TEKNO Autosports are primed and ready for their first Australian GT Championship season as the series heads to Adelaide for the Clipsal 500 for round one.
TEKNO will run three McLaren 650S GT3s this season with Jonathon Webb and Grant Denyer sharing the #59, Nathan Antunes and Elliot Barbour co-driving the #61 while Nathan Morcom will be solo in the #60.
After taking out the Bathurst 12 Hour with Shane van Gisbergen and Álvaro Parente, Webb is confident his team can succeed in the series but knows it will be extremely challenging.“The GT Championship is getting more and more competitive every year so it’s not going to be easy,” Webb said. “But we know we’ve got good cars and good drivers, so we’ll turn up and see how it goes.”
“We definitely want all three cars pushing on towards a podium but in saying that, there’s a lot of variables in this type of racing and strategy will play a huge part in our results”Nathan Morcom will have the #60 McLaren all to himself and he thinks that will help him get more accustomed to the McLaren which he admits is a little different to what he’s used to.“The biggest thing for me is I’ve never driven a GT3 with a turbo, so I need to get on the power about five to ten metres earlier than what you’re used to,” Morcom said. “All my previous cars were aspirated so when you put your petal to the metal it goes.
“I think running solo will be an advantage for me. You get to get to stay in there the whole time. I don’t have to worry about changing. I’ll know the conditions throughout the race. I get the most mileage out of all the sessions.”Another challenge for Morcom is he’s never had a lap in anger around Adelaide. But he’s still confident of a respectable result there.“I’ve never run at Adelaide before, so I’m on the backfoot compared to the others,” Morcom said. “But I am looking for a top 10, that’s definitely doable.”
Meanwhile Nathan Antunes has experience at Adelaide and in the McLaren before and he’s got high hopes for him and co-driver Elliot Barbour.“The McLaren isn’t overly new to me, I drove it a bit last year in Asia but driving on the Pirelli tyre is very different to what I experienced with the Michelins,” Antunes said. “The car behaves a bit differently, but I’m happy with it. It’s given me a bit of extra drive, even though I already had quite a bit heading into the season. It’s given me a bit extra confidence.”
Antunes and Barbour are taking a cautious approach to Clipsal, but they’re not ruling out picking up a trophy.
“My aim is to leave Clipsal without any scratches on the car,” Antunes said. “I know if we can do that we will be thereabouts. I’m confident that both Elliot and I have enough experience to possibly bring home some silverware home after the weekend. But the main focus is to bring the car back in one piece because it’s only two weeks until Melbourne (the Australian Grand Prix). “We just need to make sure we are arriving at every round of the championship and not missing a round because of damage.”
Having driven an Audi R8 in previous seasons, Antunes is very wary of the German cars but believes the McLarens can topple them especially after TEKNO won the Bathurst 12 Hour just a couple weeks ago.“To be fair and honest the Audi was a very good package,” Antunes said. “But looking at the success of the McLaren at Bathurst, I think everyone is catching up to them after they’ve been very dominant car for the last six years.
“I think it’s going to be a lot more competitive. But that’s not to say the Audi isn’t going to be hard to beat, but it’s very doable in the McLaren.”
The TEKNO McLarens will hit the track for the first time at the Clipsal 500 for practice on Thursday March 3rd and the first race will be on Friday March 4th at 12:25pm local time.
For updates on the TEKNO Australian GT and V8 Supercars teams, visit: www.tekno.com.au/news