Serious challenge awaits Beller

Defending Porsche 944 Challenge champion Cameron Beller believes all drivers will be taking next month’s Shannons Nationals seriously despite having no impact on the outright season.

With a full field expected to take part in the event, including former drivers bringing their cars out the garage, most drivers will be using the invitational round as a chance to have some fun and drive around Winton.

However while they will be there to have fun, Beller suggested the nature of motor sport will see all drivers get competitive once the racing actually begins.

“Obviously, there will be a bit of competition because a lot of us get very competitive when we jump in the car and put the helmet on,” the 27-year-old said.

“We all want to win regardless of whether there are points on offer or not.

“Hopefully we can put on a good show and promote the 944 challenge a bit more, especially with the live streaming on Sunday.

“Everyone is really excited to compete on the national stage. It’s something we can all look forward to. We’re all going to have a lot fun”

While Beller’s aim will also be to enjoy the day at a track well known to him, the Victorian will be hoping to reclaim a record he once held until recently.

“I once held the category lap record at Winton before Chris Lewis-Williams pipped me and took it,” Beller joked.

“I am always trying to break lap records but to get my record back from Chris will be hard, because conditions need to be perfect during the weekend.

“I don’t mind Winton, it’s not my favourite track but it’s definitely one of the ones I like to get onto if the weather is really good.

“I go pretty good there normally so if I can get the record back on the national stage, it will be a massive bonus.”

Despite there being no points up for grab, the series has created a special format for this weekend, the Dennis O’Keefe cup, in memory for the category’s founder.

Making up the three-race schedule will be a normal race following qualifying, a reverse grid and a handicap race to wrap up the weekend.

With a similar format taking place in recent years, the two-time champion believes it’s the perfect way to keep the drivers and spectators entertained for the round.

Photo: Rebecca Thompson

“The reverse grid and handicap race will give us all a chance to have a bit of overtaking manoeuvres and a bit of fun,” Beller explained.

“The format is good because it gives our back markers a chance to spend time at the front of the grid or see what an open track looks and feels like.

“It gives them a chance to have a few laps at the front while also giving us something to chase.

“The last time we did this, it ended up in a last lap flurry with all drivers finishing around the same time, which was enjoyable not just for us as drivers but for the spectators as well.

“It gave them something to watch because it was different to usual format that we do.”

The Shannons Nationals at Winton Motor Raceway will take place on 1-2 September with live coverage of Sunday’s sessions available live and free at motorsportaustraliachampionships.com.au.

An extensive library of races from 2018 is also available on-demand on the TV tab of motorsportaustraliachampionships.com.au.