Murray crowned virtual Porsche series winner

Cooper Murray’s Porsche PAYCE and Michelin Virtual Cup title was made official this week after the series ran its final round at Silverstone in England on Monday evening.

Having already claimed an unassailable lead after the fifth round, Murray entered the round as champion, but was unable to add to his tally of nine victories or even finish one of the races in the top three for the first time all season.

Like Murray had done many times already in the virtual series, New Zealander Matthew Payne proved to be the man to beat, notching up the fastest times in practice and qualifying before comfortably winning all three races at the British circuit.

His victories were enough to secure the runner-up position after 2019 Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge Australia winner Harri Jones could only finish second in the night’s first race – the Queenslander forced to settle for outright third as a result.

Other notable performances came from Cody Burcher who continued his stellar sim form in 2020 with two podiums, while teenage karting sensation Hugh Barter also secured a second place. Aaron Love and Christian Pancione both finished with a podium each.

Despite not winning a race in the final round, Murray was still thrilled to come away with the title and was happy to relax in the final round.

“I made a mistake in qualifying and didn’t get a good lap time,” Murray said.

“I started mid pack and was caught up in the carnage so I was taken out in the first two races. I still managed to finish 10th in the last race, but overall it was an unlucky night caused from my own mistakes.

“I wasn’t too upset though as I had already won the series, so I knew I could have some fun and muck around and enjoy it, which I did.

“I had always felt confident coming into the series because I had done a lot of sim racing beforehand. I knew the tracks, the car and already had a bit of advantage, but with that said, there were some tough drivers.

“Guys like Matthew Payne and Cody Burcher were pretty fast and proved a real challenge even though they came out outside of the Porsche system. It was nice to see Matthew rewarded for his efforts with a dominant round.

“It was really good to have Porsche Australia put together a series for us drivers to have some form of racing while the real stuff was on hold, so now I am looking forward to when we can finally go racing in real life.”

In the Pro-Am class, there were six drivers with a mathematical chance to take out the minor title before race one, but it was Matthew Belford who would be victorious come the end of the round thanks to two podiums across the evening.

However, the night belonged to Marc Cini who dominated the class in the opening two races to secure victories before Graham Williams took out the final race to secure third on the outright class standings.

Williams ended the series just 40 points behind Sergio Pires whose best result in the round came in the second race where he came third behind Belford and Cini.

Porsche fans can watch the round’s highlights at 8pm AEST on Friday 17 July via Porsche Motorsport Australia’s social media platforms and YouTube Channel.