Harrolds Volante Rosso back in the GT hunt with two car approach at Phillip Island
For the first time in 2023, Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport will field two cars at round three of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, powered by AWS.
Chris Batzios joins for his opening race of the year where he will re-connect with Sam Brabham – who he raced with in GT4 last year.
The duo will be debuting a striking new pearl blue and white Mercedes-AMG GT3 that Batzios has shaken down and tested at both Mallala and Wanneroo Raceway.
Brabham – son of former Formula 1 racer and Le Mans 24 Hour champion, David – returns for his second round of the year after starting the season with Ross Poulakis at Bathurst over Easter.
In the other car, it will be the second consecutive round that Poulakis and Jayden Ojeda will share.
After connecting for their first sharing of the #101 Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 at Wanneroo last month – which doubled as their first experience at the outer Perth venue – the duo will be in more familiar surrounds, having both competed at the Island on several occasions previously.
Overall, the team is looking forward to building on its position in the Fanatec Championship, which currently sees Poulakis sixth, Ojeda 12th and Brabham 13th, bearing in mind that Ojeda and Brabham have only completed one round so far.
Practice begins Friday before qualifying Saturday morning. Saturday and Sunday’s one hour races will be carried live on Stan Sport (www.stansport.com.au/motorsport); and internationally via www.speedseries.com.au or www.speedcafe.com.
“I am delighted to be heading back to Phillip Island with the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport team with my teammate from last season, Chris Batzios. Getting back into the GT3 car after Bathurst will be amazing. I loved the experience there and I’m looking forward to building on the work we did that race.
“Phillip Island is a circuit that I know very well being based in Melbourne. It feels like a home race and I think circuit knowledge will be in my favour this weekend where I am still learning the tricks of the GT3 car.
“Chris and I had great success last season in the GT4 class. This feels like a continuation from the work that we did last year and to be back in the car again is fantastic.
“This feels like the start of the journey for both Chris and I and there’s no pressure heading into this weekend. We can just focus on what we need to do and if a result comes then that’s great.”
“I’m obviously very excited to be racing at Phillip Island – our home track – for the first-time in GT3 after competing in the GT4 category last year. I have been slowly adjusting to the brand new Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 car and happy with the progress over two tests at Mallala and then Perth. It’s definitely a significant step up from GT4, and coming to terms with the added aero and grip at my disposal is definitely an adjustment.
“It’s cool having two Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport cars on the grid… it’s a culmination of a long journey for Ross (Poulakis) and I from a Harrolds perspective in getting two GT3s here. The liveries look great, cars are great and we have a great team behind us at Volante Rosso lead by Josh Hunt and Chris Papadopoulos and of course supported by our commercial partners who help make this possible.
“For me, we are definitely approaching this first race for me in GT3 as another step forward in my development and growth as a driver. That’s the goal, keep getting better and more confident and the results will follow. I’m also very excited to be sharing the car with Sam Brabham again. With the guidance from the team and the other car, I believe I am in the perfect environment to kick off this exciting new chapter.”
“I’m really looking forward to getting into racing at Phillip Island again and especially with the second car coming online for this round with Chris and Sam.
“Perth was a huge learning experience given I hadn’t been to the track before and we had a new driver in Jayden joining us. Our chemistry worked from day one basically and he showed how he was able to adapt to GT3 racing.
“The track situation this time around is better for us as we both have raced on the Island a few times before.
“We want to continue the growth of that chemistry and hopefully will be in a position to push forward for a strong team result on both sides of the garage.
“Now I know what to expect from racing in a GT3 car, rolling into Phillip Island gives me more confidence given both mine and Ross’ experience at the circuit.
“We are keen to build on what we did in Perth. There were a lot of unknowns from both Ross and my perspectives as drivers not knowing the track and from my point of view being my first GT3 race!
“I felt my development personally over the weekend in Perth was solid and the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport team was unbelievable in its coaching of me and how I could improve.
“We definitely walk in with some momentum and I hope that we can build on that.”
Founded in 1985, Harrolds, Australia’s luxury department store, is committed to curating an in-store (and online) experience that is like no other in Australian luxury fashion. It has three experience stores – Collins Street Melbourne and men’s and women’s stores in Westfield Sydney – as well as a strong online offering featuring the world’s premiere luxury brands.
For many years, Harrolds aligned itself with the horse racing industry through race sponsorship with Melbourne Turf Club, Australian Turf Club and the Magic Millions enterprise. The business continues to see the success of these partnerships, many years after its involvement.
About Volante Rosso:
Volante Rosso Motorsport was established by former Formula 1 engineer – Chris Papadopoulos and international racer, Josh Hunt. Papadopoulos was part of the engineering crew at the World Championship winning Renault Formula 1 team and worked with Kimi Raikkonen when he took victory in Melbourne with Lotus. Hunt has a storied international career in karting, GT and open wheel racing, being the only Australian driver to have raced karts on every continent (barring Antarctica).
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