Richard Muscat Wins The 2014 Australian Gt Championship
Erebus Motorsport driver Richard Muscat won the 2014 Australian GT Championship in style today winning both races of the final round at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand.
The Erebus Academy driver, who has maintained the Championship lead since round one in March, demonstrated impressive form throughout the year in the Erebus Motorsport #36 SLS AMG GT3, finishing the championship 53 points ahead of his nearest rival, Tony Quinn.
The dominating duo of Muscat and the Erebus Motorsport SLS finished all but one race this year on the podium, collecting seven race wins over the six rounds.
Muscat was delighted to take home the Championship trophy in his “fantastic” debut year in the category.
“It’s been a fantastic year of racing!” said Muscat.
“And this weekend we’ve had a great time at Highlands – and to have the title go down to the last race of the year, it was a fairy tale ending!
“I’m really happy to have sealed the Championship but I couldn’t have done it without my fantastic Erebus family and the awesome SLS, and all my sponsors.”
Barry Ryan, Erebus Motorsport General Manager, acknowledged Erebus Motorsport owner Betty Klimenko’s passion for GT racing and the SLS’s.
“It’s great to win the Championship today – and out of everyone, it’s mostly for Betty!” said Ryan.
“Betty's belief in her GT team and her SLS “babies”, Athena and Hecate, are what drives a grumpy old man like me to continue to be passionate about Motorsport and Erebus.
“There are many people who played key roles throughout this year: Damo and Drew, our only full-time GT staff, and all our dedicated part-time crew should all take a bow.
“Richard Muscat who showed what a true Champion he is – he keeps pushing the envelope with what he can do in a race car.
“Jack Le Brocq who provided fantastic guidance early in the year for Richard when he was learning the SLS and GT racing.
“And this weekend, Craig Baird, who was a calming Championship-winning mentor to Richard and us all.”
With a 30-point lead over the #7 Aston Martin of Tony Quinn, and his co-driver Garth Tander, at the start of the day, and with 50-points up for grabs for each race win, Muscat fought hard in both races today to collect the maximum 100-points on offer.
“We got the jump on Tander at the start of race two this afternoon, and he was quite quick,” said Muscat.
“I felt like we were able to match him on pace but he had nothing to lose, whereas I did, so I let him by at the carousel and just concentrated on staying with him.
“After the pit stops we came out about five seconds behind the Aston Martin, and it was a good battle.
“Tony defended well but I managed to get by him coming off the bridge under brakes which was quite cool.
“In race one this morning, we got the jump off the line and I pulled out a good gap, around 18 seconds, before we had to pit.
“When I re-joined there was about 14 minutes to go in the race, and then the safety car came out.
“So the race finished under safety car conditions, but I did come out of the pits first which obviously gave us the win.
“I would have preferred to race to the end, but at the end of the day if somebody gets hurt the race should not restart, so full credit to the Australian GT category and the officials.”
Holding off on celebrations for just a bit longer, the team will take part in the ‘Highlands 101’ non-championship endurance race tomorrow.
Muscat will be paired with experienced GT driver and Erebus Motorsport V8 co-driver Craig Baird for 101-lap endurance race, where the duo will be fighting for the CAMS Australian Tourist Trophy.
Having finished second in the first endurance race at Phillip Island earlier this year with fellow Erebus Academy driver Jack Le Brocq, Muscat is now focussed on bringing home another trophy this weekend!
Keep up to date with all the track action at:https://www.race-monitor.com
Richard Muscat enjoys the support of Genis Steel, Archiclad, Wilsons Security, Corplex, Carter Grange, Genesis Australia, and Muscrete Constructions.
About Richard Muscat
• 2013 Shannons Driver of the Year
• 2013 Jim Richards Endurance Champion
• 2013 Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia Champion
• 2012 Porsche 944 Challenge Champion
• 2011 Victorian State Closed Champion in Leopard Light
• 2010 Senior Karter of the year (VKA)
About Craig Baird
• Five-time Australian Carrera Cup Champion (2013, 2012, 2011, 2008, 2006)
• 2013 Australian GT Championship Round Winner – Adelaide Street Circuit – with Erebus Motorsport GT
• 2013 Sepang 12-Hour Winner
• 2013 Bathurst 12-Race Runner Up
• 2012 Bathurst 12-Race Second Runner Up