Tony Bates will return to racing on Australian soil this weekend, steering his AFS/Moveitnet/Local Roadways/C-Tech Laser/Bryant & Bryant Audi R8 in the final round of the Australian GT Championship at Sandown Raceway.
The Sandown circuit has been one of Bates’ strongest tracks; he has won races there in Commodore Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup and Australian GT, along with scoring top-10 finishes in the Super2 Series.
Bates said this weekend’s GT round will allow him to accumulate valuable seat time, ahead of the final two Audi R8 LMS Cup races at Sepang, Malaysia, 23-24 November.
“I haven’t raced since the last R8 LMS Cup round in August, where I really struggled with severe neck pain following my neck surgery only eight weeks prior; I want to make sure I’m on top of my game when I head to Sepang, Malaysia in a couple of weeks,” Bates said.
“The Malaysian track will be another new one for me to learn, so I need to be fully focused by the time I get there – doing this weekend’s races will ensure I’m in the zone.”
The final GT round will consist of three 40-minute races, each with a timed compulsory pit stop. The mandatory pit stop time for each car will be determined based on a combination of grid positions and driver classifications.
While he might not be in contention for the Australian GT title, Bates said he has no intentions of taking it easy this weekend.
“Sandown is a track where I’ve traditionally gone well, and there’s no reason I can’t be in the hunt for some outright race wins,” he said.
“The Melbourne Performance Centre crew always prepare a strong package and the timed compulsory pit stop format always mixes up the order, so hopefully it works to our advantage.”
This weekend’s GT round will be completed over two days, with practice, qualifying and Race 1 on Friday, and Races 2 and 3 on Saturday.
Australian GT Championship Round 7 Schedule
Friday, 8 November
8:35am – Practice (20 min)
11:50am – Qualifying 1 (10 min)
12:05pm – Qualifying 2 (10 min)
3:55pm – Race 1 (40 min)
Saturday, 9 November
9:45am – Race 2 (40 min)
3:20pm – Race 3 (40 min)