A strategic run for Brett Hobson has given the Trophy Am class driver overall victory in the first Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS race of the weekend at The Bend Motorsport Park.
Hobson took his first-generation Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 to the win in Saturday’s rain-soaked race, which started on a slightly damp circuit before turning into full wet conditions in the final 15 minutes.
The 35-year-old amateur driver was one of the few cars to start on slick Pirelli tires and quickly jumped out into a 20-second lead until a full course caution for the No. 3 Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Eric Constantinidis, which spun into the gravel.
While the majority of the field struggled on wet tires on a still-dry track, Hobson regained his advantage following the restart prior to pitting for his mandatory stop, which the Hobson Motorsport crew elected to put wet weather tires on the Nissan just as the heaven’s started to open up.
He crossed the line a commanding 51.587 seconds ahead of the No. 777 MPC Audi of Yasser Shahin and Garth Tander, who made a late pass around the sister No. 24 Audi of
O’Keefe, subbing for Supercars ace Chaz Mostert, made contact with teammate Tander moments after before suffering a quick spin and continuing.
Shahin and Tander claimed top Pro-Am class honors despite the runner-up overall finish.
The No. 5 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Greg Taylor came home fourth with Mark Rosser’s completing the top-five overall.
Triple Eight Engineering’s Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Brock Feeney finished sixth after its Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo made two pit stops, one for wet weather tires under the safety car period prior to the driver change a few minutes later.
Ibrahim ran as high as second in the early stages while on slicks.
Grove Racing’s Porsche 911 GT3 R was another team to get caught out in the changing conditions, with multiple stops for the father-and-son pairing of Stephen and Brenton Grove, who finished 12th overall.
Race 2 gets underway Sunday at 10 a.m. local time.