RAM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 driver Mike Sheargold is predicting a heightened level of competition in this year’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia presented by AWS Am class, starting at the season opener in Bathurst this weekend.
Sheargold finished second alongside his RAM Motorsport co-driver Garth Walden in last year’s Am Class standings, but knows it will be challenging to repeat or improve upon that result.
“Garth and I would obviously like to go one better and win the title, but looking at the competition, it’s not going to be easy,” Sheargold said.
“Brad Schumacher is going to be fast, the Matt Stoupas/Paul Stokell car has a mix of speed and experience, Justin McMillan and Roger Lago will be in the fight, and I think Michael Kokkinos will be quick this year as well.
“With drivers of that calibre, even finishing on the podium will be an achievement. Fortunately, I feel like we’re very well prepared heading into the season.
“We had a good result at the Bathurst International last year which we followed up with some productive testing at Challenge Bathurst, and we’ve had a couple of good test days at Phillip Island to start this year as well.”
The Sheargold/Walden RAM Motorsport Mercedes will be joined in the GWR Australia stable this year by a second Mercedes for Brett Hobson and Mike Bailey, with Sheargold believing the expansion to a second car will produce genuine benefits.
“Having the second Mercedes will be a massive advantage, especially with all four drivers being so open to sharing information,” he said.
“Brett and Mike are in the Pro-Am class, so we’re not competing against them directly, although there will no doubt be some friendly rivalry if we end up near each other on the track. But the fact we can all compare data and feedback, and see how each driver is generating speed, will be extremely valuable.”
“To be in contention for the title, consistency is going to be the key. We don’t need to win every race but we do need to make good decisions, to ensure we minimise mistakes and poor results.”
Both Sheargold and Walden will do double duties in the Hi-Tec Oils Bathurst 6 Hour as well.
All of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS action can be seen live and ad-break free on Stan Sport. Sign up now for a free seven-day trial stan.com.au/motorsport
Free-to-air viewers will be able to see Saturday’s race live and free on Nine’s digital channels from 2-5pm.