The Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge resumes this weekend with 21 competitors tackling the second round of the 2021 season as part of the Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships.
After a chaotic season opener at Phillip Island last month due to the difficult wet conditions, the series will be racing in much drier conditions this time round, meaning there should little affecting their speed.
This week will also present a rare opportunity for the one-make series with Friday’s qualifying session to take place under the brand new flood lights of Sydney Motorsport Park.
Leading the entry list and the outright standings is Ryan Suhle – the teenager having won the opening race of that dramatic round in Phillip Island, before finishing second to Callum Hedge in race two.
As it stands, Suhle has a comfortable 19 point lead over Hedge after the New Zealander finished four places lower in the first race of the season opener. Despite that fifth place, it was still a more than impressive debut weekend for Hedge and the Earl Bamber Motorsport team with the 17-year-old notching up the team’s first ever win on Australian soil.
Both drivers are part of the seven car Pro class, joining the likes of Courtney Prince, Christian Pancione, Madeline Stewart and Tom Taplin – the former two currently equal third place on the standings a further 12 points in arrears to Hedge.
The final driver in the class is Bayley Hall and the McElrea Racing junior will be looking to bounce back after a mixed opening weekend, which saw him grab a well-deserved second place before falling victim to the harsh wet conditions and retired early.
The remaining 14 drivers will be competing in the Pro-Am class.
It’s an extremely tight battle at the top of the class as very little separates series veteran Sam Shahin, who became just the third driver to notch up 100 starts in the category last month and Porsche Centre Melbourne driver Matt Belford, who has being enjoying a steady rise up the ranks since joining in 2019 and nabbed his first career round win in the same round.
Other notable entries in the class include David Greig, Michael Hovey, Nathan Murray, Sergio Pires and Ross McGregor – the latter being only driver to have more race starts than Shahin with 106.
It will be a big few days for Shahin and Suhle this weekend with Shahin to surpass John Goodacre for the most rounds at Sydney, both drivers are tied on 34 apiece, while Suhle will be hoping to replicate the last time he was racing in Sydney back in May 2019, where he won the second race of the round.
This series will start this weekend off with two practice sessions during the day on Friday before the evening’s qualifying session sets up Saturday’s 20-minute race in the morning and the 45-minute endurance race in the afternoon. Another 20-minute sprint race wraps up the weekend on Sunday afternoon.
No tickets will be available at the gates, with all fans encouraged to pre-purchase their tickets before they arrive at Sydney Motorsport Park to save time.
Fans will also be able to watch a large portion of the action live and free on 7plus and 7mate with Saturday and Sunday to be broadcast, while New Zealand viewers can tune into the round via Sky New Zealand and overseas fans can watch via Motorsport.tv.
The Shannons Motorsport Australia Championships and Porsche Michelin Sprint Challenge takes place at Sydney Motorsport Park on 30 April – 2 May.