The Australian GT Trophy will reach its dramatic season climax this weekend when the Shannons Nationals hits Winton Motor Raceway for the fifth round of 2018.
Just 32 points separates the top three and with series leader Nick Kelly headlining the nine-car field, a podium finish is likely to seal the title.
However, the New South Welshman’s lack of racing experience at the Victorian circuit compared to his rivals means the race is expected to go right down to the wire.
“It will be a good fair fight and all I have to do is go back to school beforehand and do my homework on Winton, study hard and pray it goes my way,” Kelly explained.
“I’m not thinking about any of that stuff because if it gets into the back of my mind, that could impede my performances for the whole weekend.
“My job is to enjoy the track and my time there and so whatever happens in the championship happens.”
Breathing down the neck of Kelly is fellow Audi R8 LMS Ultra pilots in Rio Nugara and Matthew Stoupas with the pair’ fifth and third in the previous round putting them right into contention.
While an outright championship podium finish may be off the cards for any of the other competing drivers, there will be small battles throughout the field which will keep spectators entertained.
Another Victoria v New South Wales duel will take place for fourth position as Benalla boy John Morriss sits just ahead of David Stevens.
Both drivers have missed a round each this year with Stevens and his Ferrari 458 GT3 not attending the opening round of the season, while Morriss returns to the track after skipping out on the last round.
Like Morriss and his Porsche GT3-R, two cars will return after missing out on the previous round in Sydney, father-son duo Chris and Luke Seidler behind the wheel of their Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car Series 1 and Dale Paterson in his Chevrolet Camaro GT3.
Peterson and the Seidlers will need a lot to go their way if they are to catch another Audi driver in Vince Muriti, with the New South Welshman’s podium finish in Sydney putting him above the two to sit comfortably in sixth.
The final driver on the grid is the only Queenslander in the field with Scott Taylor to make his Trophy debut behind the wheel of Porsche GT3 – R.
The Australian GT Trophy kick off their weekend with a 30-minute practice session on Saturday morning before two 20 minute qualifying sessions in the afternoon.
On Sunday, the trophy will hold the first of two 50-minute races in the morning, before the second race in the afternoon will see the 2018 champion crowned.
The Shannons Nationals at Winton Motor Raceway will take place on 1-2 September with live coverage of Sunday’s sessions available live and free at motorsportaustraliachampionships.com.au.