12 Nov MONOCHROME GT4 AUSTRALIA ENJOYS EPIC SEASON CONCLUSION ON THE MOUNTAIN
- Smollen wins title over Griffith and Begg
- Leahey takes four from four race wins at Bathurst to win round over Begg and Pappas
The inaugural season of Monochrome GT4 Australia has enjoyed an epic conclusion on the hallowed grounds of Mount Panorama this weekend, enjoying four x 30-minute races as part of the Bathurst International.
Following six rounds of racing, Shane Smollen has been celebrated as the first ever Monochrome GT4 Australia Champion, in his #56 Prestige Connex Porsche Cayman. He also claimed the Sprint Cup and Enduro Cup wins for the category.
Smollen claimed the title after having led the field all year across a super strong performance which included four round wins, taking the ultimate prize over runner-up Mark Griffith (#19 Daimler Trucks Brisbane Mercedes AMG GT).
Third place in the championship went to Karl Begg (#40 Monochrome GT4 Australia McLaren 570), with Begg jumping Steve Jukes (#26 Verve Racing BMW F82 M4) for the final championship podium position courtesy of a strong showing at Bathurst this weekend which included three runner-up placings and a third place.
“I am just really proud of the team effort,” Smollen said upon officially claiming the title.
“It has been a really clean and consistent year, and I am delighted to come away with four round wins, the title, and having built some great associations with some great co-drivers throughout the enduro rounds.
“Putting the car back in the truck basically without a scratch after such a hard-fought season is also a real positive.
“It is great to be a part of leading the charge for what is obviously a category that has a lot of potential in Australia. It is finishing up this year on a high – we saw that with the larger field here at Bathurst and definitely some of the latest model cars are now hitting our shores and we are saw some of that potential on track this weekend.
“It will only grow from here. It makes a lot of sense – a strong balance of performance, well-built factory cars and marques that people can identify with. I appreciate the foresight of Monochrome, so thank you to them, and definitely a big thanks to Karl, Elina, and Troy for running a great inaugural year.
“Thank you also to Aaron Reed for leading our team, and it has also been fantastic to reconnect with Grant Geelen of Autohaus Hamilton and his crack team, Michael, and also Hamish Pemberton our engineer, and also to everyone else that has contributed, as well as my beautiful family for allowing me the time to chase my passion.”
While Smollen might have taken out the title, the Bathurst bragging rights for this event went to category newcomer, Tim Leahey.
Leahey is a Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars stalwart and made the move to Monochrome GT4 Australia this weekend with a brand-new, first of its kind in Australia, BMW G82 M4 race car supported by his business, Central West Prestige BMW.
While Leahey struggled on the starts for all four races, he ultimately was unstoppable, charging through to win four from four across the weekend to claim the round win over Begg. It was almost a clean sweep for the racer from Orange as he also set the fastest time in qualifying on Friday but was penalised three grid spots for completing a practice start at the end of the session.
Third placed for the round was Chris Pappas in the #8 Gee Up McLaren 570S (4th, 3rd, 4th, 5th). An honourable mention should also go to Touring Car Masters competitor, Adam Garwood, who debuted in the category in the #2 Develon Construction Equipment Ginetta G56 in a last-minute call-up when Renee Gracie couldn’t make it, and raced through to a best result of 3rd in race four on debut.
“Obviously our weekend went really well,” Leahey smiled.
“We did a lot of digging and exploring with the car but unfortunately, we were unable to get the starts sorted; we need the launch control sorted but we couldn’t solve that, but apart from that, it was good.
“Every race was a bit of an adventure, as I would drop off the start and then have to come back through, but everyone was very well behaved and drove really well, it was unfortunate that we did have that one incident in race two which was disappointing for both parties, but other than that it was all really good.
“This is the first time I have owned a race car since my Formula Ford in 1998, so to get the car in the country and ready to go, getting my mate Ash Seward to prepare the car, and then to get a result, it just makes it all worth it.
“I am very happy with the result, and also very happy with all my guys from work that have come and volunteered their time here with us, it is always good to get them a result.”
Plans for Monochrome GT4 Australia in 2024 will be revealed soon. For further information Monochrome GT4 Australia and Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.ausprodcars.com.au.