father’s McLaren features atop a 24 car entry for the opening round of the 2014 season at Sandown.

The field for the March 28-30 Shannons Nationals event boasts 11 different marques, including the return of Ascari after a long absence.

Touring Car Masters regular Keith Kassulke will make his debut in the BMW V8-powered machine at Sandown after recently purchasing it from previous owner Darren Berry.

The Ascari will compete in the 11-strong GT Trophy Class for 2011 and older GT3 machinery.

Among those looking to challenge Klark Quinn for outright honours will again be father Tony, who returns to the wheel of his Aston Martin.

Sandown will meanwhile see the AGTC debut of reigning GT3 Cup Challenge winner Richard Muscat, who shapes as a strong contender in Erebus Motorsport’s single Mercedes SLS.

The outright field is completed by two-driver entries for Jim Manolios/Ryan Millier (Ferrari), James Koundouris/Steve Owen (Porsche), Justin McMillan/Steven Richards (Lamborghini) and Peter Edwards/John Bowe.

Manolios is making use of Tony Quinn’s Ferrari 458 while he awaits upgrades to his regular Corvette mount.

The gentleman driver hopes that the American muscle car will be a contender when it is rolled out in 2013 specification later in the year.

“Both Greg Murphy and Ivan Capelli admitted when they drove the car last year that the paddle-shift will be worth as much as half a second a lap,” he said.

“Coupled with the new aero tweaks and a complete ‘birthday’, the car should be a lot quicker than it was last year.”

Koundouris has purchased the Porsche that Quinn used to win the last two AGTC titles, while McMillan’s Lamborghini returns following its major accident in the Bathurst 12 Hour.

The Sandown event will see the GT cars complete 60 minute races on both the Saturday and Sunday.

See below for the full Australian GT entry

GT Championship Class
1. Klark Quinn (Darrell Lea McLaren MP4-12C)
7. Tony Quinn (Darrell Lea Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
29. Jim Manolios/Ryan Millier (Ferrari 458 GT3)
36. Richard Muscat (Erebus Motorsport SLS AMG GT3)
47. James Koundouris/Steve Owen (Supabarn Supermarkets Porsche GT3-R)
48. Justin McMillan/Steven Richards (GB Galvanizing Lamborghini Gallardo LP600+)
88. Peter Edwards/John Bowe (Il Bello Rosso Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)

GT Trophy Class
5. Graham Lusty/Geoff Fane (Lusty Trailers Mosler MT900 GT3)
6. Rod Salmon ( Audi R8 LMS GT3)
38. Ben Eggleston (Eggleston Motorsport Aston Martin DBRS9)
51. Andrew MacPherson (IMAK Int. Porsche 997 Cup-S)
52. Keith Kassulke/Jonathan Venter (Ascari KZR-1 GT3)
69. Theo Koundouris (Supabarn Supermarkets Porsche 997 Cup-S)
70. Dale Paterson (DPM Mosler MT900 GT3)
71. Dean Koutsoumidis/James Winslow (Equity-One Audi R8 LMS GT3)
73. Michael Hovey (Associated Projects Porsche Type 997 GT3 Cup)
75. Steve McLaughlan (JAMEC PEM Audi R8 LMS GT3)
77. Jan Jinadasa (JJA Consulting Group Lamborghini Gallardo LP520)

GT Challenge Class
3. Ben Foessel/George Foessel (Motor School Porsche Type 997 GT3 Cup)
25. Brendan Cook/Matt Kingsley (Walz Group Porsche Type 997 GT3 Cup)
35. Indiran Padayachee (Rentcorp Porsche Type 997 GT3 Cup)

GT4 Sports Class
9. Tony Martin (TM Motorsports Ginetta G50 GT4)
19. Mark Griffith (Hog’s Breath Cafe Ginetta G50 GT4)
54. Tony Alford/Mark O’Connor (Donut King Lotus Exige Cup R)

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