Mar 23, 2015
PREVIEW: PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE
PORSCHE GT3 CUP CHALLENGE PRESENTED BY PIRELLI
A staple of the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals program, the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia (presented by Pirelli) has evolved over its seven seasons to date to become Porsche’s equivalent of the V8 Supercars development series. Last year’s two champions, Fraser Ross (Class A) and Matt Campbell (Class B) are now in Carrera Cup, along with former series front runners like Richard Muscat and Michael Almond. Split into two classes, the GT3CC continues to utilise the 2011-specification 997 GT3 Cup Porsche in the outright class and the 2007-spec cars as the entry level Class B. In 2015 the series will again feature a mixture of young drivers looking to progress their careers to those just looking to enjoy driving one of the flat-six weapons at great tracks.
ROUNDS + FORMAT:
Sandown, Winton, Sydney Motorsport Park (July), Queensland Raceway, Phillip Island and Sydney Motorsport Park (November).
The Winton, SMSP July and QR rounds will again feature the Jim Richards’ Endurance Trophy series of one-hour endurance races and two sprints, whilst the remaining three rounds feature a trio of shorter sprint affairs mirroring Carrera Cup’s format.
Kumho V8 series star Ryan Simpson makes the switch from Ford Falcon to Porsche 997 this year and brings Sonic Motor Racing – the team that won the inaugural GT3CC series with Sven Burchartz in 2008 – back with him in a combination that must enter amongst the outright favourites.
Also joining the fray will be 16-year-old Aaron Seton (son of Glenn) who impressed so much in the AMChamps last year. Seton will race a 2007-spec 997 owned and supported by Scott Taylor Motorsport in the first of what is suspected to be a multi-year development program in the Porsche ranks.
Of those returning it’s a trio of John’s who should factor as championship contenders this year. John Goodacre, John Karytinos and Jon McCorkindale all raced at the front of the field last year and are likely to be the three who offer the stoutest defence to the speedy newcomers this season.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
The trio of one-hour races that make up the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy have quickly become the highlight of the GT3 Cup Challenge Series and are classified ‘must win’ races by competitors – offering up a different challenge to the usual sprint races.
However, like their big brothers in Carrera Cup, the more numerous sprint races are always toughly contested.
Also, keep an eye out for those punching above their weight in the generation-one 997s. They give away power and aero to the newer cars but, as Matt Campbell proved last year, if you can punch above your weight in those cars people will definitely take notice.
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