New season, new look for GT field

Part of the largest on-track activity of any Grand Prix event on the calendar, the Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne Albert Park track will this year host the opening round of the 2019 Australian GT Championship on 14-17 March.

And the new season will bring with it a new look, as a whole host of new GT racers will debut during the 2019 championship.

Long-time global GT stalwart Aston Martin has a completely new Vantage GT3 racer for the 2019 season, this one powered not by the traditional naturally-aspirated 6.0-litre V12 but instead by a tweaked Mercedes-AMG 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8. 

The Aston Martin-modified Mercedes V8 is installed in an all-new model with fresh body styling underpinned by a new chassis, a combination that’s anticipated to make the new Aston one of the cars to beat in the Australian GT Championship. 

Another bespoke British supercar manufacturer, McLaren, also has a new car for the category.

Typically McLaren-esk with its almost ‘prototype’ like styling, the bold new 720S GT3 replaces the successful 650S GT3 which includes the 2016 Australian GT title among its many global racing achievements.

McLaren’s new GT3 includes the 4.0-litre twin-turbo alloy engine taken from the road going 720S, but more than 90 percent of the road car componentry has been changed or optimised to make it another of the cars to beat in the 2019 season. 

Audi’s GT racer has long been a cornerstone of the GT category and it too has a revised car for 2019. The latest Audi R8 LMS GT3 has a largely unchanged silhouette but with a change to the aero (most visible from the front) and drivability, which is expected to make the package more competitive.

Lamborghini too has updated its successful Huracan GT3 with an EVO model which, like the Audi, continues with the same body shape but features a range of changes including a new engine block and revised aero.

Porsche has an update to its Type 991 Porsche GT3 R.2 with a welcome horsepower boost, with 10 percent more power from the 4.0-litre flat-six naturally aspirated engine, giving its teams a stronger package for the season ahead.

And Nissan too has an update, with the GT-R Nismo GT3 receiving some cosmetic tweaks to bring it in line with the current road car, and mechanically the chassis, suspension, brakes and transmission have all been upgraded.

Which of the new models makes the grid for the 2019 Australian GT Championship season opener’s four races is sure to create a great deal of interest, as will the relative performances of the new models.

It’s another thing to look forward to at this year’s Australian Grand Prix

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