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All Change At Trofeo Motorsport Ahead Of Sandown GT Opener
Posted by: newsla on Mar 26, 2014 - 11:58 AM
Sports Cars
All Change At Trofeo Motorsport Ahead Of Sandown GT Opener

All change at Trofeo Motorsport ahead of Sandown
Trofeo Motorsport - 2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli
Rnd#1 - Sandown Park, Melbourne, Victoria (March 28-30)


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Trofeo Motorsport’s Jim Manolios has been watching the days tick of his calendar as the opening round of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli approaches, but unlike many of his rivals, he has been hoping for the days to become longer, not shorter..

“During last season we decided to upgrade our Corvette Z06.R to a 2013-spec car ahead of the 2014 season,” he explained. “Unfortunately the Corvette couldn’t be completed in time due to the nature of the upgrade.

“The bulk of the work is done on the car, but we needed another week or two to sort it properly, and that includes getting some test and development miles on the board before we enter it in a race.

“Unforunately the delay in producing some of the parts for the gearbox upgrade to paddle-shift meant that we were forced to pull out of the Bathurst 12-Hour, but further delays forced us to make a decision earlier this week to look for an alternative because it would have been too close a call with the Corvette, so we’ll have a very different entry for the season opener.”

With the current interest in Australian GT (a strong 24-car entry for round one at Sandown), the availability of ‘spare’ Championship cars was limited, but Manolios knew just where to find a replacement.

“There were a number of options to run in the Trophy Class, but the Corvette is a Championship class car, and we want to be running for points. In a Trophy car we’d only earn Trophy class points, so we’ve procured a Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 for Sandown.

“The Ferrari is also a part of the bigger picture with Pirelli, as Pirelli are a series partner to the Ferrari Challenge Asia Pacific, and as such, we’ll be promoting our involvement in that series ahead of their April 11-13 event at Sydney Motorsport Park.

“We’ll then take the car in Australian GT livery to promote the series to the Ferrari event in Sydney, so it will be a useful addition to the Trofeo team.

“I have to say I’m really looking forward to Sandown, but I’m really looking forward to being able to debut the Corvette’s new package. The car will be very exciting, in fact it was a race winner in Europe last year and won the coveted ADAC GT Masters series, so I honestly can’t wait to get behind the wheel - but there’s a championship underway too, and we want to be a part of that.”

Manolios and the Trofeo Motorsport team are waiting for the Ferrari’s arrival in their Melbourne HQ to do a final systems check ahead of the Sandown event, with Manolios hoping to get some test laps in ahead of the season opener.

“Depending on the timing of the cars arrival, we’ll try and get some laps under our belt, but not withstanding that, we have three practice sessions on Friday (March 28) and I’ve done quite a few laps around Sandown over the years, so working out the circuit won’t be such an issue.

“I’m not sure what to expect from the Ferrari, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to drive the car. My Highlands Motorsport Park co-driver Ivan Capelli was out here last week for the Australian Grand Prix, and he has given me a few tips on some of the characteristics of a mid-engined race car as opposed to the front engined Corvette, so I’ll have some idea when I finally get the chance to turn laps in anger.

“The 2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli is looking fantastic. We have 23-registered series entrants already, and there’s news of a range of new cars coming in through the year, so we have every chance of seeing fields above 20 all season, and in some cases we could be campaigning 30 plus cars..

“Tony Quinn and the AGT team led by Ken Collier have really turned the series around over the last two years, and I’d like to think that Pirelli’s investment in the series and teams has contributed to that growth. All in all, it’s going to be a very interesting season, and I’m really looking forward to being a part of it.”

Trofeo Motorsport is proudly supported by Pirelli, 4D Global, Conect and Trofeo Estate.

Watch 'The Pits' a new motorsport television program produced in association with Trofeo Motorsport, episode one will appear on Channel Ten, April 6 at 1:00pm (AEST).

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