Two weeks after Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia raced in the rugged surrounds of Mount Panorama, the one-make championship this weekend experiences a change of scenery - the beachside street circuit of Surfers Paradise.
A field of 18 Porsche racers will line up for the three-day event, of which two young locals, Shae Davies and Nick Foster, are eager to impress in familiar surroundings.
Davies will experience his first taste of Carrera Cup competition – along with fellow debutant Morgan Mutch – at the 2.96 km circuit when racing the Porsche Guest Car only a stone’s throw from his Gold Coast residence.
“The last two years I’ve had really strong results at the track in Formula Ford, but I am still pinching myself that this year I’ll be charging around the streets of Surfers in a Porsche Carrera Cup car,” said Davies.
“I live just a couple of hundred metres from the northern end of the circuit, which makes this a genuine home race for me, and I can't wait to get out there this weekend."
Carrera Cup Australia regular Nick Foster is another youngster excited about the prospects of racing at his home event.
The Queensland resident raced at the street circuit in last year’s Australian Formula Ford Championship round and, while he met several hurdles throughout the event, posted a new Formula Ford lap record with third in the final race.
“The Gold Coast 600 a great event with such a great race track, so I can’t wait to get behind the wheel this weekend,” said Foster.
“We experienced some mixed result at the last round at Bathurst; however we came away from a tough weekend with a relatively straight car. I’m now looking forward to racing at a local track with some great new backers on board. I showed some great speed here last year so I’m hoping I can translate that into impressive results in the Porsche.”
All eyes will be on championship leader Craig Baird during the Queensland round following his clean sweep of Carrera Cup race wins at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 at Mount Panorama.
Baird not only has momentum and a strong 114-point championship lead over Alex Davison on his side, the Gold Coast local is a proven talent on the Gold Coast layout, taking three wins from three races at Surfers Paradise in 2011.
Furthermore, Baird is the only driver to have won two rounds of the Porsche championship on the Gold Coast circuit (2004, 2011), leading sole round winners Jim Richards (2003), Fabian Coulthard (2005), Alex Davison (2006), Marcus Marshall (2007) and James Moffat (2008).
The battle in the Elite Class will be one to watch in Surfers Paradise, with 2011 Gold Coast round winner Paul Kelly returning to the championship after missing the past two events at Townsville and Bathurst.
Elite Class leader Max Twigg and second-placed James Koundouris are also expected to battle towards the front. Twigg and Koundouris have won three and two Elite Class rounds, respectively, this year; with the latter taking the most recent victory at the iconic Bathurst circuit.
Twigg and Koundouris are split by 249 points in the current Elite Class standings; however this points difference is reduced to only 103 when dropping the pair’s worst point-scoring round to tally their overall Elite Class total.
Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia’s first on-track session at the Armor All Gold Coast 600 will be held on Friday October 19, with two races set for Saturday and the final race of the round on Sunday morning.