Supercars regular Garth Tander will join 2017 Australian GT Champion at the wheel of the #1 Valvoline Audi R8 LMS at Round 2 of the 2018 CAMS Australian GT Championship at The Bend Motorsport Park this weekend.
Marking the opening round of the Shannons Nationals season, The Bend Motorsport Park is set to host its maiden motor sport competition, with Australian GT to headline proceedings.
Emery currently sits joint second in the points standings following the opening race of the year at Albert Park, tied with 2017 Australian Endurance Champion Peter Hackett.
The addition of Tander bolster’s the Audi lineup, with the multiple Bathurst 1000 winner well experienced in the Audi.
“I know the Audi quite well now, and the MPC guys do a fantastic job, so it’ll be cool. It’ll be on, it always is,” Tander said.
“The Audi’s always competitive – that’s the great thing about GT3 racing, the balance of performance keeps it competitive.
“The new track will keep it interesting, I know (David) Reynolds is driving the Mercedes, Shane (van Gisbergen)’s there in the McLaren, so it’ll be a bit of fun with those guys.
“When we do these races the guys at the front always drive these cars really hard and really quickly, hopefully we’re part of it.”
The second round of the Australian GT Championship also doubles as the opening round of the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship, with drivers and teams set to battle it out for more than 500km.
Racing on the GT layout at The Bend Motorsport Park, the second-longest permanent race track in the world, the world-class facility will pose a brand-new challenge for drivers.
They’ll have their first sampling of the track on Thursday with a test day scheduled before official running begins on Friday with opening practice.
Tander is just one of a host of familiar names set to take centre stage, with Shane van Gisbergen set to lineup alongside Tony Quinn in a Mariani Beef Jerky McLaren 650S GT3 while last year’s Bathurst 1000 winner David Reynolds will partner Jaie Robson in the Aussie Driver Search Mercedes-AMG GT3.
They form part of a 21-car field featuring a mix of GT3 and GT4 machinery representing ten of the world’s leading automotive manufacturers.
Practice on Friday leads into a two-part qualifying session, with the average times for each car across both sessions combined to form the grid.
The two-part race, set to take in more than 500km of competition, holds its first hour in the fading light of Saturday evening, laying the stage for dramatic images of exotic machinery sporting glowing brakes and blazing headlights.
A unique format within Australia, but used extensively internationally, will then conclude on Sunday with the final two hours of the race set to be held from mid-morning.