Stars aligning for GT World Challenge Australia

The Motorsport Australia GT Championship grid is starting to shape up with a number of high profile names confirming their entry for the 2021 season.

Headlining the growing field of entries will be Triple Eight Racing and Shane van Gisbergen with the 2020 Repco Bathurst 1000 winner to line up alongside His Highness Prince Jefri Ibrahim for five of the six rounds.

The duo will race the series as part of Triple Eight’s new programme which will see the collaboration between the Queensland based outfit and Johor Motorsports Racing continue after first joining together for the 2019 GT World Challenge Asia.

With Prince Jefri Ibrahim to race the full season, having relocated to Australia from Malaysia, van Gisbergen was excited to be able to race in all but one of the rounds.

“GT is one of my favourite categories to race in, and I’m really excited that we’ve been able to continue racing these cars in Australia this year,” van Gisbergen said.

“It’s cool that Prince Jefri has made Australia his temporary home for the next year, which will allow me to help with his training programme and make sure he’s as competitive as possible after being out of the car and not competing for over a year.

“It will be awesome to work with him and get him back up to speed and continue to build on what we achieved in 2019.”

The New Zealander isn’t the only driver from the Repco Supercars Championship ready to race in the series this year, with Tim Slade also confirmed to partner up with New South Welshman Brad Schumacher.

Locked in to debut in his first national category, Schumacher will contest every round of the 2021 season behind the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS, with Slade to join him for the round at Bathurst later this year, as well as provide ongoing assistance to Schumacher Motorsport.

Ahead of his maiden campaign on the national stage after successful stints at state level, Schumacher was thrilled to be able to have Slade by his side as part of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia, Powered by AWS.

“He’ll (Slade) be assisting me at every test day and any round that doesn’t clash with his Supercars schedule, acting as driver coach and engineer, and co-driving with me in the end of year at Bathurst,” Schumacher said.

“Tim and I met through a mutual friend Chad Parish originally. Chad recommended that we catch up and from there, form a friendship. One thing led to another and we decided to work together to help progress my racing career, as I’ve previously never had any driver coaching as such.

“Sladey was initially impressed with my progression as an amateur driver and thought I could use some advice to reach the next level. For me, having a guy like Tim in my corner is a massive confidence boost especially based off his experience in GT cars both nationally and internationally.

“GT based cars are really the only cars that I’ve driven and having stepped up from state racing to the national level, we’re looking forward to testing ourselves against the best drivers and teams that this country has to offer.”

The Motorsport Australia GT Championship begins its 2021 season later this month at the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships’ Australian All Wheels Race Fest at Phillip Island on 18-21 February.