The Australian GT Championship has revealed that it will be absent from the Adelaide 500 support schedule in favour of Asia’s Audi R8 Cup next season.
The series is set to be replaced by the one-make Audi series, according to a statement issued by Australian GT.
Australian GT has hosted its opening round at the Adelaide 500 since 2015 and had planned to kick off their 2018 campaign at the event from March 1-4.
However, the championship, which presented a 26 car grid in Adelaide this year, has been informed by event organisers (South Australian Tourism Commission) that their application has been unsuccessful.
Category manager Ken Collier says the news has come as a shock to the category and is upset that Australian GT has effectively been replaced by an international GT series.
“This is incredibly disappointing for Australian GT and many of our teams who look forward to starting each year at the Adelaide event,” said Collier.
“Our application was made some time ago and we had a good discussion with the Adelaide 500 Motor Sport Manager, Jeff Mattner, during the Supercar round at Sandown.
“In fact, we agreed to change the format of our races to fit in with the Adelaide 500 requirements, which had already written this into the 2018 series regulations draft.
“We have always exceeded the KPIs set by the Adelaide event in terms of competitor entries and other commercial requirements, so they can’t have any beef with Australian GT.
“Some of our teams will be able to compete in the Adelaide event as Australian GT has been dismissed from the event in preference to the one-make Asian Audi R8 series.
“There will be a dozen or so cars come to Australia from Asia, and the field will be topped up with Australian and New Zealand entries.
“This is good for the local Audi teams but the balance of our teams who compete with other marques such as Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, Lamborghini, McLaren, Mercedes Benz, Nissan and Porsche will be excluded.
“I find it very disappointing that the Adelaide 500 event prefer another, offshore, one-make series to the diversity of the local Australian GT competition, which has history stretching back decades.
“The investment that we as Australian teams and category managers have made in the past to support the event and the businesses in Adelaide means absolutely nothing.”
Speedcafe.com understands that Adelaide 500 organisers will release its full support bill on Wednesday morning.