Ford Mustang 60 Years Race Phillip Island: Saturday wrap

Fanatec GT World Challenge, Powered by AWS

The first round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Powered By AWS held the first race of its 2024 season, and there were plenty of talking points to come out of the one-hour race.

Most notably, it was Liam Talbot who kicked off his title defence with a victory as he and Chaz Mostert led an Arise Racing GT one-two across the line.

In what was a solid performance from the Ferrari 296 GT3 drivers, Talbot started the race in fifth place and navigated his way up the order to second place in the first half of the race.

At that point, Paul Stokell had done a wonderful job putting the Audi R8 LMS Ultra he shares with Renee Gracie in top spot.

A quick stop from Talbot and Mostert, saw the latter in front of Gracie just over the midway point, before the second Arise Racing GT Ferrari 296 GT3 of Jaxon Evans and Elliot Schutte made their way past Gracie.

With misty conditions causing no shortage of drama, including Gracie spinning on a safety car restart, Mostert held off a fast charging Brendon Leitch, who shared the Dayle ITM/Team MPC Audi R8 LMS EVO II with Tim Miles, and had put himself into second place.

The New Zealanders couldn’t hold onto second though as Evans made it back past him before Will Brown reclaimed the final podium spot in the Audi R8 he shares with Brad Schumacher.

The race was then turned on its head in the final stages when Benjamin Shoots went hit the tyre wall – forcing the race to be red flagged and a delay to all track action after.

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

Reigning champion Josh Buchan got his first win for the year in the Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series’ sole race for the day after a mostly comfortable run.

Starting from the second row, Buchan moved to the lead on the opening lap after an entertaining three-way battle with Wall Racing teammates Tony D’Alberto and Brad Harris.

D’Alberto had actually got off to a flying start off the line and had built a gap before Harris and Buchan gained lots of ground, with the former eventually making contact with his teammate, which ultimately allowed Buchan ahead.

The contact proved costly for D’Alberto though, who ended up in the grass and ended up at the back. At the front of the field, Zac Soutar also benefited from the incident and slotted into third and eventually second, after making up a number of positions earlier in the race.

​As the race wore on, Buchan never relinquished his position and always remained around a second ahead, as Harris eventually took back second place after securing a last lap pass on Soutar.

Behind them, Dylan O’Keefe and Ben Bargwanna fifth made up the top five, which ultimately ended up with five different manufacturers making up the top five.

Trico Trans Am Series 

Trico Trans Am Series leader James Moffat has started off the category’s visit to Phillip Island on a high after winning today’s sole race.

With its first race being shortened due to the big crash at the end of the GT World Challenge Australia race, Moffat got the jump on the polesitter in James Golding on the opening lap and led the way for the rest of the race.

The duo were extremely close for the whole 11-lap affair, with Golding constantly applying pressure on the reigning champion. Despite staying within one second for a large period, Moffat managed to hold on for the win and eventually crossed the line more than a second ahead.

Five seconds behind in third place was Elliott Cleary, who comfortably reached the chequered flag three seconds ahead of Jordan Boys, while Nash Morris rounded out the top five ahead of Todd Hazelwood.

Further down the line, Mark Bailey took out Pro-Am top honours ahead of Joshua Webster.

The series has two more races tomorrow with the first taking place at 11.25am.

Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia

The extremely popular one-make series was already facing a shorter race than normal due to earlier repair of tyre barrier repair, but multiple incidents involving multiple cars on the opening lap reduced the race even further.

The dramatic first lap saw the likes of Eric Constantinidis, Ayrton Hodson, Benjamin Taylor, Brett Boulton and Bradley Carr all involved – with Constantinidis the only one to be a classified finish.

The incident saw the safety car brought out, but a quick recovery from the Motorsport Australia volunteer officials helped the racing get underway, and the category have a further eight laps.

At the front, and avoiding all the drama, were Oscar Targett and Hamish Fitzsimmons, who stuck with each other for the whole eight laps once the race was green flagged.

Starting from the lead, Targett defended his place well on the restart and ended up beating Fitzsimmons by three tenths, while Clay Osborne rounded out the top three a further three seconds back.

Taking out top honours in the Pro-Am class was Harri Jones Motorsport’s Ramu Farrell, who finished eighth overall. In Class B, it was Jacque Jarjo who went fastest overall.

Like Trans Am, Porsche has two races tomorrow – starting with the first Jim Richards Endurance race for the year in the morning.

First Focus Radical Cup Australia

The First Focus Radical Cup Australia kicked off the day’s activities with qualifying, which saw Peter Clare edge out Peter Paddon for pole position.

However neither one of them reached the chequered flag in top spot in the category’s sole 45-minute race – the honour belonging to Cooper Cutts, who started from fourth place.

A good start from Cutts saw him in second place by the end of the first lap before replacing Paddon for the lead on the fourth lap. The two switched positions again after their mandatory pit stops and battled hard as they made their way up the order as drivers took their stops.

Cutts eventually made it back past Paddon by the time the two ended up in front and held onto top spot by the time they reached the finish line. In the end, it was a comfortable win for Cutts, who crossed the line 30 seconds ahead of Paddon.

Behind them, a remarkable recovery drive from Ash Samadi, saw the GWR driver finish third after being disqualified in qualifying, as well as winning the Am class.

The Radicals have its second and final race tomorrow afternoon.