Three-time Motorsport Australia GT Champion Geoff Emery believes his recent title win was just as a special as his previous two, despite being less of a thrill.
In 2017 and 2018, Emery steered his Audi to championship honours on the final lap of the final race, remarkably winning his titles in dying stages of both years.
However last year, consistency and a strong showing of early results saw the Victorian charge up the standings and gain a healthy lead midway throughout the season, one that he was able hold onto for the year.
Despite being in control for much of the year, Emery revealed there was a different kind of pressure on him in 2019 – one that required a change in his frame of mind.
“We didn’t lead the championship in 2017 and 2018 until the last lap of the season, and it was a matter of chasing the title in both years,” Emery said.
“While they were incredible ways to finish the season, this year we were out in front early on and the focus was just trying to keep it all together, which is what we did.
“I felt the pressure big time throughout the year because we had the lead and it was our championship to lose. Other guys have been in that position before and they ended up losing it.
“I was not counting my chickens until we were actually done in the last race. Others have failed in that position, so my focus was to just get it done.”
After winning the opening round at Albert Park, Emery then finished second at Barbagallo before co-driver Garth Tander joined him for the three endurance rounds.
The duo also took out the Endurance Championship with one win and two runner-up placings, which gave them the three-round title and set Emery up for a good run in the remaining two rounds.
With Peter Hackett his closest competitor, something dramatic had to occur for Emery not take out the championship. A third place on the Gold Coast and a second at Sandown all but sealed Emery’s third straight title – one that he savoured.
“When we won the Phillip Island round, it gave us a good run to build on. Then we backed it up with a P2 at The Bend, which really set us up for the championship. From that moment onwards, it was just a matter of completing races,” Emery explained.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to have won three championships in a row, especially for Audi Sport Customer Racing. I’m also happy Garth Tander was able to be part of it as well, especially since he wasn’t able to enjoy the success in 2017 and 2018.
“The celebrations were pretty mild, but it was really good to put it together for those guys.”
While Emery is yet to fully commit to anything in 2020, he will begin his season with the first major race of the year.
“I have the Bathurst 12 Hour coming up, so I am excited to tick that box first. I will be racing alongside Max Twigg, Tony Bates and Dylan O’Keefe in the AM class,” Emery added.
“As for the rest of the year, I don’t know at this point. We are a long way from doing deals.
“However, it looks like I’ll be having a crack at number four. I’m happy with Audi Sport and they are happy with me. We work well together so I feel it will be business as usual in 2020.”
The first round of the 2020 Motorsport Australia GT Championship will be a joint round with the Motorsport Australian Endurance Championship on 30 January to 2 February, as part of the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour.