Bond University Law alumnus Kenny Habul has clinched the Intercontinental GT Challenge Bronze Driver’s world championship.
The title is the biggest achievement in Habul’s career which started in Formula Ford in Australia in the late 1990s and was reignited with recent NASCAR and Sportscar events after several years devoted building his successful solar energy business.
Now based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Habul was a guest speaker at a Bond Business Leaders Forum earlier this year.
Ironically, Habul's guest speaking role at the Bond Business Leaders Forum came just a day after he raced to second place in the famous Bathurst 12-hour event driving with European stars Tristian Vautier and Raffaele Marciello and seven-time Supercars champion and fellow Gold Coaster Jamie Whincup.
That result laid the foundation for a tremendous season which then involved another podium finish in the Spa 24-hour and a win at the Suzuka 10-hour in Japan.
He clinched the title after a drama-packed final round at Laguna Seca Raceway in California.
“What an amazing year,” said Habul.
“This championship was not really on the radar at all at the start of the year.
“I did the Bathurst 12-hour and finished on the podium there and then I became more aware about this and what it had to offer and it was appealing, really exciting.
“We got to race on some of the coolest race tracks in the world, stuff I dreamt about when I was a kid growing up in Australia.
“Then we started to have some success, which is not easy against these guys.
“All year I have been close to the pros’ times and that’s what I am most happy about, proving that I could be close and I am competitive, in all conditions.
"I must have gotten some motivation from my visit back to Bond.
“What a year, I think I should quit now because it’s not going to get much better than this.”
A slower competitor drove into the side of Habul’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 early in the second hour of the Laguna Seca race and forced him back to the paddock area on the back of a recovery truck with badly damaged steering.
His team worked frantically for two hours to get the car back in the race with the knowledge that the entry had to complete 70% of the laps of the overall winner to be deemed a finisher.
The car rejoined the field and Habul shared driving duties with his co-drivers Mikael Grenier and Luca Stolz to reach the minimum number of laps with just 12 minutes remaining in the race.
The car was officially classed 27th outright and fourth in class to give him the championship by 17 points.
Habul praised the efforts of the Mercedes-AMG operation of which he is a customer.
“Mercedes-AMG have been amazing since I bought the car. Their support is first class,” said Habul.
“For someone like me, I just don’t have time (to put in the preparation) and I expect the manufacturer to step in and help me and do what they need to do to ensure I get to races and everything is competitive and they did that.
“It was fascinating how AMG used their group of customers around the world to help us win this championship as part of four different teams, starting with Scott Taylor Motorsport at Bathurst back in February.”
Habul is likely to visit the Gold Coast in February before again heading to the Bathurst 12-hour.
The 45 year-old is committed to next year's Intercontinental GT Challenge which starts with the Bathurst 12-hour and continues with the California 8 Hours at Laguna Seca (March 30), Total 24 Hours of Spa (July 27-28), Suzuka 10 Hour, Japan (August 25) and the new Kyalami 9 Hours in South Africa (November 3).