THE FIRST major prize of the 2023 Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia Championship will be up for grabs when the one-make Porsche pack descends on Melbourne’s Sandown Raceway in Victoria this week.
Australia’s nominee for the annual Porsche Junior Shootout will be decided at Sandown, with the top driver in the Michelin Junior Championship following this weekend’s round to head to Europe later this year.
The Porsche Junior Shootout puts the top junior drivers from global Porsche one-make championships head to head, with the winner claiming a scholarship prize to contest the Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup Championship in 2024.
Just 32 points separate Team Porsche New Zealand / Earl Bamber Motorsport young-gun Callum Hedge from Objective Racing / McElrea ace Jackson Walls in the Junior standings following four intense rounds to date.
The pair have claimed junior honours in nine of the 11 races contested so far with Sandown to decide who gets the ticket to Europe.
TekworkX driver Max Vidau sits third in the outright championship and junior standings thanks to two race wins and retains a mathematical chance at the Junior prize, 171 points from the lead with 180 up for grabs this weekend.
The remarkable battle between Kiwi hedge and New South Wales ace Walls has waged since Albert Park’s opening round, with the championship lead only changing hands in the most recent race, held at The Bend Motorsport Park in South Australia.
There, Hedge claimed his first round win of the season after Walls spun out of second position in the penultimate corner of the weekend while battling for the lead.
11 drivers from the Porsche Paynter Dixon Carrera Cup Australia have tackled the shootout since 2012, with two – Matt Campbell and Jaxon Evans – winning it and the subsequent ticket to Porsche Mobil 1 Supercup.
Harri Jones was the most recent nominee, tackling the shootout in 2022 and progressing to Supercup last year.
While attention is on the Michelin Junior battle this weekend, the ongoing fight for Equity One Pro class and the SP Tools Pro-Am battles will continue as the season moves into the second half.
Hedge leads Walls in the overall championship, with the young pair enjoying a healthy margin back to third-placed Vidau.
Darwin winner Dale Wood is within striking distance of the top three, however.
There has yet to be a repeat round winner this season while five different drivers have won races.
In Pro-Am, Sam Shahin is just 47 points clear of Adrian Flack following a strong win at his home track last time out at The Bend.
Flack, in turn, has Dean Cook and Rodney Jane in close company in third and fourth, respectively.
The Sandown entry list loses Alex Davison – damage to the Scott Taylor Motorsport Porsche from The Bend enough to force them to the side-lines until Bathurst – and Chris Pither, but gains the EMA Motorsport entry of Garnet Patterson, who returns to the grid for the first time since round two in Darwin.
On-track action commences on Friday with two practice sessions and the two-part qualifying session, prior to the first two races on Saturday.
Sunday will conclude the fifth round with the third race, just prior to the start of the Sandown 500.
All three races, plus qualifying and practice two on Friday, will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 506 and Kayo in Australia, and Sky Sports NZ.
AUSTRALIAN PORSCHE JUNIOR SHOOTOUT NOMINATIONS:
2012 – Andre Heimgartner
2014 – Sam Power
2015 – Nick Foster & Richard Muscat
2016 – Matt Campbell (Won Shootout)
2017 – Dylan O’Keeffe
2018 – Jaxon Evans (Won Shootout), Dylan O’Keeffe
2019 – Jordan Love
2021 – Cooper Murray
2022 – Harri Jones
ENTRY LIST – Round 5 (Sandown Raceway)
|1||Pro||2||Wall Racing / MOUTAI||Luke||King||NSW||Silver|
|2||Pro||3||Porsche Centre Melbourne / BWT||Fabian||Coulthard||QLD||Pink/White|
|4||Pro-Am||7||Miles Advisory Partners||Tim||Miles||NSW||Red/White|
|5||Pro||8||Hallmarc/ Team MPC||Nick||McBride||VIC||Pink/White|
|6||Pro-Am||9||Hallmarc/ Team MPC||Marc||Cini||VIC||Red|
|8||Pro-Am||13||The Bend Motorsport Park||Sam||Shahin||SA||White/Blue/Red|
|9||Pro-Am||14||ID Land / Team MPC||Matthew||Belford||VIC||Black / Orange|
|10||Pro||17||Team Porsche New Zealand / EBM||Callum||Hedge||QLD||White / Black / Red|
|12||Pro-Am||22||Dexion / RAM Motorsport||Dean||Cook||VIC||Grey / Red|
|13||Pro-Am||23||TekworkX Motorsport||Daniel||Stutterd||VIC||Black / Yellow|
|14||Pro||28||Hall Finance / Insurance Solutions||Bayley||Hall||QLD||Silver / Green|
|15||Pro||32||Porsche Centre Melbourne / BWT||Courtney||Prince||VIC||Pink/White|
|16||Pro||38||Wall Racing||David||Wall||NSW||Black / Red|
|17||Pro||72||TekworkX Motorsport / Tyrepower||Max||Vidau||SA||Blue / Red / White|
|19||Pro||76||VCM Performance / HP Tuners||Christian||Pancione||VIC||Red|
|20||Pro-Am||77||Sonic Motor Racing Services / Bob Jane T Marts||Rodney||Jane||VIC||Yellow / Blue|
|22||Pro||88||Dexion / RAM Motorsport||Dylan||O’Keeffe||VIC||Grey / Red|
|23||Pro||99||Earl Bamber Motorsport||David||Russell||QLD||Yellow|
|25||Pro||777||Sonic Motor Racing Services / Bob Jane T Marts / Bremtech||Simon||Fallon||VIC||Yellow / Blue|
|26||Pro||992||Ranbuild||Dale||Wood||VIC||Blue / White|
|27||Pro||999||Sonic Motor Racing Services / Bob Jane T Marts / Pitbox||Angelo||Mouzouris||VIC||Yellow / Blue|