The 2012 Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia season will kick off this weekend, with the fight for the title stronger than ever.
Triple Carrera Cup champion Craig Baird returns as one of the favourites to claim his fourth crown, however his mission for successive titles will be made difficult by several rivals, including former champion Alex Davison.
While Baird is considered the world’s most successful Porsche one-make series racer, Davison has Porsche credentials to match. The 2004 Carrera Cup Australia champion, Davison has experience in Porsche Carrera Cup Deutschland and a season in the first tier Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup, which included one race win.
Davison’s impressive racing resume, along with his subsequent role as a Porsche Works Driver and a stint in V8 Supercars, leaves him in a good position to challenge Baird for the 2012 Carrera Cup crown.
“I think I’m a strong chance for a shot at the title this year. I’ve done enough Porsche racing in the past to be battling for race wins immediately at the Clipsal 500,” said Davison.
“After racing V8 Supercars full-time, I’ve had to adjust my driving style to suit the Porsche; however I’ve spent plenty of time at the wheel of Porsche race cars in my career so I’ll quickly adapt to the style required.”
“For me, racing in V8 Supercars full-time wasn’t an option in 2012 and it was important to be racing full-time this year. Carrera Cup offers sponsors great exposure and, if I wasn’t driving V8 Supercars, I wanted to be driving something enjoyable.”
Joining Baird and Davison in the title hunt are V8 Supercar endurance drivers Daniel Gaunt and Steven Richards, who finished third and fourth in last year’s Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia championship, respectively.
Young guns Nick Foster, Tom Tweedie and 16-year-old Kiwi sensation Andre Heimgartner will also all look to challenge their more experienced rivals at the front of the Porsche field.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia front-runner Matt Kingsley has stepped up into the category from the Porsche ‘feeder series’, with the 2009 GT3 Cup Challenge champion racing Ray Angus’s Porsche at the Adelaide event.
The battle for the Elite Class will also begin on the streets of Adelaide, with several drivers capable of winning the Elite Class title.
After claiming the top three positions in the 2011 Elite Class standings, Max Twigg, Paul Kelly and James Koundouris will all return this weekend to begin their 2012 Carrera Cup campaigns.
Marc Cini, Shane Smollen and Nathan Tinkler also return to the Elite Class in 2012, while former V8 Supercars Development Series driver Tony Bates will enter the fray after several competitive seasons in the V8-powered category.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how I measure up against some of the drivers in Carrera Cup,” said Bates.
“The Elite Class drivers like Max Twigg will all be tough competition so I’m really looking forward to competing against them at the Clipsal 500.”
Porsche City Index Carrera Cup Australia will first be on track from Thursday March 01 at the Clipsal 500 and will hold three races at the Adelaide event.
Thursday March 01
12:30pm – 12:50pm Practice 1 (20 minutes)
3:50pm – 4:10pm Practice 2 (20 minutes)
Friday March 02
12:55pm – 1:15pm Qualifying (20 minutes)
7:45pm – 8:15pm Race 1 (28 minutes + 1 lap)
Saturday March 03
9:40am – 10:00am Race 2 (11 laps)
Sunday March 04
1:20pm – 1:40pm Race 3 (11 laps)
Broadcast schedule – Carrera Cup Race 3 (live)
Date: Sunday March 04
Time: 1:15pm (ACST)
Times subject to change – please check local guides.