Nick Kelly has taken out the 2018 CAMS Australian GT Trophy Series after a consistent drive in the season finale at Winton Motor Raceway was enough to seal the deal.
Kelly started the weekend off strong, topping both qualifying sessions to start the first race in pole position before dropping behind Scott Taylor to finish the race in second.
Despite title rival Matthew Stoupas claiming victory in the second race, Kelly only needed a top-five finish to secure the title, which he achieved thanks to a safe drive.
It was a dramatic way to end the title fight that sees Kelly win his first GT Trophy after setting his season up with two opening round wins.
“It feels fantastic,” a proud Kelly said post race.
“I just couldn’t be happier to have got it, particularly after the disaster at Eastern Creek a few weeks ago.
“I don’t want to use the phrase ‘that’s motorsport’, but I’m going to.
“That’s the way it goes. We had a good run and it was about self-control after that.
“Calmness and a bit of application prevails when you’ve got such a good team behind you – all I had to do was drive it.”
Kelly ends the season on 858 points, 26 points above Stoupas who secures second outright in the Trophy Series after leapfrogging Rio Nugara in the final round.
It was a disappointing weekend for Nugara, whose title hopes were dashed early when he could only finish fifth in qualifying and both races outside the podium.
Nugara still managed to end the series on the podium, finishing the season with 795 points.
A second consecutive round podium finish for Dave Stevens saw the Brennan IT Ferrari 458 GT3 pilot remain in fourth place, while John Morriss rounds out the top five, despite not attending the final round.
A consistent drive from Luke and Chris Seidler in the final round saw the father-son duo end their season in sixth position on 290 points.
Taylor made his GT Trophy debut race weekend with an outright round win that saw the CAMS Australian GT Championship regular sneak into the top-10, as well as enjoy a perfect preparation for the GT Championship’s final round in October.
The final round of the CAMS Australian GT Championship, which also doubles as the season finale for the CAMS Australian Endurance Championship, takes place on 13-14 October at Hampton Downs in New Zealand.
1. Nick Kelly, 858 points
2. Matt Stoupas, 836
3. Rio Nugara, 795
4. Dave Stevens, 644
5. John Morriss, 486
6. Luke Seidler/Chris Seidler, 290
7. Vince Muriti, 268
8. Ryan How, 207
9. Dale Paterson, 205
10. Scott Taylor, 191