We always look forward to the Australian Grand Prix weekend, not the least because it is typically the first race of the new Formula 1 season and this year, included the introduction of the much-debated halo device on the 2018 F1 cars.
We have had success at the AGP in the past but it is always a very unpredictable weekend.
We were running Anthony, Tim and Jaxon in the Porsche Carrera Cup as well as Fraser Ross who was competing in the first round of the Australian GT championship.
Like round 1 at the Adelaide 500, this was only Jaxon's second visit to the Albert Park Formula 1 circuit.
He did a great job in qualifying until the last corner of his best lap where a small mistake put him 4th rather than on the front row which he was hoping for.
In race 1 he got a decent start and settled into fourth. After leader McBride went off, he set after Jordan Love and make a tidy pass and pressured leader Wood, but had to settle for second.
In race 2 he did a great job to pile huge pressure on Wood, who unfortunately didn’t make a mistake, giving Jaxon his second, second place finish for the weekend.
(image: jaxon-evans-2.jpg alt: Jaxon Evans with McElrea Racing at the Aust Grand Prix
In race 3 he had a similar dilemma, having plenty of car speed but unfortunately not the track position and finished behind Wood again.
In race 4 Jaxon started on the front row, had an average start, but did a terrific job to avoid the carnage at turn 1 and lead the field to dominate the race and finish with a margin of over three seconds by the end.
Like Jaxon, this was Tim's second visit to the famed F1 street circuit. Tim qualified 6th in Pro-Am, not quite nailing a clean lap when his tyres had their optimum grip.
In race 1 Tim started from 18th, making two positions on the opening lap, then racing through the Pro-Am competitors to be on the bumper of the Pro-Am leader in the final laps. Being the ambitious young fellow he is, he decided to go for glory over points accumulation and (sadly) dropped to 4th.
In race 2, Tim got a cracking start and although the race was cut short by a safety car intervention he remembered his instructions from Luffy and 'Lethal' Leigh Geyer to push through to the Pro-Am class win.
In race 3 he was leading until getting snookered while politely letting a Pro driver through but unfortunately letting Grove past in the process.
Race 4 was a rather feisty affair with Tim being molested by other Pro-Am drivers jealous of his raw speed, but he wisely opted to stay out of the shenanigans to capture a fourth-place finish and take a momentous round win.
This was Gilbo's first visit to Albert Park. He qualified another impressive 4th in Pro-Am and started race 1 from grid 15.
Unfortunately, he was the victim of a stalled car a few rows ahead... When the cars ahead of Anthony cleared he had no time to react and despite great reactions, he made heavy contact with the rear of the stalled car.
The awesome MR crew had a very late night before sending the car to a panel shop in the city for some panel and paint repairs. He missed race two while the car was in surgery, then the car arrived back to the circuit late on Friday night when the #AMRC (awesome MR crew) leap into action to complete the car's assembly.
Gilbo was making great progress in race 3 until a backmarker misinterpreted Anthony's closing speed and turned in on him at turn 1 sending him into the tyre bundle and out of the race with a damaged radiator.
In race 4 Gilbo started from the rear of the grid and after such rotten luck in his first two races, decided on an ultra-conservative strategy to at least get some trouble-free laps around this great circuit, finishing 7th.
The AGT format was slightly complicated with a qualifying session and two races each for the Pro-Am drivers and the Pro drivers.
Fraser and a few other drivers were doing both the Pro and the Pro-Am races. It was always going to be a challenge against the drivers in the Mercedes AMG GT which suit the high-speed fast, flowing nature of Albert Park.
He qualified 10th for race 1 against the Pro drivers and after a battle with Jaie Robson in a Mercedes he finished 9th.
Fraser started on pole for race 2, the first Pro-Am race, and had another great tussle with Robson, with the Merc finally getting past with 4 laps to go.
In race 3 Fraser lined up against the Pro drivers again and acquitted himself very well, finishing 7th in very treacherous wet conditions.
The fourth and final race of the weekend was on Sunday morning before the F1 race and Fraser started from the front row once again. He battled valiantly against the powerful Mercs but had to settle for 3rd behind Robson and Hackett.
It's pretty obvious that we are thrilled to have both Jaxon and Tim on the winners' step of the podium, especially at our highest profile event of the year, supporting the Formula 1 at the Australian Grand Prix. Gilbo had a shocker by anyone's standards but has plenty of speed and just needs a change of luck to start refilling his trophy cabinet.
We had a challenging weekend running the Opticoat Total Logitech Boost McLaren. Without any technical support on the ground from McLaren GT in the UK, #1 mechanic Dano and engineer Campbell Little did a phenomenal job diagnosing minor issues as they came up and constantly liaising with the northern hemisphere for customised engine management software, etc.
As usual, the awesome MR crew prevailed and Fraser was able to post some really solid results to come out of round 1 with 4th in the championship.
We look forward to seeing you all at the next event and will leave you with some shots from the F1 paddock...