The 101 race format – a 101 lap endurance race – was first developed for the inaugural Highlands 101 in 2013 when Highlands’ owner Tony Quinn wanted to create a race that rivalled the famed Bathurst 1000.
The Highlands 101 is now the feature race of an event of the same name. It sees up to 42 race cars and two drivers per car take to the track for a three-and-a-bit hour long all-out battle to win the spectacular Highlands’ Claymore trophy.
The idea of 101 laps delivered a race length of approximately three to three-and-a-half hours on the 4.1km Highlands GT circuit – definitely a test even for GT3-spec race cars which are built for endurance racing. The refreshed approach to the Le Mans running start (see below) was added to the mix to make the race more entertaining for fans and challenging for team strategy. Then there are the compulsory pit stops (CPS) which feature in all Australian GT (AGT) Championship races along with the mix of amateur and professional race drivers – there sure is a lot going on during the race for teams and fans to follow!
The 2015 Highlands 101 represents the third edition of the 101 at Highlands. The first two editions were won by Highlands’ owner Tony Quinn in his Aston Martin Vantage GT3 co-driven by Kiwi V8 race star Fabian Coulthard in 2013 and Australian V8 Supercar championship winner Garth Tander in 2014.
The 101 format has also been adopted at the AGT’s Phillip Island round last season where Quinn and Tander again took victory. This season the Phillip Island 101 attracted the biggest AGT field ever – 35 cars – in the championship’s history and delivered a new winning driver combination in the form of current AGT championship leader German racer and Nurburgring 24 Hour winner Christopher Mies and co-driver Greg Crick. However Quinn and Tander were second in Quinn’s new McLaren 650S GT3.
This year the Highlands 101 uses the qualifying system adopted for this season’s AGT season. Two 20-minute qualifying sessions will run on Sunday morning, one for each nominated driver in each car. The starting grid will be determined by taking the fastest time for each car from these sessions.
Source: Highlands Motorsport Park Website