After the success of the previous round, which saw the Thomson Geer / Shoal / QxBranch Porsche 997 GT3 only 20 points off the first place on the division leader board, teams spirits going into the Sydney 400 were high!
Preparation was hampered when the prior week, during practice, Michael O’Donnell lost traction and did a 160 km/h spin into a tyre wall. Thankfully, the damage was mostly cosmetic and was fixed just in time for qualifying.
Race 1 on Saturday was scheduled for a midday start, in hot conditions. That morning, the team discovered the car’s driver cooling system had failed, as did the first and second repair attempts, which was a worry as two drivers were hospitalised in Townsville for heat exhaustion in cooler conditions. Shoal’s own Shaun Wilson and the Buik Motorworks guys saved the day, getting a replacement water pump rigged with only minutes to spare before race time.
The rain arrived for race 2 on Sunday, with the slippery track claiming many victims, so much so that most of the race was run under safety car. The team’s car was set up for the conditions, with careful, conservative and defensive driving seeing the team stay clear of any crashes, to finish the race first in division (19th outright out of an initial field of 28)
After 4 rounds the team is currently sitting in first place on the ladder within the division.
The next round is in Sandown Melbourne 11-13 September, followed by the final round of the season in New Zealand 13-15 November.