Christopher Mies secured the Australian GT Championship in the opening race of the Highlands Park finale won by Shane van Gisbergen and Klark Quinn.
The factory Audi driver, partnered by Ryan Millier, came through to finish the first 60 minute race in fourth, which ultimately proved enough for the German to claim the title at the New Zealand circuit.
“I can’t believe I won the Australian GT Championship I’m so happy for the entire team, but I want to dedicate this championship to all in France (referring to the mass shooting in Paris overnight),” said Mies.
While Jamec-Pem Racing’s Mies took the championship spoils, V8 Supercars star van Gisbergen and former Australian GT champion Quinn produced an impressive drive to snatch the Race 1 win from Trass Family Motorsport in the closing stages.
The McLaren 650S duo dominated the opening stint before losing the lead to the Kiwi pair of Graeme Smyth and Jono Lester, who took advantage of a Safety Car as their pit stop loomed.
The race was neutralised when title rival Nathan Antunes and pole-sitter Christopher Haase collided at Turn 2.
Both Melbourne Performance Centre Audis sustained heavy damage ruling Antunes out of the second race.
Meanwhile, at the front Lester, who took over from Smyth, inherited the lead after the mandatory pit stops but he was unable to relax with van Gisbergen chasing the Ferrari 458 down.
In the end, van Gisbergen won his dice with his fellow countryman to secure victory for the Darrell Lea McLaren squad.
Lester held on to finish second ahead of the Max Twigg/Shae Davies Erebus Mercedes SLS GT3 in third.
“The car was fantastic and Klark did really well to bring it home for us to take the round win. This puts us in a good mind-set for the 101 (feature race) tomorrow,” said van Gisbergen.
Holden Racing Team star Garth Tander and Tony Quinn came home in fifth ahead of the Maranello Motorsport Ferrari 458 of Tony D’Alberto and Grant Denyer.
Tony Walls and Warren Luff finished seventh in the Objective Racing McLaren 650S ahead of the returning Roger Lago in the JBS Lamborghini.
The final championship race of the season saw Morgan Haber fend off a hard charging Craig Baird to score a breakthrough win in the Erebus Motorsport Mercedes SLS GT3.
Van Gisbergen and Tander headed the early stages of the race although a strong drive throughout saw Haber emerge in the lead once the pit stops had been completed.
Haber’s surge to the front came following a Safety Car period when second placed Millier and Tony Quinn made contact which saw the former issued with a drive-through penalty.
The penalty released Baird, in the Scott Taylor Motorsport Porsche, to pursue Haber for the lead in a tension filled climax.
However, Haber refused to buckle as he went on take the win from Baird and the Lester/Smyth Trass Ferrari.
Klark Quinn and van Gisbergen secured the round victory in fourth ahead of D’Alberto and Denyer in the #88 Maranello Ferrari, with Lago in sixth.
The Haase/Steve McLaughlan Audi suffered a drive shaft failure, while the Ross Stone Racing Aston Martin failed to start Race 2 after suffering a power steering issue in the opening encounter.
Qualifying for Sunday’s Highlands 101 non championship feature race begins at 1010 with the race scheduled to begin at 1320 local time.
Result: Australian GT Championship Round 6 Race 1 Top 10
1. Klark Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen, McLaren
2. Jono Lester/Graeme Smyth, Ferrari
3. Max Twigg/Shae Davies, Mercedes-Benz
4. Christopher Mies/Ryan Millier, Audi
5. Tony Quinn/Garth Tander, McLaren
6. Tony D’Alberto/Grant Denyer, Ferrari
7. Tony Walls/Warren Luff, McLaren
8. Roger Lago, Lamborghini
9. Mark Griffith, Audi
10. Greg Taylor/Barton Mawer, Audi
Result: Australian GT Championship Round 6 Race 2 Top 10
1. Morgan Haber, Mercedes-Benz
2. Scott Taylor/Craig Baird, Porsche
3. Jono Lester/Graeme Smyth, Ferrari
4. Klark Quinn/Shane Van Gisbergen, McLaren
5. Tony D’Alberto/Grant Denyer, Ferrari
6. Roger Lago, Lamborghini
7. Jan Jinadasa/Steve Owen, Lamborghini
8. Tony Walls/Warren Luff, McLaren
9. Andrew MacPherson/Bradley Shiels, Porsche
10. Mark Griffith, Audi