April 12, 2022 | General

GT entries return to the Australian Grand Prix

Eagle-eyed fans of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS, who also attended this year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix may have spotted a familiar sight in the form of a few Melbourne Performance Centre-prepared Audis.

Six of the German thoroughbreds were engaged into providing rides to lucky fans around the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit across more than three hours during the weekend.

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Regular competitors in Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS Tony Bates, Fraser Ross, as well as the KFC Audis were joined by one an Audi Valvoline livery and Launch Racing Australia’s R8 GT3 LMS Ultra.

“It really came about when the Australian Grand Prix Corporation made contact with us because they didn’t have the Minardi two-seater there, so that’s pretty much how it started,” explained Melbourne Performance Centre’s Troy Russell.

“They asked us to take a couple of cars and do rides, then a few of our customers said they’d do it as well so before we knew it there were six cars.

“It was really a once in a lifetime opportunity really.”

Guests enjoying a ride included AFL legends Jonathan Brown and Nathan Buckley, while Ross gave a young Make A Wish Foundation recipient a hot lap around the Grand Prix circuit.

Preparations ahead of the event were similar to a regular event as the Audis completed more than three hours running.

“We still ended up taking everything you need for a race meeting, so we ended up with two trucks worth of equipment you’d normally take to a GT World Challenge Australia event,” Russell explained.

Also noteworthy was the fan support for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia Powered by AWS and Russell hopes the series may return in future years.

“I think that was the most evident thing was the people in the crowd asking ‘why aren’t you racing? GT is one of our favourite categories’,” Russell reflected.

“It was really positive to hear and hopefully we can return there in future years.”