An immense battle between Professional Class and Elite Class rivals is expected this weekend following a closer-than-expected opening practice of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli at Sydney Motorsport Park.
While Professional Class ace Brenton Grove was the best of the Porsche drivers on Friday, several Elite Class drivers, including Sam Shahin and Anthony Gilbertson, were among the pace-setters.
Elite Class points leader Shahin was the driver to beat in opening practice one, lapping the 4.5km Western Sydney circuit over half-a-second quicker than Professional Class young guns Grove and Jordan Love.
It was then Gilbertson’s turn to shine in practice two, remaining at the top of the times until the dying stages of the session, eclipsed by young gun Grove, who’s time of 1:33.2124 was the best of the two Porsche practice sessions.
“I started to find my feet towards the end of the second session. I struggled a bit this morning as I hadn’t been here for a long time. Once we worked through the issues and changed the car a little bit we were able to find some strong pace,” Grove said.
“There is still a lot to learn overnight, especially how to maximise the new tyre tomorrow. It’s great to have great Friday pace but there’s still a long way to go for the remainder of the weekend.”
Gilbertson posted the second fastest time of the day – a mere 0.0075secs from Grove – ahead of Love, Shahin, John Morriss, who celebrates his 30th GT3 Cup Challenge round start this weekend, and Brett Boulton in sixth.
John Steffensen continues his impressive initiation into motorsport by posting the seventh fastest time from returning driver Shane Barwood, Phil Morriss and Ross McGregor, who also missed the Winton round.
David Greig topped the Class B battle, pipping Brendan Cook by 0.30secs in the final session to post the best Class B practice time.
The Porsche series will return to the track tomorrow morning for qualifying at 10:15am followed by the 30-lap opening race that will act as the second race of the Jim Richards Endurance Trophy. Race two and race three will then be held on Sunday.
To view Sunday’s racing at the Shannons Australian Motor Racing Nationals, including race two and race three of Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia presented by Pirelli, follow the live stream, available at the Shannons Nationals website – www.motorsportaustraliachampionships.com.au.
Saturday July 08, 2017
10:15am Qualifying (20 minutes)
1:48pm Race 1 (30 laps)
Sunday July 09, 2017
09:28am Race 2 (10 laps)
1:41pm Race 3 (10 laps)
Results: Friday Practice 1 & 2 (combined)
1. #23 Brenton Grove (Professional Class) Grove Hire – 1:33.2124*
2. #19 Anthony Gilbertson (Elite Class) Hallmark Homes – 1:33.2199s
3. #79 Jordan Love (Professional Class) Sonic Motor Racing / Quintis – 1:33.4204s
4. #13 Sam Shahin (Elite Class) HTFU – 1:33.7494s
5. #34 John Morriss (Elite Class) Motorsport Leasing P/L – 1:34.5008s
6. #84 Brett Boulton (Elite Class) Bold Living – 1:34.5901s
7. #78 John Steffensen (Professional Class) Zagame Autosport – 1:36.7952s
8. #21 Shane Barwood (Elite Class) Melbourne Orthopaedic Group – 1:37.2269s
9. #88 Phil Morriss (Elite Class) Morriss Racing Services – 1:37.6336s
10. #99 Ross McGregor (Elite Class) Southern Star Windows – 1:37.6837s
11. #87 David Greig (Class B) 1:38.3130s
12. #11 Brendan Cook (Class B) Cairns Steel Fabrication – 1:38.6154s