2017 Australian GT Championship.

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19 Aug 2017 18:32 #8516 by Richo
Richo replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Had a great weekend checking out GT at the Creek. Caught up with some people I don't normally see for a few months, met Domink Baumann who was a nice bloke but look surprised when I told him I was a fan. Great drive from him today in the race btw. Gutted for Scud and his crew with the car not making the race after all that effort time and money :(.

Motorsports a bitch sometimes.

Enjoyed the race. Glad to hear Scott Taylor is ok after a BIG impact at turn one. I saw that go head on into the wall on the inside and was concerned for Taylor as he didn't get out immediately.

Congrats to Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles on a well deserved win. Watching Martin try to close down the gap at the end was good to watch as was watching Van de Linder and Baumann storm through the field on a mission.

Fantastic weekend except for the weather, I feel like I've been windblasted down to the bone. Time for some beers

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19 Aug 2017 18:43 #8517 by maverick
maverick replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
A very enjoyable race and an exciting finish which wasn't caused by a late S/C.
Some of Van der Linde's passing was brilliant during his opening stint.
Scud ran a systems check late yesterday arvo and everything was fine. He left the AGT pits this morning and by time he drove to the grid, he'd done a cat. (That doesn't sound good :)

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19 Aug 2017 22:10 #8518 by SP2511
SP2511 replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Good to catch up with a few faces today, absolutely fantastic race as always. As its been said plenty of times, the wind this weekend has been ridiculous! (By the way its worse when you're standing in the pitlane shaded by the pit building).

Some awesome drives throughout the field....Not mentioning any names...Van der Linde!

Good to see Scotty out of the car after that heft shunt, really unfortunate that he's had two crashes in one year, hopefully he manages to sort things out

Really interesting weekend otherwise. Look forward to see what comes next and can't wait for the sprint championship finale at Sandown!

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19 Aug 2017 22:50 #8519 by James3592
James3592 replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Like everyone else I feel so windblown! Great day though. Just have to go through 2000 or so photos (a pleasing problem to have).

Van der Linde is a freak of nature under brakes. Trying to photograph #74 through turn 2 I just couldn't pan fast enough. Even all of the pros didn't break as late or carry as much speed into the corner as he did. Was great to watch. Baumann and McConville were great too.

Will post some pics up when I finish going through them. (Got some good ones of the Talbot/Emery incident at turn 1 and of the Imak Lamborghini spinning out in turn 3.)

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20 Aug 2017 13:23 #8531 by Fast Eddie
Fast Eddie replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Thanks for hanging out with me for a while, Maverick, and for also inviting me to the "501" Podium Presentation. Was also nice to meet MatCoch.
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20 Aug 2017 16:23 #8532 by maverick
maverick replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

Fast Eddie wrote: Thanks for hanging out with me for a while, Maverick, and for also inviting me to the "501" Podium Presentation. Was also nice to meet MatCoch.

Great to catch up again Ed and there were certainly no invitations required for that presentation.

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20 Aug 2017 19:43 - 20 Aug 2017 20:15 #8534 by maverick
maverick replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
The positives from the SMP round was the quality of the field and having the opportunity to see the likes of Van der Linde and Baumann in action and what class acts they are both on and off the track.
A great race to watch and an exciting finish was a great promo for the category.
The negatives include the fact that hardly anyone was there to witness any of the above. I'm a huge GT and AGT fan, but the 7.35am race start was an appalling way to treat AGT and its competitors. The competitors want to be on the VASC card for exposure which is obviously not going to happen with a race run to that time schedule.
I know of 1 competitor who withdrew for that very reason and after speaking to at least 8-10 drivers, they were unanimous in their disgust at the race start time.
This isn't a a negative rant, but with members on here who came from Brisbane, Newcastle, Dubbo, Canberra etc to watch the AGT, your obviously passionate fans who want to see the category succeed.
Your thoughts ?

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Last Edit: 20 Aug 2017 20:15 by maverick.
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20 Aug 2017 21:09 #8535 by Nardulas
Nardulas replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
My thoughts? Waking up at 4am to drive down the blue mountains, to watch a race with 17 entries, was pretty ambitious. The race was excellent, the opening stint from the #74 Audi was a bloody special drive, and aside from the STM Merc having a minor disagreement with the concrete, it was a clean race.

But for every positive, there were negatives lurking in the back of my mind. The start time was ridiculous, the grid size was pretty ordinary and not that anyone could control it, the wind was pretty irritating.

I'd absolutely do it again, but I wouldn't be as excited about it as I usually am for various events I attend
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20 Aug 2017 22:12 #8536 by RedZedMikey
RedZedMikey replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

maverick wrote: Your thoughts ?

I'm a big-time fan of GT style racing, since 20-30 years before the ProCar and B24 days. When it comes to Bathurst, it's February for me. When it comes to overseas travel, I look for a GT event to couple with; have done one of the Highlands 101s, and a Blancpain GT3 Sprint race near Moscow. Budget at the moment is tight, so I wasn't at SMP, but I try to do as many AGT events as the wallet permits. SMP might have been cold, but PI can be as well, Siberia isn't called that for nothing. At least PI got a decent timeslot, basically because it was the main event and not a support act. Perhaps it would be better for the enduros to be Shannons, or stand alone events, but then we are back at the conundrum - what do the racers want?

I think one of the key issues is that AGT itself is more geared to serve the competitor than serve the fans, and this has certainly been alluded to by series management and racers alike. After what seemed like a boom 2016, this year's series started off with a faux pas due to the revised event calendar after pressure from some of the entrants. Then more politicking this year with the VASC sale saga, and the rumours of AGT being a necessary component, followed by the CAMS control saga (which could well rear its ugly head again at year end), and now more VASC-AGT talks. The racers themselves seem to be divided; if some of then wanted and pushed for inclusion on the VASC program, it would appear that there are others that didn't. We have seen key entrants disappear, and promises never eventuate. Erebus are parked, what happened to Heretic, why haven't the factory Nissans or the Tekno McLaren been seen on track since B12, why did Vicious Rumour stop, and so on.

I don't think there has been enough public explanation by AGT for some of the above - and whilst the series seems to be geared towards the competitor and not the fan, I guess that is to be expected. However, I think as a whole, 2017 has been a bit of a downer for AGT, and I don't know if I should be concerned for 2018 and beyond ... or not, because we, the fans, are being told nothing.

As long as there is an AGT, a B12, and the new Asia Pacific 36, then sports and GT racing will get my support, no matter who owns it, who promotes it, and what class/classes they use. I would like a bit more openness about the goings on, some unity from management and all racers, and above all, for both racers and management to realise that they do have fans that follow them and their racing.

Bring on 2018, bring on the GT4 class, bring on bigger fields, and bring on more confidence so that we can give two fingers to the series critics. Oh, and bring on all the 2018 B12 news and rumours, I want to start seeing good news again! End rant!!!
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21 Aug 2017 08:47 #8537 by Mosport Fan
Mosport Fan replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Finally back online after the weekend at SMP. Was great to meet up with Maverick and and Richo on the Friday after so many months- apologies I didn't get a chance to run into anyone else and again on the Saturday- I won't deny it was nice being out of the wind on Saturday and Sunday up on the pit straight.

I thought the quality of the racing was good, despite the time slot they are given (ridiculous), size of the grid (quality more than quantity, but a pity we didn't have, say, 5 more cars) and the windy conditions.

This chatter between AGT/VASC is going to be interesting. I mean, part of me thinks it's a necessary evil for the two of them to link up together to make it more attractive to the fans- but on the other side of that, outside of the 12 Hour, AGT is always going to be treated as the side show (which I largely don't agree with). Next to F1, I find the way Supercars and the way it runs its events is the main reason why attendances are viewed as declining/crippled- for me, it's very expensive for what you get. And the reality is, if it didn't have government funding in its current guise, I don't think it could operate. They're just trying to be modelled after F1 a bit too much if I'm honest (all these extra costs for grandstand and pitroof access). Now, I won't deny the fact I was hiding in a Corporate area on Saturday and Sunday on my own dime (well, the missues' dime)- but it is hard to justify value for money with it all. This is the part that worries me if AGT sides/aligns with VASC that it takes GT racing away from the fans even more. I remember going to the WEC Spa 1000k/6 hr back in 2015 before I moved out here, and have to admit, they have that model right. They aren't trying to chase F1 revenues or experiences, but rather make it accessible to the fans. That's why when the ALMS was still around and not completing with Grand Am all the time, it was truly a fan experience that was affordable for all and you did see the tens of thousands of people attending- at Mosport for example, it was the highest attended event next to Petit Le Mans and Sebring. Spa when I went was 50,000 people. I still think even with Porsche and Audi pulling out, they will still attract decent crowds at most of their events. Back to Australia though. I think they have a decent GT product here, which I think will be bolstered even more by adding in GT4 (more manufacturer interest possibly as well)- but I think it's big enough (or can be big enough) to operate on its own- but that also depends on how it's run, and if it constantly has to play second fiddle to Supercars. Supercars are not going to disappear though- that would be like NASCAR disappearing from the USA- it's just going to be how both these series can co-exist without trying to compete with one and other.

I don't think I'll have a chance to get another GT race in this year, but hoping when my folks are over from Canada that one of the NZ events aligns to when they are there. 2018 will sure be interesting......
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21 Aug 2017 11:08 #8540 by MatCoch
MatCoch replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Back in the office with just a little time to pause and think today. It was a busy weekend and, I think, quite a good race. Kelvin's stint early on is quite possibly the best GT stint I've ever seen.

I won't go into a lot of detail because I don't think it would be right, but I wanted to try and provide some answers to a few of the comments posted above. Yes, I do read them, and no, I don't take them personally! We'll take criticism when it's fair, and a few of the points raised are absolutely fair and reasonable to expect answers to.

Australian GT walks a fine line. As a business our focus is on our customers, which are obviously the competitors, however we need to present an attractive product for them to invest in. That means we need to balance the desires of our customers against those aimed at making the product more attractive. That is incredibly difficult, and there's no way you're ever going to be able to satisfy both side of that equation 100%. I do however feel we get it right more often than not, and Australian GT is one of the most competitive GT categories globally as a result. The esteem in which we're held globally is evidenced by the fact Ken Collier is part of the FIA GT Commission alongside people like Stephane Ratel, Derek Warwick and others.

We share your opinions that we'd have loved to have seen more cars on the grid in Sydney, however it is again up to each individual competitor to decide whether they will compete or not. We cannot force them. Grid numbers across the board have been down this year; Carrera Cup has struggled, even Aussie Race Cars are down from their standard 35-car fields. However, the Trophy Series is up, which is an interesting anomaly which, and this is my personal opinion, suggests things are just a little bit tight financially. The Trophy Series is a more affordable, less high profile option, and doesn't require the same level of investment in personnel.

With regards to the time slot, it's a difficult one to answer because there are a number of elements involved in 7:35 being chosen as the race start time. Firstly, Australian GT had the longest single block of track time all weekend. With practice, qualifying and the race, we were on track for more than 4.5hrs in two days. That's a phenomenal amount of track time at a Supercar event. The next point to mention is that there are commercial rights between Supercars and the broadcast rights holders which have a number of stipulations and penalties associated. As a result that is the first thing laid down in any calendar, with everything else worked out around it. If memory serves, Supercars followed Australian GT on track on Saturday, which tells me that there was simply no other window for us to run in. So, while we had an early start, we also had live television broadcast Australia wide, and will have a highlights package on free to air in the coming weeks. If we contrast that against running the event with another promoter, we would not have had the live television. So, while we might have had a 'better' timeslot, would we have received the same coverage? Then there are other considerations like track availability, logistics, corporate hospitality opportunities, etc. There are a lot of moving parts and every one of them needs to be balanced. As I said before, getting that 100% right is simply impossible, so we compromise where we can to deliver what we believe is the best product possible with the options available.

What I will say though is that we're getting this sort of feedback and criticism, which is all valid and reasonable I add once again, is a positive thing. The reason I say that is it means people care about what we're doing - you're personally invested in Australian GT and we are well aware of that. There will always be times when we have to make compromises but in 99% of instances there is a very simple, reasonable and logical explanation for it.

All this talk of cloak and daggers is greatly exaggerated. I'd like to think that Australian GT is the most open category in Australian motor sport. We do listen to what you have to say, take the feedback onboard and act on it where we can. There's been multiple times feedback through Shakedown has been fed back and instigated changes. Our website is a primary example.

So please do keep posting your thoughts and opinions. We value them and absorb them. Some we can and will act on, others there are reasons why we can't. I'll continue to share as much as I can, though as I'm sure you're aware in some areas there are commercial sensetivities that limit what I might be able to say or discuss.

Anyway, roll on Phillip Island!

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21 Aug 2017 13:27 #8543 by Shane001
Shane001 replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Mat, as you've mentioned above, the primary focus for AGT is competitor entries. Fans are secondary.
For VASC, the primary focus is their TV deals, on track fans again are secondary.
For general ground roots motorsport, competitor entries is the only focus, track side fans are barely even a consideration (barring a few events such as MCM and WTA).
Not saying this directly as criticism of AGT or anyone else, just pointing out the commercial reality.

Contrast this with Speedway which I understand is booming at most tracks nationwide. Speedway is all about the fans. Speedway is all about putting on a good show for the fans. This is where they make their money. Hell they even pay tow money to get drivers to attend!

I don't know that circuit racing will ever return to the glory days of the 90's/00's (without throwing in a Sat night concert as VASC does at the street rounds). The spectacle for the average punter just isn't there anymore. Too sanitised and too many long breaks between sessions.

Re the AGT race starting so early, I think maybe it would have been better for this round to have been shorter sprint races, so they could be slotted in throughout the weekend rather than one very long race starting so early. This sort of race would suit better where you have more control of the format of the event. Any VASC round is going to be first, second and third priority for VASC timeslots and everyone else gets what's left over. So you would have still had great free to air coverage and exposure, and better for fans trackside.
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21 Aug 2017 15:21 - 21 Aug 2017 16:18 #8545 by maverick
maverick replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Just had some communication with Scotty Taylor and he may need surgery for a crushed and broken L4, but isn't feeling too bad all things considered.
They've already started on a re-shell, but it won't be a quick process.
Some car owners/teams elect to take their time with car repairs due to costs etc, but you know that Scotty will want that car back asap, so NZ maybe.
Late edit straight from Scotty and their aim is just to make sure its ready for the 12 hour.
Had to have a little giggle at a PIA on another forum who suggested there was a chance that it would be ready for Sandown ;)

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Last Edit: 21 Aug 2017 16:18 by maverick.
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21 Aug 2017 15:31 #8546 by MatCoch
MatCoch replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

Shane001 wrote: I think maybe it would have been better for this round to have been shorter sprint races, so they could be slotted in throughout the weekend rather than one very long race starting so early.


There are no sprint races in the Australian Endurance Championship.

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21 Aug 2017 15:35 - 21 Aug 2017 16:59 #8547 by maverick
maverick replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
Just looking at the track schedule for the next GT round at Sandown which is also a VASC round and if the track schedule stays as it is the 3 GT races on the Saturday are evenly spread throughout the day, although the first race is first on track at 8.30 and race 3 is the final race of the day after the V8 race.

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21 Aug 2017 16:14 #8548 by P1 Racing
P1 Racing replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

maverick wrote: The competitors want to be on the VASC card for exposure which is obviously not going to happen with a race run to that time schedule.
I know of 1 competitor who withdrew for that very reason and after speaking to at least 8-10 drivers, they were unanimous in their disgust at the race start time.
Your thoughts ?


I am interested to understand why the competitors value exposure so much? How many hold commercial sponsorships that rely on ROI to keep them on track?

My thinking was that the gentlemen driver contingent valued track time & race formats that allowed them to get 'bang for your buck'.

Australian GT were originally running the SMP 501 at the Shannons Round and most likey between 2pm - 5pm on a Sunday afternoon - but opted for a 7.30am Saturday morning slot with VASC. And now are upset with the outcome?

I don't get it.
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21 Aug 2017 16:53 #8550 by James3592
James3592 replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.
I don't really have anything else to add to what as already been said.

Don't get me wrong I still enjoyed Saturday morning but there just wasn't enough cars for a 500km race. I think 2017 was always going to be a tough year for Aus GT. The off-track politics (calender change and the CAMS GT ban rule) have sadly distracted us from the racing which has been pretty damn good this year.

Hopefully 2018 brings a bit more stability and bigger grids with GT4 added in to the action.

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21 Aug 2017 18:15 #8553 by Shane001
Shane001 replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

MatCoch wrote:

Shane001 wrote: I think maybe it would have been better for this round to have been shorter sprint races, so they could be slotted in throughout the weekend rather than one very long race starting so early.


There are no sprint races in the Australian Endurance Championship.


Sorry Mat my point was maybe it would have been better to have the Endurance Championship round at a non VASC SMP event such as a Shannons Nationals, and have a standard AGT round at the VASC event with multiple races over the weekend.

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21 Aug 2017 18:55 #8555 by SP2511
SP2511 replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

maverick wrote: Just looking at the track schedule for the next GT round at Sandown which is also a VASC round and if the track schedule stays as it is the 3 GT races on the Saturday are evenly spread throughout the day, although the first race is first on track at 8.30 and race 3 is the final race of the day after the V8 race.


Yeah, just had a look at it myself - They've jammed everything into Friday and Saturday and have absolutely nothing on Sunday except the Supercars race????
Its probably still a provisional schedule, but the V8SC race starts at 13:15, why have nothing before that and cram everything into Saturday?
I don't understand.

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22 Aug 2017 04:41 - 22 Aug 2017 07:43 #8563 by maverick
maverick replied the topic: 2017 Australian GT Championship.

Shakedown, the forum where 1 or 2 people won't be allowed to ruin the enjoyment of others.
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