The Australian GT Challenge would start off its season at the Shannons Motorsport round at Phillip Island with two 1-hour races across the weekend, and some popular names in the driver’s seats.
Bathurst 1000 Champion and V8 Supercars pot thrower David Reynolds would join Tony Bates Racing in their Audi R8. Reigning Supercars champion Shane Van Gisbergen would also be racing for Triple 8 Racing in a fresh AMG GT3, and fan favourite and two-time Bathurst 1000 champion Chaz Mostert would also get a late call up to join Liam Talbot Racing and race their Audi R8.
With the ride range of performance from cars, teams and drivers, the competition was split into four classes; Pro-Am, Amateur, GT Trophy and GT4.
The unique part about this global championship is that points are awarded to the manufacturer, multiplied by the amount of cars in that race. At the end of the year, the manufacturer with the most points across each championship in Asia, Europe, America and Australia wins the title of best across the global.
In the first practice session for the year, Audi ace Christopher Mies went fastest with a 1:29.0, with the pair of Tony Bates and David Reynolds two tenths behind in another Audi R8 LMS Evo.
In second practice, Triple 8 would find pace, with Shane Van Gisbergen topping the timesheets in the Mercedes AMG GT3 with a 1:29.3 . Liam Talbot and Chaz Mostert would be eight tenths behind in the CoinSport Audi R8 LMS Evo. Tony D'Alberto and Adrian Dietz would make the top three in their hypnotic looking Lamborghini Huracan GT3
Qualifying would be split into two sessions at the end of Friday, giving teams with two drivers the chance to send them both out for a chance to set the fastest lap. Brett Hobson, part of the GT Trophy class would surprise everyone on debut in his Nissan GTR GT3 by snatching overall pole from Chaz Mostert and Liam Talbot by four hundredths of a second. On the second row would be reigning champion Yasser Shahin and Christian Mies and alongside them, Brad Shumacher in the Kelso Audi R8.
Brett Hobson unfortunately wouldn't be able to hold off Liam Talbot in the first stint of the race, and when Chaz Mostert took over, the gap increased.
And although Christian Mies would close in on Mostert in the final stages, it wasn't enough as the CoinSport Audi R8 would take the first victory of the year's Australian GT World Challenge.
Van Gisbergen and Jeffri Ibrahim would snatch third from Tony Bates and David Reynolds, when Bates received a penalty for a safety car infringement.
Because not all teams had to do driver changes during pit stops, each pit stop had to be at least 60 seconds long. If it wasn't a drive through penalty would be given, such was the case for both Lamborghini Huracan's in Race 1.
Garry Higgon and Paul Stokell would take the win in Amateur class, followed by Mike Sheargold and Garth Walden in the Sheargold AMG GT3, with Matt Stoupas rounding out the podium in the other KFC Audi R8.
Despite holding a comfortable overall lead at the start, Brett Hobson would be caught out by the early safety car, and would then be overtaken by Talbot and Shahin. He would still win in the the GT Trophy class, followed by Brad Shumacher and Vince Muriti in the Perfect Auto Body AMG GT3.
In the GT4 class, Ross Poulakis and debutant Sam Brabham would grab the win ahead of Mark Griffith in the other Mercedes AMG GT4, with Madeleine Stewart in the Ginetta, rounding out the results for Race 1.
Both Christopher Mies and Shane Van Gisbergen would nail the start of race 2, swamping pole sitter Chaz Mostert into turn 1. Despite the start, Mostert would jump back up into second in a side by side move on Van Gisbergen at the Hayshed with David Reynolds soon following suit.
More wheel to wheel action would ensue for the top three after the pit stops, but it would be Yasser Shahin and Christopher Mies that would prevail, followed by Mostert and Talbot and Reynolds and Bates, an all Audi podium for Pro-Am.
In Amateur, Matt Stoupas would take the top step, followed by Mike Sheargold and Garth Walden in second and Mark Rosser driving the Catan Audi R8 to third.
Brad Schumacher would win the GT Trophy class, whilst Dean Koutsoumidis would grab a podium after finding the tyre barriers in Race 1. Brett Hobson would cap off the Nissan GTR’s debut with a third place.
Ross Poulakis and Sam Brabham would go two from two in the GT4 class followed by Mark Griffith and Madeline Stewart in the unique Ginetta.
Next up for the Australian GT World Challenge is the infamous Bathurst 12 Hour. Australia's GT teams and drivers will be put on the international stage, at one of the world's most feared race tracks.