The Townsville round is the 78th in the history of PCCA and the fourth time the venue has hosted the championship. PCCA has been part of the Townsville V8 Supercar event every year from 2011 onwards.
Stephen Grove is riding the crest of a wave heading to Townsville – not only did he claim the overall points victory in recent Pro-Am round at Phillip Island but he’s also moved into the lead of the Elite Championship and now seventh in the overall championship.
Grove and co-driver Scott McLaughlin became the 19th and 20th drivers to win Porsche Carrera Cup Australia rounds. Their win was just the fourth time in PCCA history that a round win had been achieved without claiming a race victory that weekend.
Elite Class driver Shane Smollen claimed his first-ever PCCA race win at Phillip Island in Race 2 alongside Nick Percat and is aiming to continue a streak in Townsville.
Smollen is aiming for his third straight Townsville Elite Class pole after topping the times there in both 2012 and 2013. However, he’s yet to claim a class round victory at the Reid Park circuit.
A race winner at Phillip Island, Craig Baird has now gone one full year without a round victory in PCCA. The five-time champion’s last round win came at Townsville 12 months ago at the corresponding round. He has won just two of the last 17 races held from Winton last year onwards – in the 17 prior to that he claimed nine wins. Baird will tie Rodney Jane for second on the list of most rounds started in PCCA history in Townsville – he starts his 54th round.
Speaking of milestones, Marc Cini will become the first PCCA driver to start 200 championship races in Townsville. The Porsche racing veteran is due to rack up the milestone in Race 2 of what will be his record 69th PCCA round start.
The Townsville round has been dominated by New Zealanders over the last three years with Kiwis winning the round each year. An Australian driver is yet to claim a round victory at the circuit.
Of the nine PCCA races in Townsville, only one Aussie, Alex Davison, has claimed a race win (Race 1, 2012).
Townsville holds a special place in PCCA record books – in 2012 it featured the closest ever pole position-winning margin in the category’s history when Alex Davison was just 0.0027s faster than Jonny Reid and claimed pole.
Every year has produced a close battle for pole: in 2011 Michael Patrizi edged out Reid by 0.0807s while last year Baird out-pointed Nick Percat by just 0.1063s.
There are plenty of first-timers in PCCA that have never raced at Townsville before. Eight drivers – Maurie Pickering, Ash Samadi, Brenton Ramsay, Roger Lago, Michael Almond, Sam Power, Adrian Mastronardo and Nick McBride – are all making their first Carrera Cup start in North Queensland, however three of them have previous track experience.
Ash Samadi drove a Mosler in the Australian GT Championship in Townsville in 2011 and Sam Power and Nick McBride both raced there last year in Formula Ford and the V8 Supercar Development Series respectively.
TOWNSVILLE LAP RECORDS
Race Lap Record: Jonny Reid, 1m14.0389s, 2011
Qual Lap Record: Alex Davison, 1m13.7964s, 2012
TOWNSVILLE ROUND WINNERS
2011 Daniel Gaunt
2012 Jonny Reid
2013 Craig Baird
TOWNSVILLE ELITE CLASS ROUND WINNERS
2011 Damien Flack
2012 Max Twigg
2013 Damien Flack
TOWNSVILLE POLE POSITIONS
2011 Michael Patrizi 1m13.8197s
2012 Alex Davison 1m13.7964s
2013 Craig Baird 1m14.1995s
TOWNSVILLE RACE WINS
2011 Daniel Gaunt Daniel Gaunt Daniel Gaunt
2012 Alex Davison Jonny Reid Jonny Reid
2013 Craig Baird Craig Baird Craig Baird
3 – Daniel Gaunt, Craig Baird
2 – Jonny Reid
1 – Alex Davison
2011 Daniel Gaunt Jonny Reid Michael Patrizi
2012 Jonny Reid Alex Davison Craig Baird
2013 Craig Baird Warren Luff Michael Patrizi
2 – Jonny Reid, Craig Baird, Michael Patrizi
1 – Daniel Gaunt, Alex Davison, Warren Luff