Tony Bates is feeling confident ahead of this weekend’s Phillip Island 101 GT endurance race after a productive test day in mixed weather conditions at the picturesque circuit last week.
Bates and his co-driver Daniel Gaunt completed a number of sessions aboard the KFC/Moveitnet/C-Tech Laser/B&B/Local Roadways Audi R8 on both wet and dry track surfaces.
“It was typical Phillip Island weather – four seasons in one day,” Bates said.
“It’s not often you have the chance to test in such changeable conditions, so we maximised the opportunity – we were able to tune our setup for the different grip levels and adjust our driving techniques accordingly.
“It means we’re well-prepared for this weekend, regardless of what the weather throws at us.”
Bates last competed in the Phillip Island 101 endurance race in 2016, finishing seventh outright with Miguel Molina.
“The 2016 race was one of the best drives of my career – we lost a lot of time early with a puncture, and I had to do an extended stint in the car to correspond with the fuel window and minimum/maximum driving distances.
“We came from near the back of the field to finish inside the top 10, which was very satisfying at the time… but this weekend, Dan and I are aiming for the podium.”
In Sunday’s race, all teams will be required to make three compulsory pit stops, with 55 laps the maximum-allowed distance for any driver.
“It’s the same number of stops for everyone, but it’s still important to make the right strategic calls to ensure you’re in the best position for the final sprint to the chequered flag,” Bates said.
The Phillip Island 101 race doubles as both the fourth round of the Australian GT Championship and the second round of the Australian Endurance Championship – Bates and Gaunt are currently fourth in the AEC standings after their strong run at Tailem Bend.
Australian GT Championship Round 4 – Schedule
Friday, 1 June
14:20 – Practice 1 (30 min)
Saturday, 2 June
9:55 – Practice 2 (30 min)
13:50 – Qualifying 1 (30 min)
14:25 – Qualifying 2 (30 min)
Sunday, 3 June
10:05 – Warmup (10 min)
13:05 – Race (101 laps)