Young guns, experienced drivers and highly competitive semi-professional racers will highlight the on-track racing for Porsche Carrera Cup Australia this season, starting this weekend at Adelaide’s Clipsal 500.
The South Australian season opener will be the first of eight rounds for the 11th Carrera Cup Australia season and will feature Michelin as its presenting sponsor for the Adelaide event.
With the 2015 Carrera Cup driver line-up now finalised, the focus shifts to the impressive depth of talent among the championship’s professional and semi-professional racers.
Heading the field is its current and former champions – reigning title holder Steven Richards and five-time championship winner Craig Baird, both among the favourites to claimed the #1 at the end of 2015. A third former V8 Supercars racer, Cam McConville, will break his racing hiatus to join these drivers in the Porsche championship.
The list of returning professional racers also include 2014 Gold Coast winner Nick Foster, Nick McBride, Michael Almond and Duvashen Padayachee, while David Russell starts his first full-time Carrera Cup season since 2008 along with his 30th championship round start.
Other drivers familiar with Porsche one-make racing is reigning Australian GT champion and former Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge winner Richard Muscat – having also made cameo appearances in both Carrera Cup Australia and Carrera Cup Great Britain – and two reigning GT3 Cup Challenge Australia victors, outright champion Fraser Ross and Class B winner Matt Campbell.
Two open-wheel specialists round out the Professional Class line up. Simon Hodge enters the championship as the reigning Australian Formula 3 champion while Spike Goddard has a wealth of international experience, racing in European Formula 3 over the past two seasons followed by a Formula 1 test drive late last year with Force India.
While the championship hosts a strong list of professional racers, the fiercest battles may not be at the front, but rather with Carrera Cup’s impressive roster of semi-professional drivers.
Reigning Elite Class champion Stephen Grove is eager to retain his crown in 2015, though those who missed out on the title last season are eager for redemption this season, namely the second and third placed duo of Shane Smollen and Tony Bates.
The class, renamed the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge for the 2015 season, has experienced a strong driver retention over the off-season and welcomes back some of the country’s most experienced semi-professional racers – including Carrera Cup’s most experienced driver Marc Cini, who will line up for his 73rd championship round, and seventh most capped driver Ash Samadi.
Former GT3 Cup Challenge competitors Roger Lago and Scott Taylor also return, as will James Bergmuller, who will compete with a hand-controlled clutch after sustaining an Achilles tendon injury, and Adrian Mastronardo, who had a strong debut season in 2014.
With three races over the Clipsal 500 weekend, Porsche Carrera Cup Australia is ready to deliver another strong season of ultra-competitive sports car racing.
Thursday February 26, 2015
1:05pm-1:25pm – Practice 1 (20 minutes)
5:10pm-5:30pm – Practice 2 (20 minutes)
Friday February 27, 2015
8:30am-8:50am – Qualifying (20 minutes)
2:55pm-3:15pm – Race 1
Saturday February 28, 2015
9:40am-10:00am – Race 2
Sunday March 1, 2015
12:50pm-1:10pm – Race 3
Round 1 Entry List
Car # – Driver (Class) Sponsor
1 – Steven Richards (Professional) Laser Plumbing & Electrical
4 – Stephen Grove (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire
5 – Spike Goddard (Professional) Spike Racing
6 – Ash Samadi (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) Apartment Hotel
7 – Matt Campbell (Professional) Phase 8
8 – Craig Baird (Professional) Porsche Centre Melbourne
9 – Marc Cini (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
10 – David Russell (Professional) Finance Ezi
11 – Simon Hodge (Professional) Team BRM
13 – James Bergmuller (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) MotorOne Car Care
14 – Cam McConville (Professional) OPS Gateway
22 – Richard Muscat (Professional) Wilson Security
23 – Roger Lago (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) JBS Australia
24 – Tony Bates (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) AFS / Ned Whisky & Cola
26 – Michael Almond (Professional) Copyworld
39 – Adrian Mastronardo (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas
45 – Duvashen Padayachee (Professional) VIP Petfoods
56 – Shane Smollen (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents
65 – Fraser Ross (Professional) Porsche Centre Brighton/TRP
77 – Nick McBride (Professional) Bob Jane T-Marts
222 – Scott Taylor (Tag Heuer Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport
777 – Nick Foster (Professional) Bob Jane T-Marts