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Jun 12, 2015

IROC SERIES COMMENCES AS NATIONALS CATEGORIES WARM UP WINTON

THE FIRST steps towards a successful new racing category have been taken at Winton Motor Raceway as the IROC Challenge Series for classic Porsche’s took to the track for the first time today.

Round 3 of the 2015 Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals hosts the IROC Challenge Series’ debut this weekend along with six other key National racing categories.

Sven Burchartz set the fastest time across three sessions held for the compact IROC field – the long-time Porsche competitor noting some synergies with another formative category also started with the Shannons Nationals eight years ago.

“It’s got the same kind of feel that we had when we started the GT3 Cup Challenge in 2008,” Burchartz, one of the founding members of the still flourishing Porsche series, said.

The Melbourne lawyer won the inaugural season of the GT3 Cup Challenge in 2008 and has since turned his attention to heritage-style racing - becoming one of the first to commit to the new IROC concept for 1970s-specification Porsche 911s.

In an odd twist of fate, the driver who beat Burchartz to win the first ever GT3 Cup Challenge round (at Mallala in 2008) could turn out to be Burchartz’s toughest rival for this weekend’s IROC Challenge opener – South Australian Graeme Cook showing plenty of pace today.

“You can talk and talk about something new in this sport, but the best way to showcase what it’s all about is by getting cars on the track. It’s great to be part of something new and show people that the series is here, the cars are presented to an extremely high level and that we’re all confident it’s going to grow into something really great.

“They’re fantastic things to drive and the racing should be great. We’re all looking forward to being part of its growth from here.”

Six IROC Challenge cars have fronted for the opening round, with a further four close to completion ahead of an anticipated debut later this year.

As part of his support of the series, Burchartz has donated the ‘Porsche Cup’ to be awarded to the IROC Challenge series winner this year.

The Porsche Cup has been a longstanding award in Australian motorsport and was the trophy behind a strong stand alone one-make Porsche championship prior to the formation of Carrera Cup in 2003.

Meanwhile, the compelling battle for this year’s Australian Formula 3 Championship continues to be waged between Victorian Ricky Capo and Sydneysider Jon Collins, with the pair split by just one-tenth of a second across three practice sessions today.

Capo topped all three sessions today with the margin decreasing between the pair each time they hit the track. Collins is coming off the back of a victory at Phillip Island last month, while Capo won the season opener at Sandown.

“We got closer and closer each session so it’s clear we’re making progress, but today he was just that little bit quicker,” Collins said.

“It’s been a great fight so far and the competition between the two of us is great... It’s always good to have someone driving you forward each time you get on the track.

“We’ve shown so far this year that it only takes two cars to have a good motor race and I’m certain there’ll be nothing between us for the rest of the year.”

Championship leader Christian Morina topped practice ahead of the third round of the Australian Formula Ford Series, edging out Canberran Cameron Hill by 0.1s in the third and final session.

Mornia, who drives for Sonic Motor Racing, is the only multiple race winner across the first two rounds of Formula Ford this year, and looks to have a tough battle maintaining his series lead this weekend thanks to a strong 20-car entry received this weekend.

Liam McAdam and Alex Rullo were amongst the quickest drivers across a trio of Kumho V8 Touring Cars series practice sessions, though with no official practice until tomorrow it remains difficult to pick the pacesetter amongst what is likely the most open Kumho series round in years.

Jon McCorkindale topped the charts in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge presented by Pirelli, the series set to embark on the first of three ‘Jim Richards Enduro Trophy’ races on Saturday evening.

The series of near hour-long races have become a ‘must win’ affair amongst the regular sprint racing season.

Ben Grice edged Simon Tabinor to be quickest in practice for the Dial Before You Dig Australian Super Six Touring Cars series, the pair split by just 0.1s as the series heads towards a pair of 30-minute mini-enduro races this weekend.

Championship leader Roger I’Anson topped the times in practice for the Australian Sports Racer Series.

Saturday’s schedule includes practice, qualifying and racing and concludes with a pair of 30-lap races – one each for Super Six Touring Cars and the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge.

Tickets are just $15 at the gate tomorrow.