Stephen Grove will hope a new co-driver helps keep his strong record of success in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia two-driver races intact at the Porsche Rennsport Australia Motor Racing Festival on April 29-May 01.
With regular co-driver Scott McLaughlin scheduled to be overseas with commitments to his V8 Supercars team, Grove has secured a more than suitable replacement in fellow V8 ace Lee Holdsworth.
The Team 18 Holden V8 Supercar driver will make his Porsche Carrera Cup Australia debut at Sydney Motorsport Park driving the #4 Grove Group Porsche 911 GT3 Cup car.
Grove and McLaughlin won the Porsche Pro-Am event outright at Phillip Island in 2014 before backing that up with second in the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge class last year, however the Melbourne-based driver is confident Holdsworth will be able to help continue that strong form in Sydney later this month.
“When Scotty told me he had duties with Volvo in Sweeden that same weekend it was important that we went out and got the right person,” Grove explained.
“They obviously had to be quick but needed to have the personality to fit into the team like Scotty does and Lee was the natural choice.
“We tested last week and he was as quick or quicker than anyone there on the day. His ability to adapt to the car was incredible – within three laps he was right on it.”
Holdsworth said he was looking forward to working with Grove, having sampled his Grove Hire Porsche at Sydney Motorsport Park last week.
“It’s always good to drive in other categories, especially a great category like Porsche Carrera Cup Australia,” Holdsworth said.
“They are an amazing car to drive and the grip they have is incredible. You can push to the limit and get rewarded and you can be aggressive and attacking driving the car.
“It’s like driving a go-kart – they’re stiff and you feel every bump and dip in the track.
“V8 Supercars is my main priority and what I focus on during the year but to do some driving outside of that is always fun and a chance to try your hand at something else.
“Hopefully I can help Steve out as much as I can with his championship. It will be good to go for a win but they will be tough races and very competitive. Steve is very competitive amongst the Challenge class drivers and I think we’ll be within a good shot at the top three or possibly a win.
“Scotty and Steve have had some success in the past so hopefully we can pick up where they left off.”
Holdsworth’s Carrera Cup debut was scheduled for the inaugural Rennsport Pro-Am in 2013; however tornadoes in the United States, and subsequent flight cancellations, prevented the racer from returning from the V8 series’ Texas event in time for the Pro-Am.
Holdsworth adds to an incredible list of professional co-drivers enlisted by Grove over the years – something the 2014 TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion says only benefits his driving.
“I’ve learned a lot from racing with guys like Earl (Bamber) and Scotty. Lee brings another component and that helps with my driving – I can get snippets from each of the guys and I learned a lot from Lee and his data last week,” Grove explained.
“I think we’re in with a real chance. You have to manage the Safety Cars if they come out and get the strategy right but I really enjoy the two-driver and longer distance racing. I’ve done a fair bit of it and really enjoy it.
“Just about every combination I’ve looked at I think can win the weekend. Everyone looks very strong and anyone can win – that’s not a cliché’, it’s a fact.”