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May 20, 2014

DRIVERS READY TO DO THE DOUBLE AT PHILLIP ISLAND

ELEVEN DRIVERS will attempt to ‘do the double’ during round three of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals at Phillip Island this weekend.

The endurance-only format and appearance of high profile categories has encouraged several notable drivers to double up their duties in an attempt to get two shots at some silverware at one of Australia’s best tracks.

For the first time, both days of practice, qualifying and racing will be streamed live on the internet via Nationals TV – available for free via the Shannons Nationals website.

Seven drivers will double up the pair of Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Pro/Am one-hour races with the 101-lap Australian GT enduro on Saturday afternoon, while three will tackle both the GT enduro and the Great Southern 4-hour AMChamp race on Sunday.

Radical Australia Cup champion Neale Muston will ensure every category has some crossover activity when he jumps from his V8-powered Radical SR8 RX into a Porsche for Carrera Cup’s Shannons Nationals debut this weekend.

Two combinations have decided to tackle two separate categories as a team as well, jumping between different cars from one race to the next.

Regular endurance partners Roger Lago and David Russell will jump from Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car in Carrera Cup to a Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 in the Australian GT Championship 101 – that particular combination a strong outright favourite in each of Australia’s top GT-based classes at the Island.

Meanwhile, Donut King Racer Tony Alford will be paired with Ryan McLeod in his Australian GT Lotus Exige and his AMChamp BMW 1M in the Great Southern 4-hour.

Should Alford and McLeod go the full distance in each race, they should complete nearly 1100km across two days – nicely mirroring racing’s most famous ‘double’ held in the United States the same weekend.

Former NASCAR champion Kurt Busch will be the first in several years to attempt the Indianapolis 500-mile IndyCar and Charlotte 600-mile NASCAR races on the same day, the same weekend as Phillip Island’s Shannons Nationals round.

This weekend’s round is the first endurance-only event to be held by the Shannons Nationals – a massive contrast to the previous round at Mallala which was predominantly short, sprint races.

The second running of the Great Southern Four-hour will continue the competitive battle throughout all of the Australian Manufacturers Championship classes but particularly between Mitsubishi and BMW for the outright honours.

Defending winners Bob Pearson and Glenn Seton are returning to defend their victory in the outright battle last year, driving the Pro Duct Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X.

The bumper Australian GT Championship grid looks set to feature 27 cars, with the Vicious Rumour Racing Ferrari 458 set to be a late addition to the field, V8 Supercars regular Tony D’Alberto drafted in to co-drive with regular pilot, Tony Defelice.

The remarkable grid includes powerhouse combinations like Erebus Motorsport young guns Richard Muscat and Jack LeBrocq, with Muscat having won the opening round of the championship at Sandown and LeBrocq having won the equivalent Phillip Island round in the thundering SLS AMG twelve months ago.

Picking a winner in the Porsche Carrera Cup will be almost impossible, a selection of top-flight professional drivers joining the ranks from other categories for the pair of ProAm one-hour endurance races this weekend.

V8 Supercars stars David Reynolds, Tim Slade, Nick Percat, Scott McLaughlin, Dale Wood and Jason Bright will be joined by Kumho V8 Touring Car series leader Ryan Simpson, Radical Australia Cup Series leader Neale Muston plus a host of Porsche pro’s like Daniel Gaunt and Johnny Reid.

Former triple World Superbike Champion Troy Bayliss will return to the scene of some of his most memorable two-wheeled exploits, the Motorcyling legend a six-time winner at Phillip Island.

He will join Michael Patrizi in the Onsite Rentals Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car this weekend.

The strong Radical Australia Cup grid will fight out three, 40-minute races and will be the fastest cars racing at Phillip Island this weekend.

Neale Muston and Tim Berryman will continue their battle for the SR8 and outright race victories, while the battle for the four-cylinder SR3s is shaping up to be a pitched fight between Michael Shaw, Peter Paddon, Oliver Smith, Peter Johnston and Kim Burke – the five split by just 18 points at the top of their class battle.

For more round information, visit the round page here

DRIVERS DOING DOUBLE DUTIES

Craig Baird - Carrera Cup (Own Car, Co-driver Max Twigg) GT (With Klark Quinn / McLaren MP412C GT3)
James Koundouris - Carrera Cup (With Sam Power), GT (Own Car, co-driver Steve Owen, Porsche GT3R)
Sam Power - Carrera Cup (Own Car, co-driver James Koundouris), GT (co-driver, Theo Koundouris Porsche 911 GT3 Cup S)
Neale Muston - Radical Australia Cup (Own Car), Carrera Cup (co-driver for Duvashen Padayachee)
Warren Luff - Carrera Cup (Own Car, co-driver Geoff Emery), GT (Audi R8 LMS, with Steven McLaughlin)
John Bowe - GT (Ferrari 458 GT3 with Peter Edwards), AMChamp Great Southern 4 Hour (with Peter O’Donnell BMW 335i Turbo)
Steven Richards - Carrera Cup (Own Car, co-driver Damien Flack), GT (Lamborghini Gallardo GT3 with Justin McMillan)
Roger Lago / David Russell - GT (Lamborghini Gallardo GT3), Carrera Cup (Porsche 991 GT3 Cup Car)
Ryan McLeod / Tony Alford - GT (Lotus Exige), AMChamp (BMW 1M)