Sep 15, 2014
SON TO FOLLOW IN FATHERS FOOTSTEPS AT SHANNONS NATIONALS
PLENTY OF drivers have got their national-level racing start at a Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals event – however this weekend’s seventh round of the 2014 series will see a second-generation racer make his debut for the first time.
17-year-old Brenton Grove will make his Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Presented by Pirelli racing debut this weekend at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit, following in the tyre tracks of his Porsche-racing dad Stephen.
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Melbourne businessman Stephen Grove made his national racing debut in the all-Porsche series in 2011 and after several seasons in the category this year progressed to the Porsche Carrera Cup Championship – where he currently leads the Elite class standings.
Brenton made his racing debut earlier this year in the Porsche 944 challenge but, like his Dad, will use the Shannons Nationals as a way to elevate his career into the national ranks at a younger age.
Grove will race a 2008 Porsche 997 GT3 cup Car amongst a strong Porsche field that features as one of eight categories on a bumper three-day weekend of speed at Phillip Island.
Brenton supported his dad at Sandown’s Carrera Cup round last weekend (where Stephen won the ‘Elite’ division) but the situation will be reversed for the Grove clan at Phillip Island this week.
“It’s exciting for him to be going into it but at the same time you’re always a bit apprehensive because you know what’s involved with it,” Stephen Grove said.
“I’m wrapped for him and it’s great to bring him into it.. I’m just wondering how long it’s going to take for him to be quicker than me!”
Grove says has passed on his experiences working his way into the competitive world of national-level racing to his son ahead of the weekend.
“I’ve just told him to go and do laps, work his way through it and learn,” he said.
“For him, it’s all about next year so this weekend I’ve said just to take it slowly, learn the track and the car and take it easy. The 944 series racing he has already done and the testing have been valuable and when he was testing the ’08 car, he was surprisingly quick which was great to see.”
Brenton is taking a measured approach into the event, the finale’ of a competitive six-round Porsche series contested around Australia this year.
“I can’t wait – it will be a good opportunity to see what all the other guys go through and how they tackle it, as well as getting in a faster car,” he said.
“It definitely helps for someone in my position to be exposed to all of that: I know the way it works, the routine of the weekend and what’s needed off the track to try and advance my development on it.
“To see the way Dad has advanced and developed since he’s started driving at this level is a big help.”
Grove has also got some top-level coaching on his side, adding current series leader Fraser Ross – who need only finish the first race on Saturday to win the title – to his list of supporters.
“The plan is to just go out there, get used to the car, the track and the speed and just have fun and enjoy it. Phillip Island is my home track and I love it. I enjoy the track which is important and, as well as Dad, I’ve got Fraser Ross helping me out which will help me advance pretty quickly.
“I can’t wait! I’ve been excited for this for a long time and it’s great that it’s finally going to happen.”
The father-son storyline will be one of many across a massive weekend of motorsport at the seaside 4.46km circuit in Victoria’s South East.
Eight national-level categories covering a whole range of circuit racing disciplines are on a bumper program that includes 24 races and three massive days of on-track action.
As well as the stunning Porsche GT3’s, the Formula 3 Australia Drivers Championship returns to Phillip Island chasing history this weekend with the 14-year-old circuit lap record in the categories sights following impressive times in testing recently.
The Phillip Island circuit is the fastest in Australia with the F3 cars averaging nearly 190km/hr each lap.
The Kumho Tyres Australian V8 Touring Cars, Kerrick Sports Sedans and a bumper 29-car Super Six Touring Cars field will cater for fans of ‘tin-top’ racing while the Radical Australia Cup and Australian Sports Racer Series will offer up open-top thrills for Sports Car supporters.
Finally, a massive field of Superkarts will battle for the national title in their second Shannons Nationals visit this season.
Action gets underway on Friday with official practice ahead of qualifying and racing on Saturday, and a full program of races on Sunday – also streamed live via www.thenationals.com.au
Tickets are available at the gate for $20 (Saturday) and $30 on Sunday, or $35 for the weekend.