By Johan Laubscher
The Island Magic was hosted at Phillip Island in Australia this weekend. This annual motorsport event hosts a number of categories at the end of the Australian motorsport season, including the final round of the NSW Production Sports Car Championship.
Melbourne Performance Centre entered three Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars in the Sports Car races, which included the one-hour CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars.
The weekend's NSW Production Sports Car competition consisted of three races for the Sports Cars division. Two individual sprint races for the two drivers of each car on Saturday, followed by the one-hour CUE Victorian Tourist Trophy for Sports Cars on Sunday.
The Melbourne Performance Centre squad consisted of three Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars. Peter Fitzgerald was driving his #2 EVA Racing/Fitzgerald Racing Services Audi R8 LMS ultra (2012 specification). The second Audi R8 LMS ultra was the #75 JAMEC PEM Racing entry shared by the driving duo of Steven McLaughlan and James Winslow.
Saturday saw both of the five-lap sprint races, highlighted by a pole position and race victory for James Winslow, along with podium finishes for his teammates.
The one-hour Victorian Tourist Trophy was held on Sunday. It was an exciting race with a large field of cars racing at Phillip Island. By the end of the hour-long race it was the #75 JAMEC PEM Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra which was piloted to victory by James Winslow and Steven McLaughlan. For McLaughlan it was a successful title defence of his Victorian Tourist Trophy win from 2013.
It was a double Audi podium with victory for Winslow and McLaughlan, followed by a very strong third place for Peter Fitzgerald in the #2 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Peter Conroy rounded out a terrific weekend for the MPC Audi squad by finishing eighth overall, taking fourth place in the GT class and ensuring that all three of the Audis finished within the overall top ten.
This event may have ended off Melbourne Performance Centre’s 2014 Audi R8 LMS participation, but it is now full steam ahead for the team and their 2015 Bathurst 12 Hour preparations. The team will be running four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the race which will be held from 6-8 February.