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MEDIA RELEASE/Tony Bates Racing – Photo: supplied

After spending almost 12 months on the sidelines, Tony Bates will finally make his competitive racing return at Phillip Island for next weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia season opener.
Bates will step back into the saddle of his C-Tech Laser/Makita Mercedes-AMG GT3, prepared by Ashley Seward Motorsport; a successful test day a couple of weeks ago has boosted his enthusiasm.
“After not having raced nor been in the car since Barbagallo in May last year, it was a thrill to get back behind the wheel,” Bates said.
“It didn’t take me long to get back into the groove – David Reynolds was on hand to lend a few tips and Ash had the car perfectly balanced, so I was able to punch out some really competitive times on old tyres around Phillip Island, which has me ready and rearing to go for Round 1.”

Unlike previous seasons where he has competed alongside a co-driver of the likes of Reynolds, Jordan Love and co in the Pro-Am class, Bates has elected to race solo in the Am class.
“It’s been a while since I’ve raced on my own, and I’m looking forward to the physical and mental challenges of being in the car for an extended period of time,” he said.
“The aim is seat time, and whilst I would have loved to have competed in the Pro-Am class, the objective here is to get as much seat time as possible, hence the decision to run Am alone. For Round 2 and beyond, I may decide to get back into Pro-Am which is more than likely.
“While it might be the ‘non-professional’ class, there are still some very skilled drivers in the field; I’ll need to bring my absolute A-game, but the goal is definitely to get seat time and be fighting for the class win.”
Bates is also happy to be reunited with the Ashley Seward Motorsport squad, with whom he has enjoyed previous success.
“Ash and I have a long-standing relationship highlighted by my Carrera Cup championship title in 2016; his attention to detail with car preparation has always been meticulous, and we have good chemistry,” Bates said.
“Tony hasn’t raced for 12 months, so it’s more about giving him lap value and getting maximum value for him,” Seward added.
“Despite him being out of the driver’s seat for a while, he was back to a good pace quickly at our recent test.
“It’s great to come back into the GT World Challenge field, and we just want to do the best job that we can for Tony and get him back on the bike.”
The two one-hour GT races at Phillip Island will be broadcast live on 7PLUS.

GT World Challenge Australia Round 1 Schedule
Friday, 12 April
9:45am – Practice 1 (60 min)
1:30pm – Practice 2 (60 min)
Saturday, 13 April
10:35am – Qualifying 1 (20 min)
11:00am – Qualifying 2 (20 min)
1:00pm – Race 1 (60 min)
Sunday, 14 April
2:40pm – Grid Walk (15 min)
2:55pm – Race 2 (60 min)


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