Phillip Island: Friday wrap

Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS

Justin McMillan and Glen Wood have finished the first day of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Phillip Island on top after a strong second practice session.

With two practice sessions taking place during Friday’s action, Wood steered the duo’s Mercedes AMG GT3 to a time of 1:28.4631s late in the second session, earning the duo early bragging rights.

Wood’s lap knocked Maximilian Hofer off the top by almost half a second, with the Austrian settling with the second fastest lap for the day in the Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 he shares with Geoff Emery.

The EMA Motorsport/The Bend Motorsport Park Porsche 911 GT3R of Yasser Shahin and Garnett Patterson was third for the session and for the day overall, while the Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 of Liam Talbot and Fraser Ross ended the day with the fourth fastest time.

Earlier in the day, Ross and Talbot finished second fastest in practice one with the Jamec Racing Audi R8 LMS Evo 2 of Hofer and Emery taking out top honours for the session.

The Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS is next on track for two qualifying sessions tomorrow morning at 9:45 am and 10:15 am, before the opening race of Round 3 later in the afternoon.

Kumho V8 Touring Car Series

The new era of the Kumho V8 Touring Car Series is officially underway after the completion of two practice sessions at Phillip Island as part of the Shannons SpeedSeries on Friday.

Notlaw Racing’s Jamie Tilley was the dominant driver of the day as he went fastest in both of the category’s practice sessions as very little separated the competitive field day, especially in the morning when just three tenths separated third and sixth.

Tilley claimed the fastest time outright in that session after posting a dominant lap of 1:35.61, which was one full second faster than the second-placed Ray Hislop of RHM/Nulon.

A further eight tenths off in third was rival Jim Pollicina, who edged out Tony Evangelou, Antonio Molluso and newcomer Jude Bargwanna.

Tilley then made it two from two in the afternoon, improving from his opening practice time by four-tenths of a second, however this time it was Bargwanna who was leading the chasing pack after finishing one-second behind the leader.

Finishing the session in third was Pollicina, after finishing ahead of Hislop by the narrowest of margins, whilst Tony Auddino rounded out the top five.

The category will take the track for the qualifying session first thing Saturday morning, before once again taking the track for the first race later in the afternoon.

S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship

James Golding has started the round off strong, setting the quickest ever S5000 lap of the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit during the Championship’s sessions.

Golding’s 1:24.7409 was two-tenths quicker than the existing qualifying record, set in 2022, at the 4.46km Victorian circuit and came at an average lap speed of 189km/hr.

The Garry Rogers Motorsport gun topped both sessions on Friday however even he couldn’t match his Practice 1 benchmark in the afternoon session, held in cooler conditions later on Friday afternoon.

Finishing the day in second place for both sessions was reigning champion Joey Mawson, while Aaron Cameron and Versa Motorsport’s Cooper Webster were third or fourth in each session today, both well within striking distance of the two leaders.

Jordan Boys (GRM) and Blake Purdie (Versa) were fifth and sixth, respectively, in both sessions today, both within one second of the leading pace.

The field returns for qualifying and the opening of three races tomorrow.

National Trans Am Series

James Moffat picked up where he left off in Tasmania in the National Trans Am Series after topping the time sheets in both practice sessions.

In what was a dominant display, the Team Valvoline driver finished one second ahead of his closest challenger in Ben Grice during the morning’s session, while the Victorian had his hands full fending off other drivers including Edan Thornburrow, Owen Kelly and Brett Holdsworth.

With many of the drivers running different programs to what they did earlier on in the day, the narrative changed as the gap to the front was significantly reduced.

Kelly was the biggest challenger during the session as he finished a mere tenth off Moffat.

However, there was still a significant gap between the top and the chasing pack as Grice finished the second session in third – seven tenths behind Kelly, while an improving Lochie Dalton picked up fourth ahead of Thornburrow.

Drivers will now turn their attention to Saturday morning’s qualifying session, where a grid will be determined for the first of their three races across the weekend.

Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series

Tony D’Alberto has continued Wall Racing’s brilliant form at Phillip Island, topping both of the category’s practice sessions.

The reigning champion set a 1:37.3361s in this afternoon’s second session, backing up his 1:37.6178s lap that topped the first session earlier this afternoon.

Current points leader Bailey Sweeny enjoyed a strong opening day in his Hyundai i30N TCR, finishing third and second in the two sessions respectively, and is looking likely to be the biggest threat to D’Alberto this weekend.

Standout performances from privateer Audi runners saw Zac Soutar second in practice one, and Lachlan Mineeff third in the afternoon session.

2019 TCR Australia champion Will Brown was an unlucky thirteenth today, his miserable start to the season continuing with electrical dramas preventing the Audi RS3 LMS TCR from setting a time in the opening session, with the issues continuing in the second session.

The Supercheap Auto TCR Australia Series is next on track for Qualifying One at 11:35 am on Saturday, immediately followed by Qualifying Two at 11:55 am.

Mobil 1 Australian Production Car Series / Monochrome GT4 Australia Series

The combined series was the only category to notch up a race today with Shane Smollen dominating the day – guiding his Porsche Cayman to the fastest time in qualifying, pole position and the race win.

With Smollen leading the way in the Monochrome GT4 Australia Series in the 13-lap race, it was Cameron Crick who took out Mobil 1 Australian Production Car Series honours and fifth overall.

Ahead of the Production Cup A1 class winner, it was all GT4s as Smollen took out the win ahead of Karl Begg, Tony Quinn and Steve Jukes respectively.

The Australian Production Cars Class X victory went to Grant Sherrin in the #27 Sherrin Rentals BMW M4, while Tom Needham, Rob Rubis, Liam Moyse and Phil Alexander took out the other class victories.

Race two of the Mobil 1 Australian Production Car Series and Monochrome GT4 Australia series will begin on Saturday at 12:15pm AEST.