Thursday, October 31, 2013

Australian GT: McLaughlan prepares to defend Australian GT crown with Audi

Melbourne Performance Centre Press Release

McLaughlan prepares to defend Australian GT crown with Audi
Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS
October 31

Soon to be crowned Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli Trophy Class champion Steve McLaughlan has unveiled his mount for his title defence ahead of the 2014 season, the Victorian revealing recently that he had purchased the ex-John Briggs Audi R8 LMS.

The Victorian state series regular who had started the 2013 season with Greg Crick’s former Dodge Viper Competition Coupé admitted that whilst he loves the Viper, he wanted something that would be competitive against the expected influx of new Trophy class entrants next year.

During the 2013 season he has worked closely with the team at Melbourne Performance Centre, and after a recent test in the idle Briggs car, he was convinced that was the car he needed to have to mount a defence to his forthcoming Trophy Class title.

“I’d seen it sitting in the workshop each time I’d been in there, and I thought it would be nice to try, so we arranged a test session at Phillip Island,” McLaughlan explained.

“I set what I thought was a pretty competitive lap time, and told the MPC boys jokingly that I’d buy the car if I could crack that number, and in 15 laps I did.

“Look I love the Viper, but it’s a very different car to the R8. The Audi is a full aero car, more refined and balanced than the Viper, and it’s nicer to drive.

“The Viper might have more torque, but it’s limited in aero compared to the Audi which feels more precise.”
McLaughlan’s decision to take on the Audi too was timely after the Viper was shipped off to New Zealand for the final round of the 2013 championship ahead of the final round of the Victorian State Series.

“That really made my decision for me. I knew I wanted the Audi for next season, but with the Viper on the water to New Zealand, I didn’t have a car for the final round of state series at Phillip Island and I was right in the title chase, so we wheeled the Audi out for its first event.”

The result, victory, and the state series Sports Car crown.

“It was a pretty tough day with some big accidents in the field, but the Audi was faultless, and typically consistent. It was quick enough to grab the win in the final full-length race, but I know after the weekend that I can still find a second to a second and a half, and that would put me within reach of some of the top guys.

“That said, it’s still a 2011 car, and I have no current plans to upgrade to the 2013 spec like Rod Salmon and Mark Eddy, I’ll keep it in full LMS spec, as is, and battle Dean Koutsoumidis and the rest of the Trophy Class field for GT honours next year.

“I’m really looking forward to the 2014 season, it’s a great calendar, especially for the Victorian brigade with three events down here, but the mix of longer and shorter races really appeals, I’m looking forward to it.”

For McLaughlan and the Melbourne Performance Centre team, focus now turns to the final round of the Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli at Highlands Motorsport Park in New Zealand on November 8-10 where McLaughlan will be joined by the Viper’s former owner Greg Crick, to do battle with the MPC Audi’s of Rod Salmon and Dean Koutsoumidis. 

Melbourne Performance Centre is proudly supported by, One World Bar, Equity-One, Primus Australia, Companion Brands, The Audi Race Experience, PH Motorsport Trailers - supplier of the new Audi Sports Customer racing transporter, BluFi Wireless Australia, Questek Australia, Top Gun Restorations and Wrap my Ride.

The Audi Race Experience
Get behind the wheel yourself to discover a new level of excitement with the Audi Driving Experience. Refine your technique, develop more skilled control at higher speeds and pursue the ultimate in performance.

From advanced programs, right through to the Audi race experience, there is a program to suit every kind of driver.

The Audi Driving Experience makes use of a range of Audi’s vehicles, from sports road cars right through to their Bathurst winning race vehicles. From Audi’s advanced driving courses, you can move through to the Audi sportscar experience and finally, the Audi race experience where you can slip behind the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 racecar that holds the mantel of Australian GT and Bathurst 12-Hour Champion.

To find out more, call Melbourne Performance Centre today.

Melbourne Performance Centre
521 Mountain Highway,
Bayswater VIC 3153
Phone: 03 9738 2294
Fax: 03 9738 2296