The field for the 2017 Porsche Carrera Cup Australia Pro-Am has been set following the announcement of several strong driver combinations for what will be a milestone event for the all-Porsche series, as part of the 100th round of the Shannons Nationals.
Supercars driver Lee Holdsworth is a highlight addition to the final Porsche Pro-Am entry list. With international driver Lars Kern remaining in Europe due to a clash in his busy driving schedule, Porsche Centre Melbourne secured the services of dual TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge champion Dean Grant, who will be joined by Holdsworth in the #8 Porsche.
Holdsworth raced with Stephen Grove in last year’s Porsche Pro-Am event and is looking forward to returning at Phillip Island this weekend.
“It’s always great fun to jump in a Porsche, especially when you get to do it at a pretty incredible place like Phillip Island,” Holdsworth said.
“I had a really enjoyable time last year with Steve Grove and his team and I’m looking forward to more of the same this weekend. I know the guys at Porsche Centre Melbourne prepare a good car so hopefully Dean and I can have a solid weekend.
“It’s always great to have a chance to drive different cars and work with different people, especially at an event where there’s not so much pressure and you can really go and enjoy it.
“At the same time you’re always looking for a good result so we’ll be pushing hard!”
Porsche Carrera Cup Australia veteran Marc Cini will be joined by regular co-driver Dean Fiore in the sister entry as the experienced Victorian seeks his first Carrera Challenge class victory.
Fiore raced in Carrera Cup full-time for the Porsche Centre Melbourne team last year, however will this year link with long-time friend and co-driver Cini.
Another returning driver to the championship is Dan Gaunt, the former Carrera Cup racer joining GT3 Cup Challenge Outright and Elite Class series leader Sam Shahin, who will make his Carrera Cup debut at Phillip Island.
Shahin has impressed with his rise in the GT3 Cup Challenge series, taking a remarkable outright round victory at the Sandown opening round last month. Shahin will continue his GT3 Cup Challenge campaign at Phillip Island in addition to his Carrera Cup duties alongside Gaunt.
Another Carrera Cup debutant is Rob Woods, who started his Porsche one-make series career at Sandown last month before tackling the Bathurst 6 hour Production Car race.
Woods’ Carrera Cup entry will also see the return of Garth Walden Racing to the championship along with former full-time racer Duvashen Padayachee, who lines up as Woods’ co-driver.
The latest additions to the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia field add to a compelling mix of drivers ahead of this weekend’s event – the fifth Pro-Am in Carrera Cup history. The first was held at the inaugural Porsche Rennsport Australia festival at Sydney Motorsport Park in 2013, before shifting to Phillip Island for the next two years and thereafter returning to Sydney last season. This year will mark the third Pro-Am event at the high-speed Victorian circuit – the fastest on the Carrera Cup calendar.
Four drivers – Shahin, Woods, Anthony Gilbertson and Aaron Ireland – will climb the Porsche Motorsport Pyramid to make their Porsche Carrera Cup debut this weekend with each having experience in the Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge Australia series.
The field will tackle a pair of one-hour races – one each on Saturday and Sunday – with compulsory pit stops this weekend.
The driver that starts the first race will finish the second, ensuring teams will run different strategies as to when to place their Pro or Am driver in the car.
Supercars ace Scott McLaughlin holds the Carrera Cup qualifying record (1m31.1343s) at Phillip Island, while reigning champion Matt Campbell holds the race lap record (1m30.0141s).
The series will reach an important milestone in race two, set to be the 300th in the history of the Porsche Carrera Cup Australia. The series also celebrated its 100th round at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in March.
Entry List – Round 3, Porsche Pro-Am
#4 Stephen Grove/Tim Slade (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Grove Group
#5 Cameron McConville/Tony Bates (Professional Class) Repair Management Australia
#7 Jaxon Evans/Tim Miles (Professional Class) Hungry Jacks
#8 Dean Grant/Lee Holdsworth (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Porsche Centre Melbourne
#9 Marc Cini/Dean Fiore (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Hallmarc
#13 Sam Shahin/Dan Gaunt (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) HTFU
#29 Rob Woods/Duvashen Padayachee (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) Platinum Night Club
#33 Simon/Ellingham John Goodacre (Professional Class) Peak Marketing
#38 David Wall/Shane Smollen (Professional Class) PAYCE/Wilson Security
#54 James Abela/Anthony Gilbertson (Professional Class) Horsley Park Gun Shop
#77 Nick McBride/Dylan Thomas (Professional Class) Bob Jane T-Marts
#88 Dylan O’Keeffe/Adam Gowans (Professional Class) APB Group/President Limo Australia
#131 Graham Williams/Nick Foster (TAG Heuer Carrera Challenge) WRA
#777 Andre Heimgartner/Aaron Ireland (Professional Class) Bob Jane T-Marts/Money Now
#888 Alex Davison/Geoff Emery (Professional Class) President Limo Australia