It was a stellar result for Team TEKNO in only our second outing contesting the Australian GT Championship at the 2016 Australian Grand Prix around Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne last weekend. With just over a week since TEKNO Autosports driver Nathan Morcom claimed P2 in Race 1 at the Clipsal 500 in his #60 McLaren 650S GT3, it was the first time the Australian GT Championship had raced the Melbourne track alongside the Formula 1 since 2010 in four 25-minute races across the weekend. A unique format for the event also meant that the cars would race without compulsory pit stop times, with the ‘pit stop’ times instead added post-race.
In the #59 McLaren, Jonathon Webb joined Christopher Mies on the front row for Race 1 of the weekend, but unfortunately fell back in battles with drivers including George Miedecke as the race wore on to eventually cross the line in 10th position. On corrected order, Webb would finish in P18 in the field and admitted that he just lacked the pace to keep up with the rest of the pack.
Meanwhile, Nathan Antunes in #61 crossed the finish line in P15 and Nathan Morcom in #60 finished in P12 in relatively event-free races to round out the TEKNO Autosports contenders for Race 1. On corrected order however, this would become 10th position for Nathan Morcom.
Race 2 on Friday was a dramatic one, with inclement weather posing a continuous threat leading up to the morning race. TEKNO Autosports’ star of Race 1 at the Clipsal 500, Nathan Morcom in the #60 McLaren, was one of the few who chose to start the race on slick tyres alongside teammates Grant Denyer in #59 and Elliot Barbour. It was clearly the right move, as they all benefited at the end of the sighting lap when many chose to forfeit their grid positions and swap to slick tyres in pit lane.
Trapped behind Benny Simonsen who shot to an early race lead, Morcom crossed the finish line in a close P2, but was promoted to the race win on corrected order.
“It’s a credit to the TEKNO Autosports crew and puts us in the best possible place for tomorrow,” he said following the race.
In the #59, Grant Denyer battled long and hard with Geoff Emery, but could hold him off no longer with only 3 laps to go. However, he finished ahead of the Audi driver in P5 on corrected order despite crossing the line behind him at the chequered flag.
Elliot Barbour in the #61 fell back to P5 early on, which was where he would stay for the remainder of the race, but ended up officially finishing in 4th position on corrected order.
It was a strong showing from TEKNO Autosports in Race 2, however pole-sitter Nathan Morcom in the #60 was jumped by Ferrari’s Andrea Montermini who took control of the race from the first corner.
In a one-lap dash to the finish following a safety car period due to a multi-car collision, Montermini maintained his lead position ahead of Morcom to the finish line. However, Morcom was relegated back to 6th position on corrected order.
Nathan Antunes in the #61 McLaren finished on corrected order in 10th position, while Jonathon Webb in the #59 followed closely behind in 12th position.
Again, Nathan Morcom in #60 fought hard early on to take P3 on track on Lap 1 of Race 4 and remained there for the rest of the race. But on corrected order Morcom ended up in 15th position.
The #59 of Grant Denyer and the #61 of Elliot Barbour were locked in close combat from the start and crossed the chequered flag in P8 and P9 respectively. However, Barbour was upgraded to finish in 7th position officially, as Grant Denyer fell back 3 places to finish officially in 11th position.
Jonathon Webb/Grant Denyer
#59 McLaren Melbourne McLaren 650S GT3
Race 1: 18th
Race 2: 5th
Race 3: 13th
Race 4: 11th
#60 Tekno Autosports McLaren 650S GT3
Race 1: 10th
Race 2: 1st
Race 3: 7th
Race 4: 15th
Nathan Antunes/Elliot Barbour
#61 Beechwood Homes McLaren 650S GT3
Race 1: 15th
Race 2: 4th
Race 3: 11th
Race 4: 7th