Sam Brabham & Ross Poulakis seeking more Bathurst GT World Challenge success
Sam Brabham is looking to follow in the illustrious wheel tracks of his family success at Mount Panorama this weekend when he takes to the first round of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS for Harrolds Volante Rosso in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Ross Poulakis – who is looking to build upon his own enviable Bathurst record.
It is Sam’s second visit to Bathurst after finishing second in the GT4 category in last November’s Bathurst International GT endurance race. Poulakis finished third outright in the November Bathurst race and second in class at the Bathurst 12 Hour in the car he’ll race in this year’s Championship.
All three generations of Brabham that have competed at the famed 6.213km circuit have taken victory in some way.
The dynasty began with Sir Jack winning the 1960 Bathurst 100 mile race in a Cooper Climax; Sam’s father David and uncle Geoff winning the 1997 2-Litre Bathurst 1000 and cousin, Matt, won his class in the 2018 Bathurst 12 Hour.
The duo will be competing in the hotly contested Pro-AM category in the two 60-minute Easter classics in support of the Bathurst 6 Hour. It will be the opening round of the 2023 Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS Championship.
An additional Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 will join at the second round of the Championship in Perth later this month with Chelsea Angelo and Chris Batzios at the wheel.
It is both Brabham and Poulakis’ first season co-driving together in a full GT3 campaign with the duo having paired up in GT4 previously.
Both races will be live on the Stan Sport platform in Australia; Saturday’s race on 9GEM and internationally via speedcafe.com. Replays will be available on demand on Stan Sport, highlights on the Nine Network post event and via 9now.
“There’s a great feel around the Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport team heading into the season and especially back to Bathurst,” said Brabham.
“I raced there last year in GT4 so this will be my first time there in GT3, so there is a lot to learn from practice one. We’ll aim to build progress across the course of the weekend. The team environment that has been built is very good and it is a joy to be there.
“To add Chelsea and Chris at the next round will be a further great part of the team and what we can achieve.
“Obviously, my father and grandfather have had great success at Bathurst and Matt in his category at the 12 hour – along with Ross over recent times, so we’re hoping for a good weekend and some solid results.”
“It’s exciting to be returning to Bathurst, especially after the last two times I’ve been there standing on the podium,” said Ross Poulakis.
“It is the place you want to have success at and the Brabham family’s history there speaks for itself.
“To be teaming up with Sam Brabham in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 this year is a huge step forward for our team, along with adding the second car from Perth onwards. I’ve worked hard with both Sam and Josh Hunt on the driving side, then we have David Brabham in our corner as well this weekend.
“We’re excited by what we’ve been able to build with Harrolds Volante Rosso Motorsport and the team that Josh and Chris (Papadopoulos) have developed.
“To have Chelsea join the team as a driver from Perth onwards, our team manager Charisse Smith and mechanic, Caity Wilks as females in motorsport gives us some further exciting talking points.
“Harrolds luxury department stores has a clientele approximately 50 per cent female, so for us to communicate those messages through the excitement of the GT World Challenge Australia is something we’re really looking forward to and further leverage through the great Girls on Track program using our stores as focal points.”
Friday, April 7
8:05am-9:05am – Practice 1 – 60 mins
1:40pm-2:40pm – Practice 2 – 60 mins
Saturday, April 8
10:25am-10:45am – Qualifying 1 – 20 mins
10:55am-11:15am – Qualifying 2 – 20 mins
2:55pm-3:55pm – Race 1 – 60 mins
Sunday, April 9
9:20am-10:20am – Race 2 – 60 mins
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).