The CAMS Australian Endurance Championship races into Round 3 of the 2017 season at the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 this weekend (October 28 & 29).
Having crossed the halfway point of the campaign, the season takes on an international flavour with the as the New Zealand leg begins with Hampton Downs playing host to the penultimate event of the year.
Heading the championship fight are Jaxon Evans and Tim Miles, who share the Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi R8 LMS, with two race wins in as many starts.
Last year’s Hampton Downs 101 race winners, Roger Lago and David Russell, return in the JBS Australia Lamborghini R-EX and head into the event among the favourites following their stunning 2016 performance.
They’ll be chased hard by the Mega Racing Porsche 911 GT3-R duo of John Martin and Liam Talbot, who currently sit second in the title battle in the Walkinshaw GT3 run entry.
Hot on their heels in the points standings is the Autex Eggleston Motorsport duo of Dominic Storey and Peter Hackett, who last year showed the Mercedes-AMG GT3 is a forced to be reckoned with at Hampton Downs.
Facing them will be factory McLaren ace Alvaro Parente, who will make his Australian GT debut behind the wheel of the YNA Autosport/McElrea Racing McLaren 650S GT3.
A GT racing superstar, Parente will co-drive with Fraser Ross, who is fresh off success at Sandown in the final round of the 2017 CAMS Australian GT Championship.
Following a stunning performance at Sydney Motorsport Park, which saw them lead the race, Adrian Deitz and Cam McConville return in the Timken Zagame Autosport Lamborghini Huracan.
The Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 will mark the first time a Lamborghini Huracan GT3 has competed on New Zealand soil, with two examples of the Italian marque’s latest offering on show.
Piloting the AMAC Motorsport Porche 911 GT3-R is Andrew Macpherson and Brad Shiels, while Max Twigg and Tony D’Alberto reunite following a character building Sydney Motorsport Park round.
Their WM Waste Management Mercedes-AMG GT3 entry has proved a contender throughout the 2017 campaign with canny strategy making the pairing one to watch.
So too will be Mark Griffith and Scott Hookey, who will steer the Griffith Corporation/Hog’s Breath Cafe Mercedes-AMG GT3.
A veteran of Australian GT competition, Griffith currently leads the Challenge class of the CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series presented by Pirelli, a competition won by Hookey in 2016.
Tony Quinn has linked up with Highlands Motorsport Park’s resident professional driver Andrew Waite, the pair sharing the familiar Darrell Lea McLaren 650S GT3.
Four-time Bathurst 1000 victor Steve Richards is joined by young gun Dylan O’Keeffe this weekend, the mixture of youth and experience providing a fearsome combination.
O’Keeffe raced alongside Daniel Gaunt at Sydney Motorsport Park in an Audi R8, switching this weekend to the Laser Plumbing backed BMW Team SRM M6 GT3.
A host of local entries round out the field, with Andrew Bagnell set to partner Matt Halliday in one of the three International Motorsport entries.
Neil Foster and former A1GP star Jonny Reid will share the sister car with the team’s third Audi R8 piloted by Malcolm Uddy
Trass Family Motorsport returns to Australian GT with Andrew Fawcett and Gene Rollison set to take charge of the Ferrari 458.
The Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 starts on Saturday with live television across New Zealand broadcasting the Top 10 Shootout on Saturday, starting a 14:00 NZDT on TV3.
A full, live race broadcast follows on Sunday across TV3 in New Zealand and Fox Sports (Channel 507) in Australia, bringing fans every second of the action of the race, which starts at 12:30 NZDT.
The race will also be broadcast online via a live stream, available via the Australian GT website, Facebook page and the sport’s leading publications.