There are few sights more spectacular than Porsche 911 GT3 Cup cars navigating the 15-turn 2.96 km Surfers Paradise Street Circuit, a spectacle that will come to life this weekend as Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Emsteq tackles the beachside circuit for its 2016 season finale.
The Gold Coast round will see two titles decided: The outright championship will be a battle between youth and experience while the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge crown is set to once again change hands.
It will take an ill-fated Gold Coast round to displace series leader Matt Campbell from the top of the standings. The 21-year-old holds a commanding 124.5 point lead over second placed Alex Davison and two critical elements are in his favour: Campbell is the star qualifier in the series entering the notoriously hard-to-pass Gold Coast circuit, where he claimed a clean sweep in 2015.
“We had a fantastic weekend in the Gold Coast last year, winning all three races, so I think we’ll have good speed there. It is obviously a vastly different track to what we are used to throughout the season and especially our last round at Bathurst. You have to be very close to the walls and push hard over the high kerbs. It’s a track that rewards commitment and I’m looking forward to racing there,” said Campbell.
Behind Campbell, just 15 points separate the chasing trio of Davison, Nick McBride and David Wall. Davison has four previous Gold Coast race wins across the 2004, 2006 and 2007 seasons, just one ahead of Campbell, who accrued his three victories last season. The pair also exclusively shares race victories across 16 of the past 17 Carrera Cup races this season.
Wall, who has previously stood on the Gold Coast podium in 2008, brings to the season finale an incredible run of form; 10 top three results from the past 11 races, including a Darwin race win. McBride is yet to visit the Surfers Paradise podium, but has posted nine top-three performances from the season’s 20 races.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge title looks set to go to a fourth different winner in as many seasons, with class points leader Tony Bates taking a substantial 98 point lead into the final round.
Bates was dominant at Gold Coast last season, winning two of the three races and claiming the round win from James Bergmuller and Shane Smollen – the 2015 class champion.
Both Smollen and 2014 Challenge champion Stephen Grove endured tough Bathurst campaigns, allowing Bates to pull a handy points margin entering the final round and, for Bergmuller, who won the Sandown and Bathurst rounds, sneak into second in the Challenge class standings. Bergmuller also has impressive form in the Gold Coast, stepping onto the Challenge podium for the past three seasons.
The round will also see Emsteq Systems step into an Event Partner role, with the maintenance software specialist to feature on the windscreen banners of every Porsche Carrera Cup car.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia presented by Emsteq will hold two practice sessions and qualifying on Friday, which will see Campbell shoot for a record seventh consecutive TAG Heuer Pole Position Award and a record equalling seventh pole position in a season. The premier one-make championship will then hold two races on Saturday and the final race of the season on Sunday.
Friday October 21, 2016
10:00am Practice 1 (20 minutes)
12:40pm Practice 2 (20 minutes)
3:05pm Qualifying (20 minutes)
Saturday October 22, 2016
9:00am Race 1 (15 laps)
12:50pm Race 2 (15 laps)
Sunday October 23, 2016
12:55pm Race 3 (20 laps)
Race 1 – 12:10pm local time (1:10pm AEDT), Saturday October 22
Race 3 – 1:15pm local time (2:15pm AEDT), Sunday October 23
Fox Sports 5
Practice 2* – 12:40pm local time (1:40pm AEDT), Friday October 21
Qualifying – 3:05pm local time (4:05pm AEDT), Friday October 21
Race 1 – 9:00am local time (10:00am AEDT), Saturday October 22
Race 2 – 12:50pm local time (1:50pm AEDT), Saturday October 22
Race 3 – 12:55pm local time (1:55pm AEDT), Sunday October 23
Broadcast subject to change
Round 8: Entry List
1. #4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire
2. #7 Matt Campbell (Outright) Nuveau Constructions/Phase 8
3. #8 TBC (TBC) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne
4. #9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
5. #12 Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical
6. #13 James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au/MotorOne
7. #21 Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects
8. #24 Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Moveitnet/C Tech Laser
9. #25 Alex Davison (Outright) Wilson Parking
10. #26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld/Toshiba
11. #38 David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security/PAYCE
12. #39 Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) TOGA/Veritas Property Group
13. #45 Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX
14. #54 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop
15. #56 Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents
16. #77 Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts
17. #88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales/APB Group
18. #222 Scott Taylor (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Scott Taylor Motorsport
19. #360 Fraser Ross (Outright) Shooters NC/DNA Racing
20. #777 Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Infants Friend