Wednesday, 27 August 2014 00:00

Sensational debut podium for M-Motorsport in Sydney





The M-Motorsport Interlloy Lamborghini Gallardo of Justin McMillan and Steve Richards has been one of the standouts in the 2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli, claiming two impressive pole position trophies in the four rounds contested to date, but the hard-working Melbourne-based team knew that their maiden series podium was only a matter of time, and in Sydney they achieved that milestone.

“We’re a relatively young team racing against a string of professional teams that have been involved in GT racing for years,” team-boss Justin McMillan explained.

“We know we have the equipment, and in Steve Richards we have a driver capable of winning, but these things take time, especially with a new team. So far this year we’d been on the pole twice, and run strongly at the front of the field, but little niggling issues have caught us out.

“We were in contention for a podium at the season opener in Sandown, but an incident whilst I was fighting over second eliminated us, but at the same time, it gave us the momentum we carried into Sydney and a result that I’m particularly proud of.”

A ride day for Interlloy and their clients just two weeks out from the event at Sydney Motorsport Park gave McMillan some serious miles around the 18-turn, 4.5-kilometre venue, although most of those laps were contested in the team’s Freem Gallardo Super Trofeo, but despite the difference in performance between the two cars, both McMillan and Richards were quick through practice in Sydney.

McMillan posted one of his best ever laps of the Eastern Creek venue in the opening practice on a slippery surface and old rubber, before Richards put the gorgeous black and orange Lamborghini on top in session two.

In qualifying both drivers improved their pace, but were unable to get a clear lap, although with an increased pit-stop penalty for every row further towards the front of the field, they also decided that strategy would allow them to stop as much as ten seconds shorter than the teams in front of them, elevating them up the order during the compulsory stop.

McMillan started the car in race one, and was running strongly with the lead pack ahead of a Safety Car period which fell just as the compulsory pit stop [CPS] window opened. Unfortunately for the M-Motorsport team, by virtue of Steve Richards status as a ‘professional’ driver, McMillan was unable to stop until he had completed 45% of race distance, all but negating any advantage that many of their rivals achieved during their stops.

Despite this Richards charged from 14th to 11th within half a lap of the Safety Car pulling off the circuit, but it soon returned after early race leader Richard Muscat rolled to a stop at turn 18.

After three laps the Safety Car returned to pit lane and the race re-started with around 15 minutes remaining, Richards charging through the field to battle the Trophy Class Audis of James Winslow and Nathan Antunes who ultimately elected to let the reigning Bathurst 1000 champion through in the closing stages.

Punching out some of the fastest laps of the race, Richards caught the tail of Klark Quinn on the final lap to cross the line just six tenths of a second from P2, and less than six seconds from the race lead, negating an 18-second deficit across the closing laps.

“The car felt great, and Justin did a brilliant job, but we lost out on the pit stop,” Richards explained. “If the Safety Car had come seven or eight minutes later, we’d have been right in the mix and every chance of taking the win, but that’s the way it goes, sometimes the rules work with you, sometimes they don’t, but it’s a great results regardless and testament to Justin’s hard work and that of the whole M-Motorsport crew.”

Richards was back behind the wheel to start the second one-hour race, and he had the crowd on their feet, charging to the front to lead into the CPS, handing McMillan the car for the final leg, the two-time Victorian State Series Champion working his way back to fifth ahead of the flag having allowed the flying John Bowe through on the final lap.

“I could see Bowey coming, and I wasn’t going to risk our podium result, so I let him through,” McMillan explained post-race. “This was what we’d been working for all year, and it falls perfectly into place with our long term plans for the team. 2014 was about consolidation and getting onto the podium regularly. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m doing my best to juggle my work commitments with time behind the wheel because our goal is obviously the championship, and I think we’re heading in the right direction to be title contenders perhaps as early as 2015.”

“I’m very happy with that,” Richards added. “Justin’s drive was the best I've seen from him, but for me, what is really exciting is his improvement over the last 12 months. 18 months ago he was racing at State level, so this podium is a great testament to him."

For the M-Motorsport team the focus returns once more to Sandown in Melbourne (12-14 September), the scene of their maiden pole-position for the 2014 season, and a circuit both Richards and McMillan know intimately for the penultimate round of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli.

The Sydney round of the Australian GT Championship will be telecast on Channel 7/7mate in the coming two weeks (check local guides for details - expected to be Sunday afternoon).

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Keep up to date with further announcements from the M Motorsport/Interlloy race team by visiting; www.facebook.com/MMotorsportGT3



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Rnd#4 - 2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli

Sydney Motorsport Park - Qualifying (22 August)

1. Richard Muscat (GT - Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3) - 1:26.8645R
2. Steve McLaughlan/Warren Luff (GT - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra) - 1:28.0640

3. Rod Salmon/Nathan Antunes (GTT - Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 1:28.2422

4. Klark Quinn (GT - McLaren MP4-12C) - 1:28.4002
5. Justin McMillan/Steve Richards (GT - Interlloy Gallardo FL2 GT3) - 1:28.7142
6. John Bowe/Peter Edwards (GT - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) - 1:28.8073
7. Tony Quinn (GT - Aston Martin Vantage GT3) - 1:29.1443
8. James Koundouris/Steve Owen (GT - Porsche GT3-R) - 1:29.4537
9. Adrian Deitz/Josh Hunt (GT - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) - 1:29.7824
10. Jan Jinadasa/Daniel Gaunt (GTT - Lamborghini Gallardo LP520) - 1:30.0889


Race#1 - 60-minutes (23 August)

1. Tony Quinn (GT - Aston Martin Vantage GT3) - 31-laps
2. Klark Quinn (GT - McLaren MP4-12C)
3. Justin McMillan/Steve Richards (GT - Interlloy Gallardo FL2 GT3)
4. Rod Salmon/Nathan Antunes (GTT - Audi R8 LMS GT3)

5. Dean Koutsoumidis/James Winslow (GTT - Audi R8 LMS GT3)
6. Theo Koundouris (GTT - Porsche 997 Cup-S)
7. Jan Jinadasa/Daniel Gaunt (GTT - Lamborghini Gallardo LP520)

8. Steve McLaughlan/Warren Luff (GT - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

9. Adrian Deitz/Josh Hunt (GT - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
10. John Bowe/Peter Edwards (GT - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) - 30-laps


Race#2 - 60-minutes (24 August)

1. Richard Muscat (GT - Mercedes Benz SLS AMG GT3) - 38-laps
2. Tony Quinn (GT - Aston Martin Vantage GT3)
3. Klark Quinn (GT - McLaren MP4-12C)
4. John Bowe/Peter Edwards (GT - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
5. Justin McMillan/Steve Richards (GT - Interlloy Gallardo FL2 GT3)
6. Dean Koutsoumidis/James Winslow (GTT - Audi R8 LMS GT3) - 37-laps
7. Steve McLaughlan/Warren Luff (GT - Audi R8 LMS GT3 ultra)

8. Rod Salmon/Nathan Antunes (GTT - Audi R8 LMS GT3)

9. Andrew MacPherson (GT - Porsche 997 GT3-R)
10. Adrian Deitz/Josh Hunt (GT - Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)


2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli

GT Championship Class points (after round four of six)
1. Richard Muscat (345 points), 2. Tony Quinn (308), 3. John Bowe (297), 4. Klark Quinn (285), 5. Justin McMillan/Steven Richards (213), 6. Peter Edwards (182),  7. Tony D’Alberto (147), 8. James Koundouris (138), 9. Andrew MacPherson (105), 10. Steve Owen (84), 11. Ross Lilley (64), 12. Garth Tander (58), 12. Steve McLaughlan/Warren Luff (58), 13. Jack Le Brocq (52), 14. Josh Hunt/Adrian Deitz (43), 15. Tony DeFelice (32), 16. Craig Baird (30), 17. Ben Porter (24), 18. Jim Manolios (23), 19. Ryan Millier (19), 20. Roger Lago/David Russell (1)

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2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli

Rnd#1 - 28-30 March, Sandown, Melbourne, Victoria (2x 60-minute races - The Nationals)

Rnd#2 - 23-25 May, Phillip Island, Victoria (101-lap race - The Nationals)

Rnd#3 - 4-6 July, Townsville, Queensland (3x 40-minute races - V8 Supercars)

Rnd#4 - 22-24 August, Sydney Motorsport Park, NSW (2x 30-minute, 1x 60-minute races - V8 Supercars)

Rnd#5 - 12-14 September, Sandown, Melbourne, Victoria (3x 40-minute races - V8 Supercars)

Rnd#6 - 7-9 November, Highlands Motorsport Park, Cromwell, NZ
(2x 40-min races + 101-lap non-championship feature race)

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 M Motorsport is proudly supported by Interlloy Engineering Steels and Alloys, Australian Post Tensioning, Vibrabody and Freem. About Interlloy

Interlloy Pty Ltd is Australia’s lead supplier of Engineering Steels and Alloys to engineering machine shops both nationally and internationally. Founded in 1987and now employing over one hundred and forty (140) people in five states of Australia, Interlloy has become the major supplier of Special Steels to the General and Heavy Engineering Industries, Toolmaking, Mining, Gas & Oil Fields, Automotive, Manufacturing, Petrochemical, Pump, Power Generation and Transport Industries. For more information, please visit; www.interlloy.com.au

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