New Zealand sports car racer Simon Ellingham will contest the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship with reigning Teams Champion, McElrea Racing.
The 24-year-old, a former Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge and Australian GT driver, will campaign the Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car raced by Duvashen Padayachee for the past three Carrera Cup seasons.
Ellingham, a former New Zealand Endurance Series champion, tested his new race-bred 911 at Queensland Raceway last week and is excited by the challenge that awaits him in Australia’s premier one-make series.
“I’m eager to get the 2017 season underway; the Carrera Cup calendar is awesome and includes some of my favourite tracks… and I can’t wait to finally race at Bathurst. The Porsche 911 GT3 Cup is a sensational car and I’m with an outstanding team in McElrea Racing, so there’s a lot to be excited about for the coming season,” said Ellingham.
“My first test in the car was really positive; I felt comfortable returning to the Porsche, which is quite different to the Audi R8 I raced in Australian GT, and made progress throughout the day.
“Having raced with McElrea Racing for the past few seasons, I have been able to keep a close eye on Carrera Cup and have wanted to compete in the series for some time. I have driven the older 911 GT3 Cup car around half the circuits on the Carrera Cup calendar so we will really target those events for strong result and aim to quickly learn the tracks that are new to me.”
Ellingham suggests that his prior GT3 Cup Challenge experience, the series in which he has contested five rounds, will be beneficial for his Carrera Cup initiation.
“My GT3 Cup Challenge experience will be a big help next year. It’s the only time I’ve raced in a one-make series, so I have a bit of an idea what to expect. Standing starts, which are part of GT3 Cup Challenge, are a lot different to Australian GT’s rolling starts so it’s great to bring that experience into Carrera Cup next season.”
Porsche Cars Australia Motorsport Manager, Kurt Sakzewski, is excited about Ellingham’s announcement for Carrera Cup in 2017; the first of several professional and semi-professional drivers making the transition to the one-make series.
“We’re excited to have Simon on board with Carrera Cup for the next stage in his racing career. He has raced with us in GT3 Cup Challenge and now he will join us for what will be an incredible 2017 season,” said Sakzewski.
“There has been tremendous interest for the coming Carrera Cup season, continuing the momentum from what was a fantastic end to 2016.
“Since we announced the 2017 calendar, which includes the series’ first international event in Malaysia, we have had many drivers, both professional and semi-professional, looking to join us next season. And today, we are thrilled to announce Simon as the first of these new additions to the championship.”
Ellingham’s first Porsche Carrera Cup Australia event will be at the season opening Clipsal 500 in Adelaide on March 02-05, 2017.