Class win and an dramatic race exit for the two AMR runners in GT World Challenge Australia opener

Saturday, March 13, 2021


A class win and a race DNF were the sum totals for the two Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 runners at the opening race of the opening round of the new GT World Challenge Australia Series from Phillip Island earlier today.

Sporting a new turbo charged 2019 specification AMR Vantage GT3 for previous Australian GT Series owner Tony Quinn and an older 2016 specification V12 Vantage GT3 for series newcomer Mike Bailey, all was looking good as the teams progressed from Free Practice through to Qualifying yesterday with Quinn finishing P10 overall and P2 in his Am Class, just two cars and less than half a second ahead of Bailey in P12 overall and P6 in the #38’s Trophy Class.

With the race getting underway after overnight rain and with more expected rainfall throughout the day, Bailey would be relegated to the rear of the grid come the formation lap as a consequence of not being where he needed to be – when he needed to be there as the one hour race started counting down before the grid was released by the Safety Car for the first flying lap.

First race of the season and the usual push and shove was to be expected as the 19 strong grid – multi class field jostled for position and early places were quickly made up by both Aston runners. Lap three past by with Quinn right behind the #124 KFC liveried Audi and as Bailey had his nose chopped by the #5 Audi as each looked faster than the cars ahead.

Then disaster for the V12 Vantage of Bailey as (according to the driver from messages sent/received by us post-race) he had to take avoiding action to avoid the “erratic” movements of the car in front to only go off track and helplessly spin off into the tyre wall at turn 3 causing significant damage to the car but fortunately not to himself. Quinn was to also have an incident with the #124 Audi on the same lap leaving both stranded trackside before each where eventually able to recover themselves. The resulting Safety Car for the Bailey car at least allowed Quinn to catch back up with the pack.

Losing over a quarter of the race length to the Safety Car, Quinn was still in contention despite running P15 overall but more importantly still P3 in class. With the Pro Class cars losing time in pit lane for their compulsory stops and delays in actually getting into pit lane, Quinn would get as high as P7 overall before those Pro drivers found their way past the AMR Factory coloured Aston.

Good luck eventually came his way as with just 17 minutes remaining, the Am Class leading Lamborghini would suffer a rear puncture – effectively gifting the Class win to Quinn by the end.

Damage incurred to both the Bailey Aston Martin and other cars during race leave the grid size for tomorrow’s race in doubt. Bailey has confirmed that his car is otherwise ‘straight’ but has the issue of mending/replacing body panels from those destroyed in that contact with the tyre wall.

Photo credits - GT World Challenge Australia / Teams
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