Reigning Carrera Challenge winner set for return

Reigning TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge Champion Tony Bates will make a one-off return to Porsche racing for the Carrera Cup Pro-Am endurance event at Phillip Island on 27-28 May.

Bates, who has been racing a Mercedes AMG-GT in the Australian GT Championship in 2017, will join the Zagame Autosport team where he will pair with the experienced Cameron McConville for a pair of one-hour races.

According to Bates, the opportunity to return to the category in which he won his maiden national title was too good to refuse.

“This year has been about enjoying my racing, and the Carrera Cup endurance event was always one I had pencilled into my calendar,” Bates said.

“When the opportunity came up to drive alongside Cam, I jumped at the chance–he’s one of the most experienced drivers in the field and still very fast, as he showed at the Grand Prix where he won the round.

“Between the two of us, we have plenty of experience in Porsches and I’m sure we’ll be a strong combination.”

McConville, currently third in the Carrera Cup standings, said Bates was at the top of his co-driver list.

“I’ve been following Tony since he started racing Carrera Cup, and seen him develop into one of the very best ‘gentleman’ drivers in Australia,” McConville said.

“Phillip Island will be a pivotal round for the championship so it was important to secure the best available co-driver, and Tony was the pick of the bunch.

“Zagame Autosport is only a new team but I’ve proud of what we’ve achieved so far, and someone with Tony’s experience will be a great benefit for our ongoing development.”

While Bates finally notched up a major career goal by winning the Carrera Challenge title last season, he said a win in the Pro-Am enduro is another box he would like to tick.

“I had some consistent results in the Pro-Am enduro when I was racing full-time in the category, but often it was about playing the points game,” Bates said.

“This year, without any championship pressure, I can focus on enjoying the driving and doing the best job I can for Cameron and the Zagame team.”