Getting up to speed quickly in practice and qualifying will be the key to a strong campaign in Round 3 of Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS at Phillip Island this weekend, according to RAM Motorsport driver Mike Sheargold.
Alongside Garth Walden, Sheargold currently sits third in the GT Am class standings after consistent performances in the opening two rounds at Bathurst and Wanneroo, but admitted he is searching for a little more outright pace.
“Garth has been one of the fastest Am drivers in both rounds, but I’d like to extract a bit more speed out of myself,” he said.
“I’ve been recording my personal best lap times in the last races of each round, and while that shows I’m improving, it’s not ideal – you want to be setting your fastest laps in qualifying.
“The plan at Phillip Island will be to push harder in practice, so then I’m closer to where I need to be for qualifying.”
At this time of the year, Phillip Island’s weather can be notoriously unpredictable and Sheargold said generating tyre temperature will be one of the biggest challenges.
“The forecast is looking relatively clear in terms of rain, but it will be quite chilly,” he said.
“Generating tyre temperature with these GT cars is critical for achieving lap times and with the track temperature potentially being quite low, it will be tricky in qualifying with the sessions only being 15 minutes.”
Sheargold and Walden tested at Phillip Island earlier in the year and Sheargold said it’s good to be heading back to a track he’s familiar with.
“The tyres we were running during our testing weren’t exactly the same as what we’ll be using this weekend, but at least I’ve had a decent amount of running in a GT-spec car, so I’ll be starting the weekend several steps ahead of Perth, where my only laps of the track were in a Formula Ford,” he said.
This weekend’s GT round consists of the traditional format of a pair of one-hour races, which will be shown live on Stan Sport.
GT World Challenge Round 3 Schedule
Friday, 12 May
10:45am – Practice 1 (45 min)
2:00pm – Practice 2 (45 min)
Saturday, 13 May
9:45am – Qualifying 1 (15 min)
10:15am – Qualifying 2 (15 min)
12:55pm – Race 1 (60 min)
Sunday, 14 May
12:50pm – Race 2 (60 min)