Pirelli Gran Turismo Championship
After a season campaigning an ex-works GT3 Maserati Trofeo in the AMRS Australian Sports/GT Intermarque Championship which culminated in outright victory for the Trofeo Motorsport team, discussions were held over the New Year about the potential of a stand-alone GT series as part of the newly formed Australian Motor Racing Championships (AMC). From those discussions, a nine-round Pirelli supported Gran Turismo Championship (PGTC) was established to fill a missing niche in Australian Motorsport.
Obviously there is the Australian GT Championships, a full FIA specification category that caters for the well funded serious competitors in the sport, Trofeo Motorsports Rod Wilson explained. Then you have the various state categories - but there is nothing in between, which is the void the Pirelli Gran Turismo Championship is looking to fill.
Its for teams that donít want the expense of campaigning a full FIA-spec class, but still want the level of competition, the camaraderie, the media profile and value from their entry dollar - thatís what the Pirelli Gran Turismo Championship is looking to provide.
This wasnít a project we embarked on lightly. Trofeo Motorsport conducted its own research into what competitors, fans and sponsors were looking for, and we believe we have developed a program that will be of great benefit to all concerned.
As part of the AMC, the PGTC will be campaigned at the traditional venues - Calder Park, Winton, Wakefield Park, Adelaide International and Queensland Raceway in a nine-round championship that will encompass three one-hour endurance races. Endurance events have always played a big part of GT competition, not just internationally, but locally as well, Wilson said, so we thought we would include three rounds using an hour long format.
Six of the nine rounds will feature three 20-minute races, whilst the enduro rounds will include one 15-minute sprint race and the one-hour enduro format, but only for a single driver.
From early indications we look like having anything from Scott Lyddiard in Greg Cricks 2006 GT Championship winning Dodge Viper, Kevin Miller in his 430 Ferrari, as well as current-spec Porsche 997 Cup Cars, 996 Cup Cars, as many as three Maseratis from our own stable, and some other front-running GT cars, Wilson confirmed. At the end of the day, for the competitors and for Pirelli we want this to be a success, but it isnít reliant on field of 20 every round - if we get that, it would be a welcome bonus.
All rounds will be televised in a dedicated 30-minute program created by Speedweeks production company AVE and distributed to the FOX network and SBS. Television is obviously an important part of the overall package to make it a viable option for competitors and sponsors, so we needed to ensure that the creation of the series came with guaranteed air-time. At this stage we have done the deal with FOX and SBS and are working on an additional dedicated half hour program on another free-to-air network.
The media side of the series is of great importance to us, so we will have on hand a professional media representative to ensure that we maximise our opportunities to give competitors and the series the best possible opportunity to increase our exposure.
Event entry too is another area that the Trofeo Motorsport team have spent some time pondering. Often you pay for your entry, you pay for your tyres, you pay for your garage and your corporate dining.. you just keep paying. We wanted to ensure that apart from the odd sundries you would pay for on your own car, or for your team from event to event, that we have all bases covered, so entry fees include - entry, tyres, garage, catering for the weekend for four team-members or associates, practice fees (Friday) and 20 complimentary tickets. We fully believe that when you pay something out, you should get something in return.
Wilson should be ideally placed to promote the category given his involvement in the sport over many years, from AUSCAR to Touring Cars, V8 Utes (for which he was crowned 2001 champion) and GT competition Ė he has seen it all. Our plan is to provide a unique alternative to fill a niche in the sport thatís currently missing, and provide our competitors and sponsors with the best value racing and entertainment they can enjoy.
For now the team are full-steam ahead with planning for the opening round at Wakefield Park on March 1-2, with a media launch for the new category scheduled for Melbourneís Calder Park on Wednesday, February 20. Its a chance for us to launch the Pirelli Gran Turismo Championship to the media and competitors as part of the new AMC, while also allowing competitors a chance to shake down their mounts for the opening round at Wakefield Park. Wilson confirmed. All members of the media are invited, with the official launch taking place at 11:00am, before the drivers hit the circuit from 12:00 noon.
Any member of the media interested in attending should contact Melissa Roberts at Trofeo Motorsport on 03 9735 2588 or
by Monday, February 18.
2008 Pirelli Gran Turismo Championship Calendar
Rnd#1 March 1-2 Wakefield Park, Goulburn NSW
Rnd#2 April 26-27 Calder Park, Melbourne VIC
Rnd#3 May 17-18 Queensland Raceway, Ipswich QLD
Rnd#4 June 14-15 Winton Raceway, Benalla VIC
Rnd#5 July 25-26 Adelaide International, Adelaide SA
Rnd#6 August 30-31 Calder Park, Melbourne VIC
Rnd#7 September 27-28 Queensland Raceway, Ipswich QLD
Rnd#8 November 1-2 Winton Raceway, Benalla VIC
Rnd#9 November 29-30 Wakefield Park, Goulburn NSW
For further information about the Pirelli Gran Turismo Championship, please contact
Melissa Roberts on 03 9735 2588 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org