Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins the Australian GT Endurance Championship

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Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins the Australian GT Endurance Championship

Latest News


Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins the Australian GT Endurance Championship

In a nail-biting finish to the Australian GT Endurance Championship, Mercedes-Benz Australia-Pacific chief driving instructor Peter Hackett and his co-driver Mercedes-Benz driving instructor Dominic Storey nursed their wounded Mercedes-AMG GT3 race car home at New Zealand’s Highlands Motorsport Park to seal a well-deserved championship victory.

For Hackett, the victory was particularly sweet, having come within touching distance of the title several times previously, only for it to slip from his grasp. “That’s pretty special; Australian Formula 3, Formula Holden, or Formula 4000 as it was, and now Australian GT, that’s got a nice ring to it,” said an emotional Hackett afterwards. For Storey too, it was a maiden victory in one of Australia’s most coveted motorsport series. “I always wanted to do one thing, and that was win a championship; I’ve now won the Australian Endurance Championship,” Storey said.

Co-driving the Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the final round of the championship, the Highlands 501, the pair only needed to finish the final race of the weekend to seal the coveted championship win. Hackett led the race by more than 20 seconds when he handed the car to Storey, who held onto the lead in spite of a number of safety car periods that erased their advantage. Then, with six laps remaining, their Mercedes-AMG GT3 limped to the pits with a camber bolt issue that threatened to end the race and snuff out their title chances. 

“At that moment I thought it was all over," recounted Storey. “The boys did what they could; the issue wasn’t fixed but it made the car safe enough to get the car back around and finish the race under its own power.” For Hackett, the nail-biting finale almost cost him a championship that has been a decade in the making. “I didn’t see that coming,” he said. “When it comes through the pits that Dom has a loose wheel, and that was a really good assessment, your focus just goes from ‘we’re going to win the race’ to ‘let’s survive’. You’re never complacent because it’s never real, but you go from a position of relative comfort to complete survival. Watching the team instinctively react, as champion teams do, was inspiring.

”Hackett and Storey started their 2017 campaign in strong form, finishing second after racing back from a lap down following a mid-race downpour in the Phillip Island 500 in May. A tough weekend at Sydney Motorsport Park 500 saw the duo bank valuable points, before going on to win the Laser Plumbing & Electrical Hampton Downs 500 two weekends ago.

Heading into the Highlands 501 they trailed the Valvoline Jamec Pem Racing Audi of Tim Miles and Jaxon Evans by 76 points, clawing back six points during the two qualifying sessions on Saturday. After the Audi struck trouble late in the race, Storey and Hackett needed only to finish. In the end they survived the nerve-wracking final laps to seal their maiden CAMS Australian Endurance Championship.

Storey expressed the relief the entire team was feeling after the race fell in their favour. "We knew it was possible, but there were a couple of things along the way that we thought weren’t going to allow us to win the championship,” he said. “So, we came to New Zealand and we were like ‘we’re going to win both those races’. We nearly did, but we got the championship. I actually don’t know how I feel, I’m quite emotional about it at the moment!”

In spite of the obstacles, Hackett said the team never wavered in its belief it could win the endure title. “Everything in life worth having, you have to fight for,” he said. “I’ve put so much into this sport over the years that it’s especially sweet to finally get the rewards.”

Taking out the race win was Scott Taylor Motorsport’s AMG GT3 which was driven by Max Twigg and another Mercedes-Benz driving instructor Tony D’Alberto. They not only made the podium in the Hampton Downs 500, but then put together a superb performance to win the dramatic Highlands 501 race. 

Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins the Australian GT Endurance Championship
Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins the Australian GT Endurance Championship
Autex Eggleston Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 Wins the Australian GT Endurance Championship