The last time the Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia championship raced on the Gold Coast, Craig Baird was the man to beat.
And now, three years on, the Gold Coast based driver will aim to repeat his front-running form and maintain his series lead at his home event – the Armor All Gold Coast 600 on October 21-23.
This weekend, Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia will hold its sixth and penultimate round at the Gold Coast event with four drivers within easy striking distance of the points lead.
Behind Baird in the standings, Jonny Reid, Daniel Gaunt and Steven Richards will all look to chase the title lead and remain in championship contention leading into the season-ending Sydney Telstra 500.
However, three years after Baird snared pole position and two race wins from three races, the New Zealander is looking for success at the ‘relaxing’ three-day event.
“I enjoy the event and I’ve always run well there, so I’m confident heading into the Gold Coast race,” said Baird.
“It’s probably one of my favourite events, not only because I enjoy driving on the track, but it’s also home for me, and my family is always around when I jump out the race car.
“Gold Coast is pumping at that time of year; a real party atmosphere. We always get an apartment on the track and as soon as I’m out of the race car I’m in the pool. It’s the way I like my racing.”
Meanwhile, former Gold Coast resident and Elite Class driver Shane Smollen is looking forward to racing in familiar surroundings after having lived in the Queensland city for 16 years.
“I definitely like street circuits so I feel confident for this weekend. I think I’ve lived in four buildings around the actual track. I’ve definitely seen plenty of the circuit as a spectator, so it will be great to get among the concrete barriers in the Porsche,” said Smollen, who scored his best round result of second place in the Elite Class at Bathurst.
“I’ve definitely done my fair share of driving around the circuit over the years, but usually in a road car at 60 km/h.”
While Smollen will make his debut appearance on the Gold Coast circuit, seven Carrera Cup drivers have previous experience in the all-Porsche category at the street circuit – including Peter Hill, Matthew Coleman, Marc Cini, Craig Baird, James Koundouris, Max Twigg and Theo Koundouris, who will return to the series after missing the past two rounds due to a broken hand.
The Armor All Gold Coast 600 is the penultimate round of the Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia season, with the all-Porsche championship to conclude on the street of Sydney for the Sydney Telstra 500 on December 02-04.