Unprecedented one-make racing: This weekend’s Porsche Carrera Cup Australia round at the Porsche Rennsport Australia Motor Racing Festival will raise the bar on on-track competition.
A record-high of 42 drivers will set their sights on Sydney Motorsport Park for the Porsche category’s first ever co-driver Pro-Am event, where each Professional Class driver will team up with an Elite Class driver – and vice-versa – for two 60-minute races – a duration longer than any previous Carrera Cup Australia race.
For the first time, a Carrera Cup Australia round format will consist of two races only, with the grid for Race 1 to be determine by the combined fastest lap from the Professional Class and Elite Class qualifying sessions. This new format will therefore see the first ever Elite Class racer to be awarded pole position.
Joining the regular Carrera Cup racers this weekend will be the likes of Porsche Carrera Cup Asia leader Earl Bamber and Porsche racers past and present – James Davison, Luke Youlden, Theo Koundouris, Jeff Bobik, Richard Muscat, Simon Middleton, John Goodacre, Peter Hill, David Russell, Xavier West and Rodney Jane. Also, new to the Carrera Cup championship will be Kiwi John Penny, Geoff Emery, Dale Wood, Aussie Racing Cars ace Adam Gowans, Steve Owen, Andrew Jones and triple World Superbike Champion, Troy Bayliss.
V8 Supercars drivers Alex Davison and David Wall will return to the one-make category, while Tim Slade will make his Carrera Cup debut when joining Elite Class driver Marc Cini.
While four V8 Supercars drivers were originally slated to race in the Porsche festival, Lee Holdsworth was forced to withdraw, being unable to reach the Rennsport event in time due to tumultuous weather causing flight cancellations in the United States upon his return from last weekend’s V8 Supercars event.
While the Erebus Motorsport V8 driver won’t line up for the two Carrera Cup races, Elite Class driver Michael Loccisano has found a worthy replacement in Jonny Reid.
“I was really looking forward to teaming up with someone from the V8 Supercar series, and especially Lee who is one of the class drivers of that field. However it's great to be able to get Jonny on board; he’s a great driver in these cars and is more than capable as a Rennsport co-driver,” said Elite Class driver Loccisano, who is looking forward to the new event format.
“It's great that new elements - two co-driver one-hour races - are added this weekend's Carrera Cup round. Going away from the sprint races to the endurance style format is just fantastic and we're all looking forward to this weekend.”
One of the last combinations to be announced was that of reigning champion Craig Baird and his Kiwi countryman John Penny, with the former suggesting that the Rennsport round will be crucial for the championship title hunt.
“It's not a round where you can win the championship, but it's certainly a round where you can lose the championship,“ said Baird.
“I'll go there and give it 110 per cent, but obviously we are all reliant on co-drivers. For me, my choice of co-driver in John Penny was not so much for outright speed, but someone who could deliver the car back to me preferably in one piece and collect some good points.”
“This event is great because it provides an opportunity for some of the businessmen in our category who support Carrera Cup week-in and week-out, who never get a chance for real podiums, a more level playing field to get a very good result. They are the core part of the championship and it’s vital for our category that those guys enjoy their racing. This gives them the opportunity to get a great result and keep them enthusiastic about the championship.”
The third round of the 2013 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship will be sponsored by Sydney Helicopters, with Sydney Helicopters branding to feature on the windscreen banners of the entire Carrera Cup field for the two-day event.
The entire Porsche Rennsport Australia Motor Racing Festival, including all Porsche Carrera Cup Australia sessions, can be viewed live via the event’s live stream at www.rennsportlive.com.au.
The third round of the Porsche championship will then feature an hour-long television episode on SBS on Sunday June 9, 2013.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia – Race Schedule
Saturday May 25, 2013
8:51am Practice 1 30 minutes
11:06am Practice 2 30 minutes
2:00pm Qualifying – Professional Class 20 minutes
3:19pm Qualifying – Elite Class 20 minutes
4:35pm Sponsor Rides
Sunday May 26, 2013
8:30am Sponsor Rides
10:52am Race 1 60 minutes
2:19pm Race 2 60 minutes
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia – Round 3 Entry List
Car # Driver Co-Driver
1 Craig Baird John Penny
4 Stephen Grove Earl Bamber
6 Tony Walls James Davison
7 Warren Luff Geoff Emery
8 Max Twigg Luke Youlden
9 Marc Cini Tim Slade
10 Michael Loccisano Lee Holdsworth
12 Steven Richards Theo Koundouris
13 James Bergmuller Dale Wood
19 Damien Flack David Wall
20 Duvashen Padayachee Jeff Bobik
21 Shae Davies Adam Gowans
24 Tony Bates Alex Davison
29 Michael Patrizi Troy Bayliss
34 Richard Muscat Simon Middleton
47 James Koundouris Steve Owen
50 Matt Kingsley John Goodacre
55 Renee Gracie Peter Hill
56 Shane Smollen David Russell
88 Andrew Jones Xavier West
222 Nick Percat Rodney Jane