Nick Kelly and Barton Mawer have combined forces in an Audi R8 LMS GT3 to win the NSW Production Sports/Super GT one-hour endurance race at Sydney Motorsport Park on the weekend.
In the lead-up to Sunday’s endurance race, teams accumulated valuable track time with a pair of sprint races on Saturday. The first of the sprint races was taken out by Scott Fleming in the Roaring Forties Ford GT40 replica – Fleming was engaged in a tight battle with Vince Muriti (Mercedes AMG GT3) for much of the race and eventually powered past Muriti in the closing laps, with Kelly bringing his R8 home in third.
Ben Porter, driving Andrew Macpherson’s Lamborghini Hurracan, came out on top in the second of the sprint races, overtaking Muriti early before easing to victory ahead of Barton Mawer, who displaced Muriti for second.
The battle for Porsche honours was a cracker; Indiran Padayachee led initially, but he and rival Paul Bassett came off the circuit at Turn 2. That enabled Geoff Morgan to take the class lead from Marcel Zalloua, who spun out of contention while trying to pass Morgan at Turn 8. Morgan ultimately took the class win ahead of Sergio Pires.
In the enduro, Kelly started the race and held second position behind Muriti in the opening stint, before a Safety Car was deployed just before the pit stop window opened to deal with a nasty crash involving the Porsches of Caspar Tresidder and Geoff Morgan on the main straight.
Fortunately, neither driver was seriously injured (although Morgan was transported to hospital for precautionary checks) but both cars sustained substantial damage.
The bulk of the field pitted for their compulsory stops during the Safety Car, with Muriti emerging in the lead and Mawer taking over the Audi R8 from Kelly.
When the race restarted, Mawer overtook Muriti but was passed for first place by Fleming, who had a speed advantage on cold tyres. While Fleming was able to hold out Mawer for a few laps, the speed of the Audi on warm tyres was ultimately too strong and Mawer powered to a decisive victory.
Kelly/Mawer were victorious in the outright GT class while Fleming took Class A honours. The Class B win ultimately went to the Adrian Wilson/Andre Nader BMW M4, which gained a strategic advantage over their closest rival, the Stephen Wan Lotus, during the compulsory pit stop phase of the race.