An epic year of racing for Fraser Ross and team #59Racing in the McLaren 720S GT3 came to a conclusion on the 10th November 2019 for the last round of the Australian GT Championship at Sandown Raceway in Melbourne. The year highlighted by Fraser Ross winning the first ever race for the McLaren 720S GT3 at the Australian Grand Prix in March, two lap records at Sandown & Gold Coast. 3 Poles in a row adding to a total of 6 poles, 2 wins and 8 podiums.
After a stunning performance at last round’s Gold Coast street circuit, where Fraser secured pole position and a P3 finish for Race 1, then going on to set a new track record (his second for the 2019 season) and securing the outright win in Race 2, Fraser and the #59Racing team were pumped and very much looking forward to the final of the 2019 series and the promise of an epic battle.
“After such a fantastic last round, I was super excited to be back at Sandown, the heart of Australian GT Racing. There’s such history here, I love the track, we’ve had great success here and the McLaren 720S GT3 is absolutely brilliant around this circuit. The last time we were here in Round 5, I set a new lap record so I was stoked to be back!” said Fraser.
The weekend started out on a high with Fraser posting a solid qualifying performance on Friday to deliver pole position for the team. “The #59Racing team have been working super hard in the lead up to this round and we were all excited to see what we can achieve and cap off what has been an epic year with the McLaren 720S GT3 and McLaren Customer Racing” said Fraser.
In cold and damp conditions, Race #1 got underway just after 4pm local time on Friday. After a few bits of bad luck and hard racing, Fraser dropped a couple of placings but hung on to 4th place in the McLaren 720S GT3.
“It was a tough race, credit to the other drivers, we did our best but just missed out on a podium. The car was feeling really good though, even in the wet, it handles beautifully” said Fraser.
Early Saturday morning saw Race #2 set off with a rolling start, positions set by placings from Race #1, meaning Fraser started in 4th on the second row. With the sun finally shining through after an early rain shower, Fraser and team #59Racing decided to go out on slicks to take advantage of the drying track. “The track dries up fast out there so it was a no brainer to go with slicks.” explained Fraser.
“I was looking to move up early on, and got through to third place at turn 11, then quickly moved up into second a couple of turns later. I pushed ahead to get some clear air and managed to post a few fastest laps before heading into the pits and handing over to my co-driver Ryan Simpson. Ryan did a fantastic job, also pushed hard and did a great job to secure second place at the end of race two” said Fraser.
Frustratingly, team #59Racing then had an issue with the fire-bomb inside the car just before commencement of the final race which couldn’t be resolved in time, meaning they had to retire and post a DNF for Race #3.
“I was obviously disappointed to finish the season this way, for the whole team as well as for the sponsors. But sometimes these things happen in racing, so we’ll go away and do a lot of work in the off season to come back bigger, better and as a stronger team next year.” Fraser said.
Fraser was reasonably pleased with his overall Championship placing of 6th position for the 2019 season.
“Considering all the challenges that happened throughout the year, we’re pretty pleased with 6th, but the whole team’s hungry for more so we’ll definitely go away and work hard over summer to come back stronger next year.” exclaimed Fraser.