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Jun 30, 2014 - 02:43 PM
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American Muscle Comes To Australian GT
Posted by: newsla on Jun 30, 2014 - 02:37 PM
Sports Cars
American Muscle Comes To Australian GT


An iconic American muscle-car will join the ranks of the 2014 Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli in coming weeks, a category which until now has been all but dominated by some of Europe’s finest marques.

 

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Just recently Australian GT regulars M-Motorsport - who campaign a state-of-the-art Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 GT3 for team-owner Justin McMillan and reigning Bathurst 1000 champion Steve Richards - were in Italy to test the latest offering from Reiter Engineering, a 7.9-litre Chevrolet Camaro GT3.

German-based Reiter Engineering have been building Lamborghinis fleet of GT-spec race cars since 2000, but just over 12-months ago, Hans Reiter fell in love with the American built Camaro and his team set about developing it into one of the most desired cars competing on the world stage.

The development curve for the car had been stalled in part by Reiter’s commitment to the Lamborghini project, and in part by the highly competitive nature of global GT competition, but after running at the front of the hotly contested ADAC GT Masters in Europe at the recent round at Red Bull Ring in Austria, Reiter showed that the big normally-aspirated V8 is capable of matching the best in the market.

“As a fan of American muscle cars, my interest was tweaked almost as soon as I knew about the Camaro,” M-Motorsport’s Justin McMillan said. “Having dealt with Reiter with the purchase of our Lamborghinis, I called him almost immediately to see what we could do, and Hubert Thanbichler and the team set up a private test session for us earlier this year at the Adria Circuit in northern Italy.

“Ross Lilley and I went over and turned some serious laps, and I was very impressed, so I tentatively ordered a car ahead of another test just prior to the Le Mans weekend where Steve [Richards] also came over to offer his opinion.”

“The car was exceptional,” Richards admitted. “Very different to the Lamborghini.. I’d say the Lamborghini is more like an open-wheeler, more reliant on aero and mechanical grip, whereas the Camaro is very much like a V8 Supercar.

“The Camaro matches the Lamborghini on pace, but the way it achieves that speed is in a totally different way.”

The Camaro develops around 650bhp from its 7.9-litre Chevrolet V8, but with close to 800Nm of torque, it’s the acceleration out of low speed corners that really grabs the driver’s attention.

“It’s amazing how quickly it accelerates out of the slower corners,” Richards added. “What that will mean in Australia on our circuits and under our weather conditions, only time will tell, but it has proven quick in the GT Masters in one-hour races in Europe, so I’d expect that we’ll face similar situations, although with that much torque, you may need to be a little relaxed on throttle applications, as it can get onto the traction control pretty quickly."

“I also think it’s a better proposition for the gentleman driver because it’s less reliant on carrying mid-corner speed like say the Ferrari and the Lamborghini - more user-friendly.. it’s also significantly cheaper than the Italian thoroughbreds too, and that will make it more attractive to those drivers on the fringe that don’t want to make such a big investment. It also sounds incredible.. it’s arguably the sweetest sounding racecar I’ve heard in a very long time!”

Whilst tight-lipped about the delivery time of the first Camaro, McMillan did reveal that the first car has already been sold and that another will be on its way close behind.

“A number of interested parties came to the second test where Reiter regular and former F1 and Indycar pilot Tomas Enge was on hand to run the drivers through their paces, and all of them left with broad smiles. The first car is about to leave Germany and will be here in fairly short order.

“We have some pretty big plans for the Camaro, and expect to see a couple of them competing regularly in Australian in the next 12 months.”

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