March 31, 2023 | General


Buoyed by the success in GT Trophy Class in his inaugural 2022 season, Launch Racing’s Michael Kokkinos returns to the series where he will contest the GT Championship AM Class of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS for season 2023.

Signing on for another season with Melbourne Performance Centre (MPC), Launch Racing will begin its campaign in a new Audi R8 LMS EVO II GT3 over the long Easter Weekend. It will be Kokkinos’ first appearance at the iconic Mount Panaroma circuit in Bathurst, in Round 1 of the series and he’s up for the challenge.

And to get ready for the season, Kokkinos is one of five MPC Audis conducting special guest rides around the Albert Park street course as part of the Rolex Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

“Honestly, nothing was concrete until 5 days ago. So many things had to align for me to be able to take this opportunity to jump up a class. Obviously, the dangling carrot was for me to defend the GT Trophy title in my Ultra but even better was the prospect to do the GT AM class.” Kokkinos explained.

In an off season where there were so many driver team and brand changes, Kokkinos had briefly considered a switch from Audi but it wasn’t enough to tempt him away from the four rings or the team at MPC.

“Having felt so supported and being able to reflect on my development since joining MPC, it just wouldn’t make sense to leave either Audi or the professional outfit offered by MPC. You know, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Kokkinos

“I’ve been doing a fair bit of track work and contested in the Victorian Sportscar Championship in the Ultra to keep my skills sharp during the off-season whilst I contemplated my next move.”

The decision to move up to the Audi R8 EVO II was quickly affirmed during testing at Winton last week. Kokkinos shaved 2 seconds of his previous PB set in the Ultra, posting consistent lap times in mid 1:21’s, amongst a congested track filled of Carrera Cup cars practicing ahead of their round 1 at the F1 Rolex Australian GP.

Kokkinos says, “I’ve only had the EVO II for like 5 minutes, and to be setting PB’s on my first track test, was quietly exciting. It’s very quick around the bends, and with a little encouragement from EP [Eric Pender] to trust the Audi’s aero, it rewarded me.”, asserted Kokkinos.

Coming on board again with Launch Racing in the new car and class is MC Labour, which provides workforce solutions to the building and civil construction industries across Australia. MC Labour will be launching their brand as major sponsor of Launch Racing for the 2023 GT Championship.

“I’m so excited to welcome MC Labour as a major sponsor to our team. Having partnered with MC Labour and their subsidiary companies over the past decade in the construction industry, I was humbled they would allow us to represent their national brand in the GT Championship.”

“To be given an opportunity to launch the new Audi with MC Labour on board on my first run at Mount Panaroma … one has to be pretty happy about that.”, says Kokkinos.

Race 1 of the season takes place over the weekend, 7-9 April, with the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour, Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS.