Smollen a class above the rest in GT4 series debut

Shane Smollen became the first official Monochrome GT4 Australia Series round winner after taking out a clean sweep of wins at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit.

In what was the first competitive weekend of racing for the series, which shared the grid alongside the Mobil 1 Production Car Series, Smollen proved a class above the rest of the field in each outing – including the opening race where a stall on the line meant the 59-year-old was forced to charge his way through the field in order to reclaim the lead and the victory.

The second and third races of the weekend saw Smollen lead from the outset to pick up comfortable wins in his Porsche Cayman 718, while a gallant effort from Tony Quinn saw an entertaining battle for the lead early on before Smollen ran away with the win in the fourth and final race of the weekend.

In what was a dominant performance all weekend long, the New South Welshman was pleased with the four wins as the new car suited his driving style perfectly.

“It feels great coming away with a win in a brand new car and a brand new series,” Smollen said.

“We expected the racing to be close due to the balance of performance and it was really encouraging to get the win, but there is still a long way to go this year.

“I expected the car to be at worst, competitive, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect of myself on the comeback trail from a knee replacement in February, I had to withdraw from the Bathurst 6-hour and hadn’t raced since last year.

“Straight away the car suited my driving style, I don’t know if I ever got the best out of the M4 production car, but this one has similar characteristics, and it rewarded the same smoother inputs to a Cup car, so I had some familiarity.

“The weekend builds confidence for me, some of the one percenter in terms of preparation and testing makes you really want to lift your game because you can see that if you do everything right, there is an opportunity for some good results.”

As for the category itself, Smollen is a huge supporter and believed it will go from strength-to-strength going forward.

“The new series makes a lot of sense, I can’t see it not being successful if you look at the criteria and the parity in the series, there has been a lot of people putting the work into it and the cars are very reliable,” Smollen added.

“I can only see it going from strength-to-strength, it’s a place for younger drivers to step up to coming from other categories and it’s an affordable option.

“They are identifiable cars to the public, the sort you might see on the front of a magazine and people can connect with that – they sound good, they look good, and I think it will continue to expand.

“I decided to use this opportunity to purchase a car that’s not easy to get your hands on, to jump in early and have some fun.”

The Mobil 1 Australian Production Cars and Monochrome GT4 Australia Series will next feature at the Sydney Motorsport Park on 16-18 June.