The Porsche Carrera Cup Australia championship will go down to the wire this weekend, with three drivers set to battle for the title in a climactic final round showdown on the Gold Coast.
Leader David Wall enjoys a 62-point margin over nearest rival Andre Heimgartner, while Alex Davison sits a further 30 points back in third place.
The three – each representing a different team – all finished on the podium at Mount Panorama a week ago to help set up the Surfers showdown.
With 180 points up for grabs across the three races to be staged on the demanding street circuit, the championship remains wide open and well poised for what could be its most competitive showdown yet.
Wall, already a two-time Australian champion in GT racing, is yet to finish outside the top six in any race this season and believes he is ready for the fight.
“I’m feeling good and I think it’s a testament to everyone at Wall Racing that we’re in the hunt,” he said.
“I’m very chuffed to be there. Everyone has put in the hard yards since a strong showing at the end of last year and I’m proud of that and looking forward to getting stuck into it.
“We’ve put everything we can into making the car as good as possible and I’m ready personally, too.”
The Sydney-based driver said the competition in the championship this year was a highlight.
“There’s plenty of competition both with the guys I’m battling for the title, and outside of that as well,” he explained.
“Andre has lots of experience even though he’s a young guy and is obviously very good at what he does. I’ve also raced Alex for years and he is world renowned as a Porsche driver – and a driver in general.
“I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Sitting second in the standings, Bathurst round winner Heimgartner led the championship after the opening round of the season in Adelaide earlier this year and says he is determined to return to the top step on another tough street circuit.
“After leading the championship early and now chasing David Wall, this title has been something I have been working towards all year long and with the final round hitting the track this weekend, I am going to be throwing everything I can at it,” said Heimgartner.
Sonic Motor Racing ace Heimgartner will again do double duty, racing in Carrera Cup and the Supercars Championship in the Gold Coast, but says after his strong Bathurst performance, doing ‘double duties’ will pose no problems.
“After the results at Bathurst, I am feeling confident of a strong result this weekend, but as we know, anything can happen on the streets of the Gold Coast!”
2004 Carrera Cup Australia champion Alex Davison has rebounded from a tough start to the year in the second half of his season, racing to the top three in 11 out of the last 12 races.
Davison remains the most successful driver currently in the Carrera Cup Australia field and will also be working hard to ensure he can clinch the inaugural Carrera Cup Australia Endurance Cup title while still competing for the overall crown.
The Gold Coast based driver leads Heimgartner and Wall in the enduro series, thanks to a win at Sandown and second at Bathurst last week.
Race two of the three-race program will be the longer race and will decide the Enduro Cup title, introduced for the first time this season.
This weekend will mark the final fling in Carrera Cup for the first-generation Type 991 911 GT3 Cup car, and the field has been bolstered to give the car a fitting farewell.
Following his successful Porsche Carrera Cup Australia debut at Sandown, Brenton Grove returns to the Porsche Centre Melbourne car this weekend, while experienced Sydney driver Garth Walden will make his first Carrera Cup start of the season.
Stephen Grove sealed his second TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge title win across the Bathurst weekend, however there remains plenty of interest in the class heading into the final round.
A non-finish in the Bathurst enduro sees Grove only fourth in the Challenge class Enduro Cup standings, led by McElrea Racing’s Tim Miles.
However, the Kiwi driver has been forced to miss the Surfers round due to business commitments overseas – throwing the title race wide open.
The most experienced driver in Porsche Carrera Cup Australia history, Marc Cini, sits second in the Enduro Cup standings with Graham Williams third and both could take the crown this weekend.
While Grove and Cini hold unassailable positions in first and second in the overall TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge standings, third place could also be up for grabs given Miles’ absence.
Williams sits fourth – 85.5 points behind Miles, while Sam Shahin is a further 5.5 points back in fifth and both remain chances to grab third in the series standings.
Max Twigg and Sepang pole sitter Dean Cook both return to the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge this weekend, adding to the competitive grid.
The three Porsche Carrera Cup Australia races will form a key part of this weekend’s Vodafone Gold Coast 600 event, with practice and qualifying held Friday ahead of race one on Saturday.
Sunday will see the Enduro Cup race held in the morning and the final race of the 2017 season later that afternoon.
Qualifying and each race will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 506 with selected sessions also shown on Network Ten.
Race Schedule (local time)
Friday October 20, 2017
9:40am Practice 1 (30 minutes)
12:45pm Practice 2 (30 minutes)
3:50pm Qualifying (minutes)
Saturday October 21, 2017
10:45am Race 1 (12 laps)
Sunday October 22, 2017
8:50am Race 2 (28 laps)
1:05pm Race 3 (12 laps)
Broadcast Schedule (local time)
To be confirmed
Channel: Fox Sports 506
Practice 2 – 12:45pm, Friday October 20
Qualifying – 3:50pm, Friday October 20
Race 1 – 10:45am, Saturday October 21
Race 2 – 8:50am, Sunday October 22
Race 3 – 1:05pm, Sunday October 22
Entry List: Round 8, Gold Coast
#4 Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group
#5 Cameron McConville (Outright) Repair Management Australia
#7 Jaxon Evans (Outright) Hungry Jacks
#8 Brenton Grove (Outright) Porsche Centre Melbourne
#9 Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
#13 Sam Shahin (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) HTFU
#18 Max Twigg (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge)
#22 Dean Cook (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Zonzo Racing
#26 Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld
#29 Garth Walden (Outright) Platinum Nightclub Broadbeach
#33 Simon Ellingham (Outright) Peak Marketing
#38 David Wall (Outright) PAYCE/Wilson Security
#77 Nick McBride (Outright) Sonic / Bob Jane T-Marts
#79 Jordan Love (Outright) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis
#88 Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) APB Group/President Limo Australia
#131 Graham Williams (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) WRA
#136 James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop/Strathbrook Industrial Services
#777 Andre Heimgartner (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts/Money Now
#888 Alex Davison (Outright) President Limo Australia