The 2016 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia season kicks off this weekend at the Clipsal 500, where the Porsche championship will feature one of its best professional and semi-professional driver line-ups since its 2003 inception.
In three days, the one-make battle begins with Michelin continuing as the traditional Event Partner of the Clipsal 500 round.
The last season ended in emphatic style; two young guns, Nick Foster and Matt Campbell, battled for the top spot in the Porsche championship, though with the departure of reigning champion Foster, 20-year-old Campbell enters this weekend’s Adelaide round as the form driver.
A returning group of Porsche racers will be looking to halt his charge. Dethroned Steven Richards enters his sixth Porsche season following his fourth Bathurst 1000 crown last year, with the hope to regain the title. While four young racers, Michael Almond, Nick McBride, Duvashen Padayachee and Fraser Ross, are eager to rise up the order after multiple seasons of Porsche experience.
This season will also feature seven newcomers, three of which are very familiar to Carrera Cup competition.
Alex Davison, the 2004 Carrera Cup Australia champion, returns to the championship on a full-time basis. The former Porsche Cup winner brings his 104-race experience to the championship with all intentions to take the title upon his return. Davison is not alone; fellow former V8 Supercar racers Dean Fiore and David Wall return to Carrera Cup, both having contested 76 races in the Porsche championship ahead of this weekend.
Other former V8 racers entering Carrera Cup include Ash Walsh, who steps into the championship winning #777 911 GT3 Cup car, and Garth Walden, who swaps his role as team boss to contest his first ever Carrera Cup round.
Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia continues as a hotbed for future Carrera Cup stars with the graduation of Dylan O’Keeffe and James Abela, who finished second and fourth respectively in last year’s feeder series, to Porsche’s pinnacle Australian championship. The duo follows the well-worn path previously travelled by current drivers Almond, Campbell, Grove and Ross.
The TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge is also set for one of its most competitive seasons yet.
The class for semi-professional racers will see the return of its reigning champion, Shane Smollen, who will look to defend his 2015 title from his experienced rivals.
Marc Cini enters his 81st Carrera Cup round at the Clipsal 500, continuing his unprecedented level of participation in the championship.
Stephen Grove enters the Clipsal 500 on a high having taken victory in the Bathurst 12 Hour in the Class B division alongside V8 Supercars driver Scott McLaughlin and Le Mans 24 Hour champion, Earl Bamber.
James Bergmuller looks to start his season on a better note than 2015, where a Clipsal 500 qualifying crash at turn eight ended his weekend prematurely, though a strong end to last season has momentum on his side.
Adrian Mastronardo, in his third full-time season, has displayed growth in the series like no other over the past 12 months and will look to challenge for more class podiums and race wins this season.
Meanwhile, Tony Bates has his eyes firmly set on the TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge title. The Victorian is a constant class pace-setter and, having stood on the top step of the class podium at the past two Adelaide events, enters the round eager to continue his Adelaide domination.
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia will hold three races across the season opening Clipsal 500 weekend.
Thursday March 03, 2016
1:15pm-1:35pm Practice 1 (20 minutes)
4:50pm-5:10pm Practice 2 (20 minutes)
Friday March 04, 2016
8:45am-9:05am Qualifying (20 minutes)
3:05pm-3:30pm Race 1 (16 laps)
Saturday March 05, 2016
11:35am-12:05pm Race 2 (20 Laps)
Sunday March 06, 2016
2:10pm-2:40pm Race 3 (20 Laps)
Entry List – Round 1
#4. Stephen Grove (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Hire
#7. Matt Campbell (Outright) Phase 8/McElrea Racing
#8. Dean Fiore (Outright) Saint/Porsche Centre Melbourne
#9. Marc Cini (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
#12. Steven Richards (Outright) Laser Plumbing and Electrical
#13. James Bergmuller (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) pricepressure.com.au
#21. Garth Walden (Outright) Commercial Interior Projects
#24. Tony Bates (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Move It Net/AFS
#25. Alex Davison (Outright) Copyworld/Toshiba
#26. Michael Almond (Outright) Copyworld/Toshiba
#38. David Wall (Outright) Wilson Security
#39. Adrian Mastronardo (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Veritas Property #Group
#45. Duvashen Padayachee (Outright) Darrell Lea STIX
#54. James Abela (Outright) Horsley Park Gun Shop
#56. Shane Smollen (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) McGrath Estate Agents
#77. Nick McBride (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts
#88. Dylan O’Keeffe (Outright) All Star Equipment Sales/Dexion Supply Centre
#360. Fraser Ross (Outright) 360fly
#777. Ash Walsh (Outright) Bob Jane T-Marts