Meanwhile, and on the other side of the world

Monday, March 18, 2019

Whilst the World Endurance Championship was reconvening for their double header with the IMSA Series over at the Sebring Raceway in Florida last weekend, two other series featured their first rounds of their 2019 season but on the other side of of the world.

The Australian GT Championship kicked off its new year with its usual four race support act with the opening round of the 2019 FIA Formula One Championship from the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne. Featuring just a single Aston Martin Racing car entry this year, that honour has been left to the passionate AMR/AML fan and former owner of the Australian national GT championship - Tony Quinn to race with in his V12 Vantage GT3 whilst he patiently awaits the delivery of his new turbo charged 2019 specification AMR Vantage GT3 later into the season.

With newer cars, evolutions and younger guns ahead of him, Quinn managed to collect a useful haul of points across the weekend to first Qualifying in P8 before finishing in P8 for race 1, a DNF after a spin out and from being tagged by a passing car in race 2 before a P20 in race 3 before a P9 in the final race on Sunday out of a total entry of twenty five cars.

That points haul has left Quinn in P8 in the Championship as it moves on to its next round in May.

Over the water but not quite in China came the opening two races of the first meeting of the 2019 China GT Championship, this time competing at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia as part of the Asia GT Festival for the first time.

As a change from last year, defending GT4 Champions have realigned their finances and business model to became BSEM Asia Sonic Racing - losing the China Equity connection. Unfortunately for these guys was that they were expecting the delivery of a brand new 2019 Vantage GT4 in time for the event (which started on Tuesday of last week) but 'logical' issues prevented that and they had to revert to their stock of 2016 specification normally aspirated cars from last year.

Moving into Jack Mitchell's 2018 Championship winning car for the event was the young German Yves Volte who raced with the team at the end of last year and was due to race with David Pun but his commitments at the Australian GP meant that he was joined by Stanley Yang. Their sister #619 car was filled with Chinese gentleman drivers Wu Twi and Zhang Fangxuan.

Racing the Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage GT4 (2016) car for the first time in the Championship was Kings Racing, moving into the GT4 as well as GT3 having won the overall GT3 titles in previous season and for the Sepang event, that car was raced by Malaysian based Australian Mitch Gilbert alongside another (unpronounceable local driver) in the gold coloured former China Equity #7 car of 2018.

Early promise from the trio of AMR's looked good as the #7 was fastest in Free Practice before the #618 and #7 qualified in P4 and P6 and then #P7 and #P8 respectively for the weekend's two races. However, that promise was soon to evaporate in the Malaysian heat as each of the cars successively retired from the on laps 10, 15 and the 17 out of the leaders 26 completed laps. The reason for the retirement of the #618 car was from a broken front wishbone whilst the #7 retired while in pit lane.

Race two was better though as the Volte/Yang car finished a more credible P5 and the #619 P12 - again the Kings Racing #7 car failed to finish.


The next round of the season comes from Zhejiang in early May where BSEM will at least have had time to acquaint themselves to one of their new cars.

Photo credits - Australian GT / China GT / social media

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